The Complete Beat

The Complete Beat

by The English Beat


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Shout! Factory's The Complete Beat is the kind of deluxe set that fans would dream about but never expect to happen: a five-disc set containing expanded remastered versions of all three of the group's albums, plus two discs of Bonus Beat -- a CD of 12" mixes and dubs, a disc of Peel Sessions and four cuts live from a November 1982 gig in Boston. The Beat -- the "English" was added for the American market -- were only around for five short years, following the 2-Tone path trailblazed by the Specials but speedily developing their own distinctive style, one that was a bit brighter and bearing a stronger Motown influence. Also, the Beat had a knack for pop that culminated on their 1982 swan song, Special Beat Service. That contained their signature hit, "Save It for Later," a contender for a perfect single if there ever were one, but it also opened with the sparkling "I Confess," a gorgeous confection that pointed the way toward Dave Wakeling's subsequent outfit General Public. But unlike Madness, there never was a time when the Beat's main business was pop: they always had one foot firmly planted in ska and blue beat, always could hunker down and dig deep into the groove. This powers I Just Can't Stop It, a ska revival record that rivals the Specials' debut, and it underpins their rapid expansion on Wha'ppen? Each of their albums has a distinctive character, something that carries through to the three Peel Sessions -- one delivered in support for each album -- on the Bonus Beat disc. As always, the extended mixes and dubs are something that appeals to a particular taste -- those who prefer the pop end of the Beat's equation won't find them compelling -- but their rangy, elastic reworkings underline the adventure and excitement at the core of the Beat. They grew up strong and they grew up fast, so fast that their recordings retain a visceral force that makes The Complete Beat something more than a dream come true for fans: it is a convincing argument for their greatness.

Product Details

Release Date: 07/10/2012
Label: Shout Factory
UPC: 0826663131765
catalogNumber: 13176
Rank: 31293

Album Credits

Performance Credits

English Beat   Primary Artist
Dave Wakeling   Guitar,Vocals,Group Member
Bob Sargeant   Marimbas
Ranking Roger   Percussion,Vocals,Group Member
Dave Blockhead   Piano,Keyboards,Saxophone
Andy Cox   Guitar,Mandolin,Group Member
Mark Fox   Percussion
Wesley Magoogan   Clarinet,Saxophone,Lyricon
Everett Morton   Drums,Group Member
Steve Sidwell   Trumpet
David Steele   Banjo,Bass,Group Member
Dave Lord   Trumpet
M. Mishra   Tabla
Saltin   Trumpet
Blockhead   Keyboards

Technical Credits

English Beat   Composer,Producer
Mort Shuman   Composer
Mark Dearnley   Engineer
Doc Pomus   Composer
Alex Ogg   Liner Notes
Martyn Atkins   Art Direction
L. Gordon   Composer
Derek Dressler   Producer
Karrie Stouffer   Art Direction
D. Gordon   Composer
E. Grant   Composer
J. Jefferson   Composer
Patrick Grant   Composer
Hunt Emerson   Artwork,Logo
Trevor Hallesey   Engineer

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The Complete Beat 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
poughkeepsiejohn More than 1 year ago
When the British ska movement took hold in the late 1970's, it produced some very good bands: The Specials, The Selector, Madness, some of which are still with us. However, The English Beat were clearly the most talented and promising of those bands. This interracial band from the wilds of Birmingham mixed crucial reggae with speedy punk urgency while also playing breezy pop songs. They were also very political; when they released their first album in 1980, England was facing some of its worst social turmoil in its history, resulting in race riots. In the midst of this, The English Beat put the blame squarely on Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the fiery "Stand Down, Margaret". Now, Shout Factory has re-released all of The English Beat's albums on "Complete Beat". Their first album, "I Just Can't Stop It" remains a superior, kinetic debut. This is the album that features "Stand Down, Margaret". But it also features the hilariously mental "Mirror In The Bathroom" as well as brilliant covers of Smokey Robinson's "Tears Of A Clown" and Dave Wakeling's surprisingly perfect rendition of Andy Williams' "Can't Get Used To Losing You". Yet, it's Ranking Roger's furious toasting-cum- scatting on "Rough Rider" and "Jackpot" that makes this a cut above the usual party album. Their next album, "Wha'Appen?" is a bit weaker because the group seemed to be going in a more pop direction. Although their last album, "Special Beat Service" is much better, focusing on love songs ("I Confess" and "Save It For Later") in addition to social messages ("Sugar And Stress"). There are two additional discs here, one featuring unnecessary remixes of their songs and another featuring a terrific 1982 concert recorded in Boston, one year before they disbanded. Since then, Ranking Roger and Dave Wakeling formed General Public, which tried (but didn't always succeed) in recapturing the reggae-pop sensibilities of The English Beat. Two other members, Andy Cox and Dave Steele, formed the extremely successful Fine Young Cannibals but that group only lasted two albums. Ranking Roger has his own version of The Beat whereas Dave Wakeling has an American version of the band. It's a shame that neither of these bands have Saxa in the fold anymore; he was 60 years old when he recorded their first album and his energetic sax bursts helped draw the listener into their remarkably jubiliant sound. In the meantime, this boxed set will do just nicely.