Album: Madness <!-- none onestar twostar threestar fourstar fivestar -->

The Dangermen Sessions, Volume One, LIVE &amp; INTENSIFIED
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The Independent Culture

Here, Madness move into territory already put to fruitful harvest by UB40 in their Labour of Love series, covering a selection of their favourite bluebeat and reggae tracks. The results are quite different, however: where UB40 offer faithful reproductions - and can be quite solemn about it - Madness tend to apply a veneer of blokeish jocularity to whatever they do. This works well on things like Lord Tanamo's "Taller Than You Are", a bluebeat sermon on humility, and "Shame & Scandal", the Caribbean comic standard of matrimonial multiple standards ("your daddy ain't your daddy, but your daddy don't know," etc), but less well on tracks arriving third-hand from pop and soul via Jamaica, such as "You Keep Me Hanging On" and the Barbara Lynn swamp-soul classic "You'll Lose a Good Thing", which loses some of its melancholy. In The Kinks' "Lola", their template was a Nicky Thomas version which - such things being perhaps unwelcome in Jamaica - omits the final verse featuring the transvestite denouement. On realising this, Madness inserted the missing lines in a spoken coda, which has the effect of replacing The Kinks' exultant sense of discovery with a downbeat, disillusioned air.

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