From the Vaults: Sooner or Later – The English Beat

English beat

Special Beat Service Cover

From the Vaults  –  Written in 2008

One of my favorite albums of all time is Special Beat Service by the English Beat. I bought it, along with many other fabulous records at Harmony House in Downtown Farmington-the wondrous local music store where I spent many a magical day, and much of my babysitting money on the splendors of recorded music on vinyl.

In my senior year, I would listen to that album over and over …the skip on my copy of the record at the beginning of “I Confess” would prove to be just part of the song to me.

When I heard the CD version years later, I could still “hear” the scratch, chuckling at the memory.

Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook of Squeeze. It’s them I swear

So I was very excited when I found out the English Beat was going to do a show at the Showbox Theater in Seattle. The Showbox is a charming joint, just grimy enough to give it a little character. A few months ago I was fortunate enough to catch Squeeze at the same venue. Squeeze is definitely another of my top fave bands, and although Chris and Glenn or getting old, they still put on a heck of a gig. (See pic at left)

Yes, a pattern is emerging, old 80’s bands, and albums. I’m getting a little ***gasp*** mature.

It’s ironic that I spent half my life immersed in new music, keeping up with all that is hip and hot, but for the last few years, I am less and less into it. I try to stay current, but glancing at a recent top 10 songs list I’m familiar with less than half of the artists. It makes me feel a bit out of touch. But these days, I am extremely comforted by all that is musically aged.

I don’t really know how it started, but I became a big BIG U.K music fan. I would anxiously await for “Rock Over London” which came on after “The King Biscuit Flower Hour” on 89X a Canadian station in Windsor. Or there was the “Dangerous Exposure” show on WABX Detroit, hosted by THE Mike Haloran, who started the best alternative station in its day; XTRA in San Diego.

I loved all things musically British so much, I used to dream of moving to London and becoming a DJ there. I had heard they ironically liked American accents as much as I was enchanted by English accents.

So it’s comforting when an old school band comes around. To me sometimes, the 80’s happened just a few years ago. It’s when I go to a show and get a good look at the rest of the audience….
I realize that I’ve become an old fart.

The crowd overall was pushing 50. And Dave Wakeling, the only surviving original member is not aging

A grainy Dave Wakeling

well. ( see pic left) Despite not coming on until the late hour of 10PM…☺ they played a strong energetic show. I was exhausted when I got home at 12:30, clutching my requisite concert t-shirt and a bit sad because the one song they didn’t play was “I Confess”

I wanted to see if I would still “hear” the scratch in the live version. I’ll have to “Save it for Later”



Written in 2008