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Old 07-12-2009, 07:57 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default The (English) Beat

The Beat, known as the English Beat here in the States, are a great ska pop/ reggae fusion band formed back in '78. They transcended genres, racial and age barriers with their polished sound. Anyone a fan here?


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Old 07-12-2009, 08:50 PM   #2 (permalink)
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The Beat were one of the great bands of the ska revival and the post punk years. I saw them in 1980 and 1981 and the first edition of the Beat with Ranking Roger, Dave Wakeling and Saxa was one of the best performing bands of that era. The Beat's incediary live performances were in the same caliber with the Clash, Gang of Four, Steel Pulse, and LKJ's Dub Band. Their music has aged very well over the past 30 years.

A 1980 Live Performance of Stand Down Margaret The saxaphonist named Saxa played with both Prince Buster and Desmond Dekker in Jamaica during the first era of ska.

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Old 07-12-2009, 08:55 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Awesome awesome awesome.
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Old 07-13-2009, 04:06 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Great band. I got their debut, I Just Can't Stop It the other day - very interesting fusion of ska, reggae and dub there. It's a shame they didn't get as big as their 2-Tone labelmates like Madness and the Specials, because from what I've heard they were just as good.
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Old 07-13-2009, 10:08 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Indeed. Very consistent band. My personal favorite of theirs is their final album, Special Beat Service.
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Old 07-13-2009, 11:40 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bulldog View Post
Great band. I got their debut, I Just Can't Stop It the other day - very interesting fusion of ska, reggae and dub there. It's a shame they didn't get as big as their 2-Tone labelmates like Madness and the Specials, because from what I've heard they were just as good.
It's really hard for me to compare the Beat with the other 2-Tone bands. Every so often I try to connect with the music but I just can't. Maybe it's just me but their music just sounds so Top-40-Pop compared to The Specials, Madness, and my absolute favorite 2-Tone band: The Selecter.

Now, The Beat may very well be the best musicians in the bunch but they seem to be lacking the punk element that makes the other bands so interesting. I dunno - I'm sure I'll keep trying..
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Old 07-13-2009, 12:36 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Keep giving them a chance - it'll be worth it. To me they sound a little less accessible than Madness and the Specials (who, incidentally, are my two favourite 2-Tone bands), and they're coming from a very different place to the Selecter. That's judging by what I've heard anyway, which is only their debut.
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Old 07-13-2009, 03:39 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Engine View Post
It's really hard for me to compare the Beat with the other 2-Tone bands. Every so often I try to connect with the music but I just can't. Maybe it's just me but their music just sounds so Top-40-Pop compared to The Specials, Madness, and my absolute favorite 2-Tone band: The Selecter.

Now, The Beat may very well be the best musicians in the bunch but they seem to be lacking the punk element that makes the other bands so interesting. I dunno - I'm sure I'll keep trying..
I think the Beat was the least commercial sounding of all of the 2 Tone Bands and has a more of a punk attitude than any of the bands. Maybe you've only heard W'happen or one of their later albums but that wasn't the original frontline of musicians that formed the first edition of the Beat. The Beat experimented with musical genres other than ska and reggae and was one of the earliest UK bands to incorporate dub into nearly all of their music. Selector was a great band and was largely ignored during the ska revival.

My personal feeling is that songs like Twist and Crawl and Mirror in the Bathroom were closer musically to punk rock than anything ever done by the Specials, Selector or Madness.

From a political view, the Beat's lyrics were less rude boy than the other 2 Tone bands, but closer to the punk perspective of the UK culture. Their first album I Just Can't Stop railed against the National Front, Margaret Thatcher and the injustices of the class system in the UK. The evidence is in the lyrics.

Quote:
Two Swords

I've never been one for the punch-ups
But look I really hate those nazis
A certain something starts to wind me up
How could I hate them oh so violently

When two swords slashing at each other
Only sharpen one another
And in the long run even he's your brudda'
Said even though the c*nt's a nazi.
nazi


Always attack those things in someone else,
Reflections that you can't face in yourself,
To make precious fascistic feeling gone
It makes you turn into a bigger one
Bigger...

