FROM THE VAULT: 1980
I Just Can't Stop It
As one of the bands at the forefront of the British ska revival, which exploded at the end of the 1970s, The Beat's debut album is a classic cut from the era. Ska, by the way, is speeded-up reggae, often with a bit of rock'n'roll thrown into the mix.
The original release came a year after the band's inaugural smash singles, the stomping Rankin' Full Stop and a masterfully skanked-up take on Smokey Robinson's soul ballad Tears of a Clown. They're both there, though, on the 1999 re-mastered release.
What was there was one catchy tune after another. The two opening tracks - Mirror in the Bathroom, a fast-paced socially discontented number, and Hands Off She's Mine, a frantic tale of jealousy - were era-defining singles. The former features one of the band's finest horn solos from Saxa, the band's fiftysomething - you've guessed it - saxophonist.
Most of the album from the six-piece band moves along at a pace that keeps feet moving on the dance floor (hence the signing by Go Feet Records, no doubt). A notable exception is lead singer Dave Wakeling's sensitively rendered version of Andy Williams' Can't Get Used to Losing You, which provided many an 80s 'rude boy' the opportunity to ask a 'rude girl' for a slow dance.
As a footnote, if you see an album of the same name by The English Beat, it's a US release. Like Suede, who have to be called The London Suede in the US, The Beat were beaten to their name.