One step beyond

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Madness’ debut album is a treat, both visually and musically. I loved it from the moment I got it. There is something very refreshing and cheerful about this album. I never went to the concerts though, and you won’t see me in the black and white signature clothing of the ska people.

Ska came from 1950s Jamaica and was developed by among others Prince Buster (Cecil Bustamente Campbell) in the sixties. It was immediately picked up by British working classes. Ska originally had elements of Caribbean folk music and American jazz. Later generations of it added punk and new wave. In that form it survived until deep in the nineties.

Madness paid hommage to this Prince Buster in a couple of songs, and by naming themselves after one of his songs (and covering it on the album). This Prince Buster is indeed a major influence on the music. He might be seen as the grandfather of both ska and reggae. He died in 2016, 78 years old.

Oh wow… there is a ska version of Tchaikovsky’s Swan lake on this album.

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