For ska's second, punk-fueled incarnation, this live set (the soundtrack to a concert film of the same name) does a fine job of showcasing the bristling and limber energy of the genre's top groups. Taking all of the intensity but little of the tropical fluidity of the original Jamaican ska from the first half of the '60s (the English groups were also inspired by the island's later, slower-paced rocksteady sound), the likes of the Specials, Madness, English Beat, and Bad Manners show their live prowess with stripped-down renditions of early classics, feeding off the hyperenthusiastic crowd throughout. The Selector, though, takes top honors here for near classic versions of their "Three Minute Hero" and "Too Much Pressure," not to mention a nice cover of Justin Hinds and the Dominoes' "Carry Go Bring Home"; amidst a sea of cockney-drenched rude boy voices, Selector lead singer Pauline Black commands attention with her distinctly manic yet beguiling vocal stylings. And beyond first-rate work by the Specials and Madness, Bad Manners gets special mention for some of the tastiest horn charts of the lot. So, tighten up those pant legs, don that Pork Pie hat, get in the groove, and don't be rude.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Stephen Cook