Wednesday, July 18, 2012


There's a great new compilation of hits and favorites from former 2 Tone stars The English Beat. The Birmingham band, a punky, second-wave ska powerhouse, was both popular and influential. Along with Madness, The Specials and The Selecter, the English Beat's music, multicultural vibe and even their look shaped a whole scene on both sides of the Atlantic that got people shaking it down to dance-friendly, socially conscious party music. This disc contains some of the best known tunes by the group, including "Mirror In The Bathroom," "Twist and Crawl," "Can't Get Used To Losing You," and "Hands Off...She's Mine." This music, from the late seventies and early eighties, remains fresh and fun. UB40 and other bands took this music farther commercially, but few made it more fun. Of particlular interest to fans of Third Wave Ska like Sublime and No Doubt.
Keep The Beat: The Very Best Of The English Beat
Also of Interest:
The Singles Collection - The Specials
BBC Sessions - The Specials
One Step Beyond - Madness
The Collection - Bad Manners

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Playing The Blues

Blues guitarist Buddy Guy looks back on his life in his new memoir, When I Left Home: My Story. I love biographies of musicians and the first thing I noticed about this one was the sound the words made, the rhythm of the spoken voice, in this case the Southern-tinged voice of a working man, a musican, and a survivor. The reader is allowed to feel as if he or she is listening to an interesting older man talk about life and reflect on experiences of joy, loss and endurance. Buddy takes the reader back to his rural childhood, his earliest exposure to music, the ambition that drove him to Chicago, and the ups and downs of a bluesman who spent his nights in front of ecstatic audiences and his days driving a tow truck. Along the way there is much about Chess Records, Buddy's mentors, his successes, his business ventures and his family. Always there is the wise and reflective tone of a man who's lived a life full of music, struggle and triumph. A first rate autobiography.
Related Recordings:
Buddy's Blues                                   Buddy Guy
Blues Singer                                      Buddy Guy
Damn Right I've Got The Blues          Buddy Guy
The Very Best of Buddy Guy             Buddy Guy
Chicago Boss Guitars                        Buddy Guy, Otis Rush, Magic Sam
Bring 'Em In                                      Buddy Guy
Skin Deep                                         Buddy Guy
Living Proof                                      Buddy Guy
Hoodoo Man Blues                           Junior Wells, Buddy Guy