Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Big Audio Dynamite - Tighten Up Vol. 88 (1988)

The Effra River flows under Granville Arcade....


Released June 1988

Recorded at Beethoven Studios, West London

Running time 46.09

This is possibly Big Audio Dynamite's best album. Another intoxicating mix of hip/hop, rock, reggae, punk, pop, funk, dance and multiple samples, it is totally urban West/South London album, even down to the cover (painted by ex-Clash bassist Paul Simonon). It is full of references to places like Ladbroke Grove/All Saints Road and Brixton's Granville Arcade/Bon Marché.


1. Rock Non-Stop (All Night Long)
2. Other 99
3. Funny Names
4. Applecart
5. Esquerita
6. Champagne
7. Mr. Walker Said
8. The Battle Of All Saints Road
9. Hip, Neck & Thigh
10. 2000 Shoes
11. Tighten Up, Vol. 88
12. Just Play Music!

This is possibly the most melodic and catchy of the BAD albums - some great songs on here and really appealing melodies - particularly the baleful Other 99, the most entertaining Funny Names, the realism of Applecart, the newspaper horoscope-inspired Mr. Walker Said, the rousing Just Play Music! - all of these stick in one’s head for a long time. All of them are hook-laden, addictive and incredibly catchy. Mick Jones had a real pop sensibility in his compositions. The laid back urban reggae and afore-mentioned lyrics about Brixton and South London landmarks on Tighten Up Vol. 88 are really evocative for anyone who knows that area, as is the "rock meets hip hop meets reggae" tour de force that is The Battle Of All Saints Road.

The rockabilly-influenced Esquerita is also fun as is Champagne. 2000 Shoes is, unsurprisingly, about Philippine “first lady” Imelda Marcos's passion for shoes. Again, Jones' appealing wit is highlighted in these songs. An excellent album throughout, full of atmosphere and simply great songs.