Saturday, 31 August 2019

The Beat You Just Can't Beat It The Best Of The Beat

Get It At Discogs
The Beat existed in its original form for less than five years in the late 1970s and early '80s, long enough to release three albums (I Just Can't Stop It, Wha'ppen?, and Special Beat Service) and some one-off singles. So, a two-hour, 37-track, two-CD set like the discount-priced U.K. retrospective You Just Can't Beat It: The Best of the Beat covers most of the group's recordings, with only a handful of tracks (not including remixes and live versions) left out. The most significant omission is the British single "Hit It," which only got to number 70 in the charts. The big hits are all here in a roughly chronological sequencing that gives the listener a sense of the band's development from its ska revival beginnings to more of a dub/reggae style and finally something like a mainstream soul/R&B approach including keyboards. Throughout, lead singer Dave Wakeling sings huskily over the infectiously danceable rhythms, complemented by the toasting of Ranking Roger. By the end, the group doesn't sound remotely spent, but further musical developments had to be handled by Wakeling and Ranking Roger in General Public on the one hand and guitarist Andy Cox and bassist Dave Steele with Fine Young Cannibals on the other. (In her enthusiastic if sketchy liner notes, Rhoda Dakar reveals that Wakeling leads a version of the English Beat in the U.S., while Ranking Roger has the New English Beat in the U.K.)


jonder said...

Ranking Roger died in March of this year. Prior to his death, he completed a final album ("Public Confidential") and an autobiography ("I Just Can’t Stop It: My Life in the Beat"). His son "Ranking Junior" now leads the UK lineup of The Beat.

Moderator said...

Cracking band and this compilation is brilliant , very underrated band , RIP Rankin Roger, top bloke as well as an amazing performer , looking forward to more ska if that is your plan

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