Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Big Audio Dynamite - Megatop Phoenix (1989)

No way out on Gerrard Street....

  

Released on 5 September 1989

Running time 59.05

In many ways, this is the most impressive of the four albums from the original Big Audio Dynamite line-up. Using samples from movies and other songs even more this time, the album plays as one continuous whole and damn good it is too.

TRACK LISTING

1. Start

2. Rewind
3. All Mink Coat And No Manners
4. Union, Jack
5. Contact
6. Dragon Town
7. Baby, Don't Apologise
8. Is Yours Working Yet?
9. Around The Girl In Eighty Ways
10. James Brown
11. Everybody Needs A Holiday
12. Mick's A Hippie Burning
13. House Arrest
14. The Green Lady
15. London Bridge
16. Stalag 123
17. End                                                  

Personal highlights are Rewind,  Union, Jack, Dragon Town (about London’s Chinatown), House Arrest (about the current house music scene), The Green Lady (which tells of an Asian beauty living in a London council flat) and the evocative London Bridge

That old Mick Jones tongue in cheek sense of humour is back in Around The Girl In 80 WaysHowever, this is not to denigrate any of the others, they are all excellent, particularly the funky James Brown

The samples are so many that I feel they need listing! Here are some of the samples used:-

Start – Opening moments of Powell and Pressburger's A Matter of Life and Death.

Rewind – Much of what is being tape-rewound during the latter part of the song is from Stalag 123; Mr Custer by Charlie Drake.

Mink Coat And No Manners - Goodness Gracious Me - Peter Sellers & Sophia Loren

Union, JackRule Britannia, Charlie Watts' drum opening from The Rolling Stones Honky Tonk Woman, Shakespeare's Richard II, "You wouldn't know Karl Marx from a toffee apple" – from the film Britannia Hospital and "Heritage in motion" etc. from The Knack ...and How to Get It.

Contact – Brief use of the main riff from I Can't Explain by The Who.

Dragon TownGeorge Formby from Mr Wu's A Window Cleaner Now" and 'aaah aaah' portion of S.F. Sorrow Is Born by The Pretty Things.

Is Yours Working Yet? Alfred Hitchcock.

Around The Girl In 80 Ways Right Said Fred by Bernard Cribbins.

James BrownLiving in America by James Brown. America from West Side Story.

House Arrest - Strawberry Fields Forever - The Beatles.

Mick's A Hippie BurningDigging A Hole, again by Bernard Cribbins, and Withnail and I.

The Green Lady – Snippet of instrumental break from S.F. Sorrow Is Born by The Pretty Things.

London Bridge – London Pride by Noël Coward.

Stalag 123The Great Escape Theme Music.

EndListen with Mother.

In conclusion, the sheer diversity of this album, musically, lyrically, and in the myriad of samples used it has to be considered Big Audio Dynamite's finest album. I have a personal liking for Tighten Up, Vol. 88, but this is possibly the more fulfilled piece of work. It is a shame that this would prove to be their last truly great moment. The band line-up changed after this and the quality was never the same. Those first four albums, though, were seriously good. 

B+