Saturday, June 30, 2012

CD Review: The English Beat Gets Boxed Up Plus More

British Ska band, The English Beat hit their stride in the early 1980s with hits like “Mirror In the Bathroom,” “Hands Off She’s Mine” and “Can’t Get Used To Losing You.” After their break-up in 1983, original singer/guitarist Dave Wakeling went on to form the band General Public with Ranking Roger. Andy Cox and David Steele went on to form the successful group Fine Young Cannibals and drummer Everett Morton and Saxa formed The International Beat.

Fast-forward to 2003 and the original English Beat, minus Cox and Steele, performed a sold-out show at the Royal Hall Festival. Since then, Dave Wakeling has been fronting a US version of The English Beat and has toured all over the world performing these classic ska songs.

This year, as their renewed popularity continues to grow, The English Beat is preparing to release a box set of The Beat’s three original albums and a brand new “best of” compilation. The box set entitled “The Complete Beat” features their 1980 album “I Just Can’t Stop” remastered and includes the two songs “Tears Of A Clown” and “Ranking Full Stop,” which were not featured on the original U.K. release. Also included is their 1981 album “Wha’ppen?” which includes three bonus songs, “Psychedelic Rockers,” “Hit It” and “Which Side Of The Bed?” Also included for the first time is the hit single “To Nice To Talk To” which did not appear on the original album. Next is the 1982 album “Special Beat Service,” which includes four bonus tracks “What’s Your Best Thing,” “March of the Swivel Heads, “ “Cool Entertainer” and “A Go Talk (Tappy Luppy Dub).” The real gems in this set are the two bonus discs, one disc featuring the 12” & Dub Versions of classic songs like “Stand Down Margaret” and “Drowning.” The other disc features four separate live shows featured on the Peel Sessions and on the BBC in 1979, 1980 & 1982. These will be a real treat for fans as they have not been officially released before.

If that’s too much of The Beat for you, they are also releasing a “best of” compilation entitled “Keep the Beat: The Very Best of the English Beat.” This single disc gathers sixteen of The English Beat’s most well-known hits, including their cover of “Tears Of A Clown." The disc begins with their most well-known hit “Mirror In The Bathroom” and concludes with the aptly titled “End Of The Party.”

The English Beat will be celebrating their 35th anniversary next year and these two releases are the perfect way to remind people about the original ska kings and what an impact their music made. Both items are available for pre-order at the Shout! Factory website, and those who pre-order the box set will also receive the bonus CD/DVD set entitled “The English Beat: Live At The US Festival.”

The English Beat are currently on tour and will be performing July 7th and July 8th at the Fairfield Theatre – Stage One in Fairfield, CT. The Beat always put on a good show wlhich ends up turning into one big party. For more information, please visit

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