SP-70032 Special Beat Service
Produced by Bob Sargeant
(Track 9 by Mike Hedges & Ranking Roger)
Released on October 1982
UK CHART POSITION #21 . . . US CHART POSITION #39
Find it at GEMM
SP-70032 cover
[high resolution scan]

K ronomyth 3.0: WE GOT THE BEAT (A BEAT TOO LATE). The moment I heard “Sole Salvation,” I was hooked. Of course, The Beat were already beating a retreat by then, and I was left holding an album by the guys from General Public. So many bands that seemed destined for great things just fizzled during the early 80s: The Specials, Haircut One Hundred, Scritti Politti and (those original musical architects of the die-young punk philosophy) the Pistols and The Clash. And nearly all of them resurfaced with bands that never answered the question of why they broke up in the first place: Fun Boy Three, PiL, BAD. You won’t find any answers on Special Beat Service; it’s a brilliant record from a band hitting its stride. At least that was my perception of things; the English had actually cooled on the band some, with the usual English murmurs of “sellout” in the shadows. Had I picked up the story at the beginning, maybe I would have shared their disillusion, but all I heard was a wonderful oasis of stylish ska and English pop delivered in rapid-fire fashion like some wonderful merger of The Specials + Scritti Politti. Thirty years later, there’s still not a bad song in the bunch, striking a perfect balance between the playful (“Spar Wid Me,” “Ackee 1 2 3,” “Jeanette”) and the poignant (“Save It For Later,” “Sole Salvation,” “I Confess”). Not as socially pointed as The Specials or Selecter, not as silly as Madness, The Beat straddled the two styles and, if not as faithful to the original two-tone ska-punk aesthetic, arguably took it to a more elevated conclusion on Special Beat Service. The graybeards who tell you this is a timeless record have got it right; if everything from the 80s aged this well, we’d still have zippers on our shirts.

TRACK LISTING

  1. I CONFESS    4:35
  2. JEANETTE    2:49
  3. SORRY    2:44
  4. SOLE SALVATION    3:24
  5. SPAR WID ME    5:17
  6. ROTATING HEADS    3:25
  7. SAVE IT FOR LATER    3:37
  8. SHE'S GOING    2:10
  9. PATO AND ROGER A GO TALK    3:26
  10. SUGAR & STRESS    2:54
  11. END OF THE PARTY    3:30
  12. ACKEE 1 2 3    3:10

    All songs by The English Beat

CREDITS

DAVE BLOCKHEAD -- keyboards & piano
ANDY COX -- guitar mandolin
WESLEY MAGOOGAN -- saxophone, clarinet, lyricon, sax fx unit
EVERETT MORTON -- drums
RANKING ROGER -- toasting, vocals & percussion
SAXA -- saxophone
DAVID STEELE -- bass & banjo
DAVE WAKELING -- vocals & guitar
Mark Fox -- percussion
Dave Lord -- trumpet
M. Mishra -- tabla
Pato -- toasting
Bob Sargeant -- telephone & marimba
Steve Sidwell -- trumpet
Vince Sullivan -- trombone
Mark Dearnley -- engineer
Trevor Hallesy -- engineer
Nick Rogers -- supervisor
Brian Gaylor -- mending
Bruce Fleming -- photography
Martyn Atkins (of T&CP) -- art direction

return to THE (ENGLISH) BEAT discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
UK/GER October 1982 Go Feet LP BEAT-5 lyric sleeve
US/CAN October 1982 I.R.S. LP/CS SP/CS-70032 lyric sleeve
US October 26, 1999 Rhino CD 31083 digital remaster

 

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