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6 Degrees Entertainment

Title - 'Absolutely: Remastered' (Salvo)
Artist - Madness

'Absolutely' is classic early Madness, a snapshot of a band on the ascent from their beginnings as nutty ska boys to international pop superstars. It was the band’s second album, and features the classic schooldays anthem ‘Baggy Trousers,' along with the lighthearted instrumental, ‘The Return Of The Los Palmas 7,’ and the excellent, ‘Embarrassment’.

'Absolutely' kicks off in style with the brilliant 'Baggy Trousers' - a song that is one of the Madness musical gems, and is followed by yet another renowned Madness single, 'Embarrassment.' 'E.R.N.I.E.' (a song about the British lottery, called The Pools, and the losers that invest in it!) fairly bounces along, with the rapid 'Close Escape' following, well, close behind!

The repetetive 'Not Home Today' is next, followed by the back-on-track 'On The Beat Pete.' "Ok boys, let's get real solid gone" intro's the twistin,' piano-infused boogie of 'Solid Gone,' before 'Take It Or Leave It' and 'Shadow Of Fear' are before us.

'Disappear' is a great song, very tuneful, pure Madness, the album fillers 'Overdone' trundles alongside 'In The Rain,' before 'You Said' - powered by some great sax - turns the last corner of the album. And with the truly wonderful instrumental hit single, ‘The Return Of The Los Palmas 7' hitting us in the dance pants, that brings the entire original album to a close.

But, that's not the end of Side A, for we then get into the Bonus Tracks - and first up is 'In The Rain' (Single Version) (B-Side 'My Girl' 12"), followed by a stand-up bass-fused instrumental, 'The Business' (B-Side ’Baggy Trousers’ 7"). The always-great-to-hear 'Crying Shame' (B-Side ’Embarrassment’ 7") and the bouyant 'That’s The Way To Do It (B-Side ’The Return Of The Los Palmas 7’ 7") are next, and really (finally) get some fun from the Bonus Tracks.

The intriguing 'El Regresso De Los Palmas 7' (Spanish Version) is followed by 'Swan Lake (Live)' (B-Side ’The Return Of The Los Palmas 7’ 12"), with the Side A finished off, in style, by 'Release Me / Close Escape / Solid Gone' ("Patches" flexi-disc) - something rare, and which was only previously given away through the Madness fan club some 20 years ago now! Suggs and various band mates intro all the songs, informing their fans that they are listening to new tracks from their upcoming new album, 'Madness.'

The Promo Videos included, as usual for these remastered releases, include: 'Baggy Trousers' (which starts off with a speaking-gibberish band member attempting to fly and also features a 'flying' sax man!), 'Embarassment' (which starts off with a man standing in the street, who opens his dirty mac to reveal a sign over his private parts; that reads - although mis-spelt, Embarassment!), and 'The Return Of The Los Palmas 7’ - where after about 2 mins of an intro where a guy paints on a sheet the song titles name, we finally get into the fun, collectively weird montage video!

Side B is, completely, and absolutely a BBC Live In Concert at the Hammersmith Odeon in London, England (December 23rd, 1980) and features a terrific run down of some 21 lives tracks: 1. One Step Beyond, 2. E.R.N.I.E., 3. Mistakes, 4. Disappear, 5. Bed And Breakfast Man, 6. The Return Of The Los Palmas 7, 7. Close Escape, 8. Overdone, 9. Not Home Today, 10. Razor Blade Alley, 11. My Girl, 12. Take It Or Leave It, 13. On The Beat Pete, 14. Embarrassment, 15. Shadow Of Fear, 16. You Said, 17. In The Middle Of The Night, 18. The Prince, 19. Baggy Trousers, 20. Rockin’ In Ab, and 21. Madness

UK CD Purchase Link