Original Album Series

Happy Mondays

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Original Album Series Review

by David Jeffries

Featuring three great albums, a good live album, and a lazy stinker, Happy Mondays' five-CD Original Album Series is a steal when found at the right price. The great ones are the first three efforts, with Squirrel & G-Man representing the band's punky, funky roots, Bummed being an album that helped launch the Madchester scene, and Pills 'n' Thrills and Bellyaches a hit-filled example of how the band took indie dance rock to the arena. Live is, of course, the sound of the band in the arena itself, and while it's too sterile to give listeners the feeling they are there, it sure beats Yes Please!, an album where the band went to Barbados, with Talking Heads' Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth as producers, and sent back the audio equivalent of an obligatory vacation postcard. Get the set at the right price -- anything below what it costs to buy three of the LPs -- and the extra stuff is just extra, hanging off three quality slabs of baggy jeans, blunt-blowin', hoodie dance rock with lead singer Shaun Ryder barking the funky street Gospel.

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