The Dangermen Sessions Volume One

Studio Album by released in 2005
The Dangermen Sessions Volume One's tracklist:
Girl Why Don`t You
Shame and Scandal
I Chase the Devil A.K.A Ironsh
Taller than You Are
You Keep Me Hanging on
Dangermen A.K.A High Wire
John Jones
You`ll Lose A Good Thing
So Much Trouble in the World

The Dangermen Sessions Volume One review

In 1999, Madness’ comeback album – the all-original but under appreciated Wonderful – failed to ignite a full-scale revival in fortunes. Even the return of pianist and star songwriter Mike Barson, who’d long forsaken the band’s North London stomping grounds for Holland, made no difference. The public, it seemed, preferred Madness as a nostalgia act. Faced with such a response, a return to the sources that first inspired them seems like an obvious, unchallenging move. And yet The Dangerman Sessions Volume One is something more than a band opting for the easy life. The song choices reveal much about Madness’ worldview and the band’s own songwriting; offhand humor, sharp insights and rhythmic joy abound. The Dangerman Sessions Volume One is Madness' chance to pay homage to the songs that formed either part of their lives when they were younger, or that directly helped to create the sound of the band. It's an album crammed with inspired covers. Some are well known, whilst others will introduce people to some new artists.

Prince Buster (the man whose song, Madness, the band are named after) is represented early on with Girl Why Don't You. Recent single Shame And Scandal follows, and while it may not sound as dirty as the Lord Tanamo version, it stands well on its own. Highlights include the dub-heavy I Chase The Devil aka Ironshirt, which updates the Max Romeo classic. The trumpets come to the fore, while Suggs' distinct vocals seem perfectly suited to its laidback swagger. Likewise, his reggae-ska makeover of Diana Ross' soul classic, You Keep Me Hanging On, is wonderfully realized, arriving amid a fanfare of trumpets and a breezy bassline. The version of The Kinks' classic, Lola, is another surefire party-pleaser, as is their quirky take on Desmond Dekker's Israelites. While Bob Marley's So Much Trouble In The World allows Madness to update a classic that contains vocals that are relevant to all of us in these troubled times. It's almost reassuring to hear Suggs delivering them in such exemplary fashion. Throughout, the performances show that as an outfit sprung with a sense of fun, wiry intelligence and daring, Madness remain a one-off.

It's testament to the band' obvious enjoyment of their craft that the album is so feel-good, delivering 13 tracks that are virtually guaranteed to put a smile on the face and have listeners bouncing and singing along with them. Satisfyingly bass-heavy, and suitably bouncy, Suggs’ familiar vocals make these songs equally familiar and unknown. The ever-inventive saxman Lee ‘Kix’ Thompson deserves special praise - but each member adds vital touches. It’s an enjoyably diverse and imaginative collection. For an album celebrates music as an historical marker, and most significantly, as great fun, The Dangerman Sessions Volume One achieves its purpose. The appearance of the Volume One tag means that soon there will be more. And judging from the quality of this first volume, that’s good news indeed.

Rate review4.41
Total votes - 12

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