Title - 'One Step Beyond: Remastered' (Salvo)
Artist - Madness
Hey you! Donít buy that! Buy this! This is the heavy heavy monster sound of Madnessís classic epoch-making debut from 1979, 'One Step Beyond'. It took the world by storm with its nutty slant on ska, Motown, rockíníroll and good old fashioned music hall.
Side one kicks off with the now-legendary spoken opening to the title track, 'One Step Beyond ...,' before going into both the classics 'My Girl' and 'Night Boat To Cairo.' The sax-infused 'Believe Me' fairly bounces along, before one of their earliest cult songs, the uber-catchy 'The Prince.'
The pedestrian 'Tarzan's Nuts,' 'In The Middle Of The Night' (the tale of an old underwear thief!) and the trippy 'Bed And Breakfast Man' come next, before the semi-swing of 'Razor Blade Alley' and a very trippy instrumental (of course!) version of 'Swan Lake' take center stage.
'Rockin' In A' and 'Mummy's Boy' are next, with both the brilliant 'Madness' and the acappella, soundstage-esque 'Chipmunks Are Go!' rounding out the first disc ... save for the 5 delicious promo videos: 'The Prince' (where they, once again, visit their local hardware store, A. H. Holt and after a brief chat with the owner, slide into this Top Of The Pops (chart show) performance; 'One Step Beyond,' where after a brief, wildly out of tune beat intro, they cruise though this club setting video.
In 'Bed And Breakfast Man,' a song I personally never remember as being a single in the UK, the guys go through the motions in a very quickly-shot, and short promo video, before 'My Girl' takes the stage. Intro'd by one of the guys in a large Texan hat trying to get into a town hall to perform solo (!), the video is a gem to all ska Brits. Weirdly, now reflecting on it again, after many years have passed for us both, Suggs may well sing the actual lyrics, but in the video either a) the band take the majority of lines (mimic style), or b) the band get lots of in-performance shots!
The last video is brilliant ... a true classic amongst Madness videos! Beginning with some fun in the sand with ping pong balls, the lads get to dress up as explorers - complete with green screen and, unbelievably, subtitles!
Side 2, culled from The John Peel Session, begins with 'The Prince' before giving us 'Bed And Breakfast Man,' 'Land Of Hope & Glory,' and 'Stepping Into Line.' All sound crisp, crystal clear audio, and not a foot (or note) out of place. A feature of Peel's BBC Radio 1 shows were these famous sessions, which usually consisted of four pieces of music pre-recorded at the BBC's studios by said band at that time.
The bonus tracks start with the 7" single version of 'One Step Beyond' (but quite why this track is on this compilation again, in the exact same shape and form as the side one track one cut is beyond me though), and continues with 'My Girl' (Mike Barson / Demo Version). With Barton singing, it doesn't have the punch of Suggs, and the piano break is well raw, but it's nice hearing such a classic in alternate mode.
'Mistakes,' the original B-Side to 'One Step Beyond' is next, with 'Un Paso Adelante' ('One Step Beyond' - Spanish version) a true gem to be found in this collection! 'Nutty Theme,' the original B-Side of the 'One Step Beyond' 12" is fun, before another rendition of 'My Girl' comes upon us - this time a Ballad Version (although, once you listen to it, the term 'ballad' doesn't even come into play!) from a long-out-of-print, and very collectible today Flexipop!
'Stepping Into Line,' the original B-Side to 'My Girl' is next, before 'Un Passo Avanti' - 'One Step Beyond' Italian Version, I kid you not! Next are a bunch of songs from the 'Work, Rest & Play' EP - 'Deceives The Eye,' 'The Young And The Old,' and 'Don't Quote Me On That.' None of the tracks are long, but all show an early fun attitude to their music that would one day soon, be welcomed by millions.
The final three cuts on this side two are all live tracks from Dance Craze - which was a 1981 British documentary film about the English 2 Tone music genre - and features 'Razor Blade Alley,' a clearly already-out-of-breath-Suggs on 'Night Boat To Cairo,' and a truly vibrant, pulsating 'One Step Beyond' - which culminates in the crowd chanting "Madness" for 15 seconds (as then it simply cuts off!)
UK CD Purchase Link