When two swords slashing at each other
Only sharpen one another
And in the long run even he's your brudda'
Said even though the c*nt's a nazi.
nazi

Are you fighting the Front,
or just fronting a fight?
Sometimes it's hard to see the left from the right
Are we angry, are we looking for peace
Or just tryin' to win the war...
...by killing all the enemy off
Just to kill all the enemy off
Kill the enemy off
Kill the enemy off

I've never been one for the punch-ups
But look I really hate those nazis
A certain something starts to wind me up
How could I hate them oh so violently

When two swords slashing at each other
Only sharpen one another
And in the long run even he's your brudda'
said even though the c*nt's a nazi.
nazi
Even though the c*nt's a nazi
nazi
OR

Quote:
Big Shot

Yes, I've seen you go to work in your big car
Yes, your fat and can afford to be tasteless
You're a big shot.
You want the whole lot
And if I like it or not
You still control me,
You tell me what to think and what to be.

I like it best in the freezing winter, boy
I like to sneer as I sail past your bus stop
I watch you struggle and it gets me red hot,
I wander round in my empty office block
Big shot.
I want the whole lot
And if you like it or not
I still control you,
I tell you what to think and what to do.

So you listen to smoking industry,
You listen to the guys in the factories,
You listen to the wealth and the misery,
You listen to the power of money.
For a big shot
Who wants a whole lot
And if you like it or not
He'll probably get it,
He'll tell you when to beg and when to sit.

You look like a government minister
Or a high ranking military officer,
I don't think you care
You're just a big shot, yeah.

Yes, I've seen you go to work in your big car
Yes, your fat and can afford to be tasteless
You're a big shot
Who wants a whole lot
And if I like it or not,
You still control me
You tell me what to think and what to be.
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Old 07-13-2009, 05:52 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gavin B. View Post
I think the Beat was the least commercial sounding of all of the 2 Tone Bands and has a more of a punk attitude than any of the bands. Maybe you've only heard W'happen or one of their later albums but that wasn't the original frontline of musicians that formed the first edition of the Beat. The Beat experimented with musical genres other than ska and reggae and was one of the earliest UK bands to incorporate dub into nearly all of their music. Selector was a great band and was largely ignored during the ska revival.
Gotta heartily disagree with you on who is most commercial sounding. As for my experience with The Beat, I have only ever heard "I Just Can't Stop It" so thanks for the warning. I have two reasons for thinking that The Beat is the most commercial sounding of the 2 Tone bands: 1) I grew up hearing "Mirror In The Bathroom" alongside lots of unbearable Top 40 Pop crap like Rick Springfield and Air Supply. 2) The sax. I know, I know - Saxa is a real ska legend and all but when you put that much sax in 80s Pop - no matter how skillful it is, you end up with something that sounds at least a little bit like Foreigner.

Quote:
My personal feeling is that songs like Twist and Crawl and Mirror in the Bathroom were closer musically to punk rock than anything ever done by the Specials, Selector or Madness.
I always have felt that punk's biggest connection to ska is in ska's fast skank guitar. That and the wild energy of the vocalist are what make The Selecter feel the 'most punk' to me. The Specials, Madness, and The Beat all seem about equally punk I guess.

Quote:
From a political view, the Beat's lyrics were less rude boy than the other 2 Tone bands, but closer to the punk perspective of the UK culture. Their first album I Just Can't Stop railed against the National Front, Margaret Thatcher and the injustices of the class system in the UK. The evidence is in the lyrics.
Agreed.

EDIT: I posted this before I watched the video up in post #2: Punk debates aside - that's some good shit! Like I said, I probably should invest more time in The Beat...

Last edited by Engine; 07-13-2009 at 06:17 PM.
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Old 07-13-2009, 07:50 PM   #10 (permalink)
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f'n fantastic group. I Just Can't Stop It is killer.
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