Captain Sensible

The Best of Captain Sensible: Sensible Lifestyles

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This collection ignores Sensible's early, inspired solo period -- 1982's two LPs, Women and Captains First and the lovely The Power of Love, both released on A&M, are represented by a paltry three tracks, and all of them are live versions. Where is "Secrets," "Brenda," and "I'm a Spider"? (Couldn't get the rights from A&M, we bet.) Back then, the guitarist/singer/writer was still a thriving member of the Damned, then at the peak of their powers (circa The Black Album and Strawberries), and his solo LPs were just as entertaining. However, there's no quibble with the wealth of fancy pop fluff from the last five LPs found here, starting with Sensible's comeback double LP, 1989's Revolution Now. Sensible is a '60s pop and psychedelia expert (with a Syd Barrett fixation), and those tones pulsate throughout his own groovy songwriting. As a way of teaching folks that Sensible is a pop treasure trove, this is a pretty case, even without his two best LPs appearing. Revolution Now is the star album here, with the title track, "A Riot on Eastbourne Pier," "Kamikaze Millionaire," his cover of the Equals' 1968 hit "I Get So Excited," and "Smash It Up, Pt. 4" all delectable (too bad no "Exploding Heads and Teapots"). But the live versions of the early gems, such as "Glad It's All Over," "Happy Talk" (this South Pacific song was a surprise U.K. 1992 number one for Sensible), and the silly "Wot" are fun; the Universe of Geoffrey Brown's "Street of Shame" is an overlooked prize; and Meathead's 1995 breezy, pretty "Can You Hear Me" suggests that Sensible is not slowing down. There's always room in my house for Captain Sensible, bless his madcap heart.

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