Review: Bad Manners – The Singles 1980-89

Andy Howells samples the best in pop etiquette with a new compilation from Bad Manners on Cherry Red.

I recall taking a strong interest in “current music” in the late 1970s and early 80s. Although up to that point my music tastes had been grounded in the 1960s (in fact they still are!) I was interested in a lot of the bands that captured my imagination on music shows such as Top of The Pops and Razzmatazz.

One such act was Bad Manners, a versatile bunch of musicians fronted by the charismatic large personality that still is Buster Bloodvessel! The Ska fans rightly laid claim to the cool sounds of Just a Feeling and Lip up Fatty, but Bad Manners broke the genre mould with their interpretation of Can Can which gained them wide-spread endearment across the generations on virtually every light entertainment TV show during 1980. Even my Grandad couldn’t get enough of Buster’s frantic dancing and there was no-one more surprised than Mr Bloodvessel himself when Ronnie Barker memorably parodied the band on The Two Ronnies.

Bad Manners – The Singles is a 3 disc set available from Cherry Red Records

Chart-wise, the hits kept a coming, usually accompanied by a fun tv appearance. Musically, there were nods to rock n roll with Ne-Ne Na-Na Na-Na Nu-Nu, My Girl Lollipop, Elizabethan Reggae, Buona Sera, Yakety Yak and of course there were the bands uplifting and fun original hits Special Brew, Lorraine, and Walking in The Sunshine.

Bad Manners – The Singles 1980-89 features a whopping 63 tracks, rounding up every 45rpm release on the first two discs and bringing together extended remixes on a third. The release also contains a detailed booklet giving facts about each single, with illustrations of relevant picture sleeves from across Europe.

Because Bad Manners were such a versatile act musically, their choice of material frequently shifted in style between rockabilly, pop, and ska. This kept them enduring and interesting while Buster Bloodvessel’s charisma transfers beautifully to disc and is always an uplifting presence. Even the not so familiar b sides make a good listen and demonstrated the band clearly concentrated on giving fans value for money.

Proving Bad Manners is still the very best in pop etiquette, The Singles 1980-89 is an essential listen whether you want to wallow in some classic pop nostalgia or get yourself in the mood before catching Buster and the band live in concert.

Bad Manners – The Singles 1980-89 is available via Cherry Red records

Read on: Archive Interview with Buster Bloodvessel

Read on: Buster Bloodvessel remembers Two Ronnies’ Bad Manners Sketch

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