Vinyl-only label Demon Records release classic album reissue of The Beat’s second album as part of an eclectic and interesting array of long players including releases by Ian McCulloch, Marc Bolan, Deacon Blue, Foghat, Saxon and such like. Today’s main focus is the Birmingham band’s ‘Wha ppen?’ originally created on it’s May, 1981 release for the Americas as 2-tone and all things ska and reggae received much improved attention across the Atlantic. The end result seeing the band served up more roots infused outing for their then new release, indeed across the pond, the band were know as The English Beat to avoid confusion with a native band of the sharing the same band name. Also worth noting the band scored well in UK charts as well as elsewhere, so a US plan was not a bad one.
Bit of a short hand back story; Originally signed to jerry Dammers super-cool 2-Tone label, based refreshingly in Coventry, after the bands ska’d up blues fused cover of Smokey Robinson’s ‘Tears Of A Clown’ became a Top Ten hit, the band spurred by their debut success, negotiated a deal for their own label, Go Feet. What followed has been described as a “golden year” which brought further deserved success; Iconic songs such as ‘Hands Off… She’s Mine’ made the top 10 followed by ‘Mirror In The Bathroom’ got to No.4 in the singles chart signalling their first album ‘I Just Can’t Stop It’ in 11980, that year also saw more single success with ‘Best Friend’ reach No.22, before ‘Too Nice To Talk To’ again made the top Ten at no.7 in November of that year.
‘Doors Of Your Heart’ official video –
Which I am pleased to report, brings us nicely into 1981 and The Beat’s second album Wha ppen?’ which also charted No.3. Reading the LP sleeve it’s not hard to see why Demon Records jumped at the chance to press this album, looking through the tracklisting of ‘Wha ppen?’ is screams forgotten treasure! i mean it features the hits ‘Too Nice To Talk To , ‘Doors Of Your Heart’, ‘All Out To Get You’, ‘Drowning’, and ‘Hit It’ as well as bonus tracks (on download card) ‘Too Nice To Talk To’, ‘Psychedelic Rockers’, ‘Hit It’ and ‘Which Side Of The Bed?. It’s not hard to see why a vinyl pressing in 2013 some o30 years later, for a new generation was a pretty good idea.
Listening to the midlands band these days is still rewarding, a memory rediscovered from primary school days, ‘Wha ppens?’ is a rich mine of talents that all shine up bright whatever medium you choose use, but on vinyl is a good start. The album may not be brimmed with hit after hit, as I’ve previously mentioned the album was meant for US radio Success, as a result there are no real wasted opportunities. Further proof of The Beat’s considerable talents further detailed in this 12 track album with the downloads, which all of course work well, faves include the single version of ‘Too Nice To Talk To’ and ‘Hit It’ get me moving. As this album as a whole should still do. 8.1/10
‘Too Nice To Talk To’ original music video –