Here’s a band of the ska era who definitely held their own in the Rude Boy category along with The Specials, The Selector and Madness (all of whom I love). If you’re reading this outside the UK, you probably know them as The English Beat.
Mirror in the Bathroom
Hands Off…She’s Mine
Twist & Crawl
Whine & Grine/Stand Down Margaret
Noise In This World
Can’t Get Used to Losing You
“The Beat are Saxa. Andy Cox, David Steele, Everett Moreton, Ranking Roger and Dave Wakeling”
Obviously, I wasn’t born for another two years when this was released, but in our house I had a parent who liked ska. It was everywhere so whether it was the cheeky chappiness of Madness or the more serious message bringers like The Beat, if it was released it would be on the radio.
I first became aware of who The Beat were on meeting Him Indoors, who was a big fan and was a fully fledged skin head in the early eighties, all be it an early teenage incarnation of the theme.
He first played me Mirror In The Bathroom on 7inch single and later we found the album in Oxfam. It was never off the deck for weeks after.
Mirror in the Bathroom isn’t my most favorite choice on the album, its definitely a close second. I love songs which have lyrics which clearly only mean something to their writer. Although I do wonder if its a warning on the dangers of drugs. Perhaps I’m wrong. Answers on a postcard please.
My preferred choice is Hands Off…She’s Mine, the track which follows it.
You can imagine the scenario, a situation which happens no doubt in pubs and clubs to this day, of a guy having his eye on the intended girlfriend of another fella, a friend. Which, of course, leads to said fella having a none too polite response to said glad eye behavior.
Its like a musical “fuck off”! The line of the title being repeated over at the end of the chorus definitely makes me think of two guys squaring up and one perhaps pointing them in the chest in time to the lyric.
Even though by design its an aggressive song lyric, based on betrayal of one friend to another, its quite the jolly number, which of course is ironic, certainly not lost on me!