This collection is a 93 track five-disc clamshell box set rounding up pretty much all of Bad Manners’ releases between 1980-85. As well as having remastered sound, the 20-page booklet contains detailed liner notes, pictures of all the relevant record sleeves,
memorabilia and press clippings from the time.
Fronted by Buster Bloodvessel (born Douglas Trendle), the band was formed in 1976 while the members were together at Woodberry Down Comprehensive School near Manor House, North London. They rose to prominence in the early 1980s as part of the ska revival spearheaded by the likes of The Specials, The Beat, Madness and The Selecter. Unlike those bands, they were never on the 2-Tone label, but they did feature in the 1981 documentary Dance Craze which is where I first heard them. Their live version of “Lip Up Fatty” was amazing and I was a fan from that moment on.
The first CD is debut LP Ska ‘N’ B which spent three months in the UK charts in 1980, peaking at No.34. Includes the hit singles “Ne-Ne Na-Na Na-Na Nu-Nu” (No.28), “Lip Up Fatty” (No.15) and “Special Brew’ (No.3).” The album is half covers and half originals, and contains Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett’s “Monster Mash,” the Magnificent Seven theme song, and Sam The Sham & The Pharoahs’ “Wooly Bully.” This album is fun and a great listen even after all these years, and it features five bonus tracks culled from 7” and 12” releases of the time. CD number two is the Loonee Tunes album which hit No.36 in the National Chart in 1980. This one contains the hit singles ‘Lorraine’ (No.21) and ‘Just A Feeling’ (No.13). This one had more originals and helped get the band more visibility with more TV appearances. Gosh It’s album is what you’ll find on Disc 3. It reached No.18 in the UK charts helped by the inclusion of the hit singles “Can Can” (No.3) and “Walking In The Sunshine” (No.10). Also added as a bonus is the No.34 charting “Buona Sera” single plus two tracks from the Party Party soundtrack that are appearing on CD in the UK for the first time. This is the album that really made it for the band with even better songwriting and production. I played this one a lot and you will too! The fourth disc is 1982’s Forging Ahead LP, a No.78 chart entry that includes the hit singles “Got No Brains” (No.44), “My Girl Lollipop” (No.9), “Samson And Delilah” (No. 58) and “That’ll Do Nicely” (No.49). This version includes 10 bonus tracks, lifted from various single releases. This album deserves to be heard since it contained so many great songs, but with ska going down in popularity, it didn’t get the respect that it deserved at the time. Disc 5 is the ultra-rare Mental Notes album from 1985, originally only released in North America / The Netherlands / Australia & Greece. Amongst the ten bonus tracks are five that have never appeared on CD before, culled from rare American only 12” singles. I owned this album because I lived in Canada at the time and played it frequently since I wasn’t too bothered with trends and still liked ska. The album went against their previous ska sound, but still was a pretty good album, especially their cover of Todd Rundgren’s “Bang The Drum All Day.”
All-in-all, this is a great collection for someone who loves 2-Tone and wants to put a smile on their face. The band is and will always be fun and talented, something that we need more of these days.