Wednesday, July 20, 2011

WAITING - Fun Boy Three

YEAR: 1983

LABEL: Chrysalis

TRACK LISTING: Our Lips Are Sealed, The Tunnel of Love, The Pressure of Life (Takes the Weight Off the Body), Things We Do, The Farmyard Connection, Murder She Said, The More I See (The Less I Believe), Going Home, We're Having All the Fun, Well Fancy That!

IMPRESSIONS: I was always a fan of The Specials and the late 70's ska craze so I loved Fun Boy Three. The music on WAITING still has that moody atmospheric sound from The Specials but is also quite danceable. On top of that, they hide biting lyrics which comment on the social foibles of the day. Back in the day, my mother and I played this album often. The moaning, groaning sound of their cover of the Go-Go's hit "Our Lips Are Sealed" was a revelation (co-written by secret lovers Jane Wiedlin and Terry Hall) while "The Farmyard Connection" was hilarious fun. Tracks like "Things We Do" and "The Tunnel of Love" were little snapshots of sometimes bleak early-80's England which somehow managed to have a sense of bemusement; things never got too depressing. Terry Hall's impassive and immobile face probably had something to do with eliminating any sense of "woe is me" wallowing. Whenever I hear this album I am immediately rocketed back to the early 80's and high school. WAITING was awarded the retroactive honourary Penguin Award for Album of the Year.

MY FAVOURITE TRACKS: Our Lips Are Sealed, The Tunnel of Love, Things We Do, The Farmyard Connection, Murder She Said, The More I See (The Less I Believe), We're Having All the Fun

GUEST ARTISTS: David Byrne plays guitar as well as producing and mixing

FACT SHEET: Fun Boy Three emerged from the wreckage of The Specials. Formed by Terry Hall, Neville Staple and Lynval Golding, the band still only lasted a mere two albums (sadly); WAITING was their second and final album. The songwriting and production is less "doom and gloom" and more light and poppy without losing any of the lyrical sharpness. "Our Lips Are Sealed" and "Tunnel of Love" were both Top 20 UK hits while only "Our Lips Are Sealed" became a single in America with heavy rotation on MTV. The instrumental "Murder She Said" is a cover of the theme music for the Agatha Christie/Miss Marple films starring Margaret Rutherford. After the release of WAITING, the group toured the US and promptly disbanded afterwards. The album is produced and mixed by the Talking Heads' David Byrne with arrangements that feature interesting rhythms and instruments such as the cello and trombone (brought over from the ska days). Fun Boy Three were also instrumental in jumpstarting the career of Bananarama by dueting with them on "T'ain't What You Do (It's the Way That You Do It)" on their first album and then dueting with Bananarama on their own album with their Motown cover "Really Saying Something"; both in 1982.

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