The Dangermen Sessions Vol. 1

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The Dangermen Sessions, Vol. 1
The Dangermen Sessions.jpg
Studio album by
Released1 August 2005
StudioLivingston Recording Studios
Whitfield Street Studios
Fallout Shelter
Miloco Studios[2]
LabelLive and Intensified (an imprint of V2 Records)
Madness chronology
Our House: the Original Songs
The Dangermen Sessions, Vol. 1
Madness Live: To the Edge of the Universe and Beyond
Singles from The Dangermen Sessions Vol. 1
  1. "Shame & Scandal"
    Released: 25 July 2005[3]
  2. "Girl Why Don't You?"
    Released: 28 November 2005[4]
Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
Drowned in Sound[7]
The Guardian[8]

The Dangermen Sessions, Vol. 1 is a cover album and the eighth studio album by the British ska band Madness, released in 2005. The album reached No. 11 in the UK which at the time was their highest chart position in the UK since 1984's Keep Moving.

The Dangermen[edit]

Prior to recording the album, Madness played a series of low-key gigs under the alias the Dangermen, performing mostly cover versions which they had performed in their early days as the Invaders. A selection from the set list was then chosen to be recorded for the album. Some songs which were played live but not included on the album included "Skylarking" and "Dreader Than Dread" (both released as B-sides on the "Shame and Scandal" single), "Wonderful World, Beautiful People", "Papa's Got a Brand New Pigbag" and "It Miek", as well as the Prince Buster numbers "One Step Beyond" and "Madness", both of which the group had already released in 1979. The live concerts also included Dangermen "covers" of a few of Madness' more ska-influenced original compositions, such as "Night Boat to Cairo" and "The Prince".

Singer Suggs said of some of the song choices: "The irony is that many of the songs had already been recorded in reggae form, such as "You Keep Me Hanging On" or even "Lola". So even though they ended up a little Madness-ified, we based our version on the reggae cover version, not the original song itself."[11]

Guitarist Chris Foreman appeared on most of the album, but he left the group during the sessions[12] and was therefore not a member of the group at the time of the album's release and did not take part in promotion for the album. He would later re-join the group.[13] Co-producer John "Segs" Jennings filled in on guitar on the remaining tracks.[14]

The album booklet contains both serious sleeve notes in which the various members of the group discuss their choice of songs, and fictional notes concerning the history of the group "the Dangermen", who are claimed to have been an influential reggae group formed in Havana in the 1960s, and who have reformed after 35 years to record the album.

Each member of Madness has an alter ego in the Dangermen:

  • Mark Bedford – Lester Bernham, born at sea and washed-up on the shores of Cuba with a bass guitar made of driftwood.
  • Cathal "Chas Smash" Smyth – Jimmy Oooh, an itinerant singer.
  • Daniel Woodgate – Daniel Descartes, experimental percussionist born in Paris and leader of touring band, the Daniel Descartes Collective.
  • Mike Barson – Professor Psykoticus, a Hungarian-born musician (his supposed birthplace being the small town of Mezőhegyes) who worked in sonic weapons research in the USSR before being introduced to the music of the Daniel Descartes Collective, which led to the formation of the Dangermen.
  • Suggs – Robert Chaos "The Poet", found in a Gladstone bag at the feet of Miles Davis by Dexter Gordon, and a founding member of the Dangermen.
  • Chris Foreman – Christofos Formantos, of whom nothing is known.
  • Lee Thompson – "Unnamed", atmospheric scientist and part-time sax player.


The Guardian called the album "modestly agreeable listening", adding that "the translation from raucous pub to sober recording studio has squeezed out much of the combo's spontaneous lunacy."[8] Although reggae classics such as "Shame & Scandal" and "The Israelites" are faithfully reproduced, according to the website, they also felt that the album lacks the band's trademark quirky sense of humour.[15] musicOMH wrote that most of the tracks could easily be a single, but felt that on some of the ska tracks, the production is "a little too clean".[16] PopMatters wrote, "All the songs bop along at about the same pace, all interpreted in the same rocksteady style, and this makes the proceedings a bit wearisome towards the end. But when Madness does it right it's clear they're still very much in possession of the skills that made them so unique."[9]

Track listing[edit]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (2005) Peak
Belgian Albums Chart (Vl)[17] 93 1
Belgian Albums Chart (Wa)[17] 39 8
Dutch Albums Chart[18] 59 3
European Hot 100 Albums Chart[19] ? 3
French Albums Chart[20] 17 15
German Albums Chart[21] 81 2
Swiss Albums Chart[22] 67 4
UK Albums Chart[23] 11 4


Additional musicians
  • Steve Dub – additional programming and synthesizer
  • John "Segs" Jennings – additional guitar, additional drums (3), backing vocals (3, 11)
  • Ingo Vauk – programming
  • Steve Turner – saxophone
  • Joe Auckland – trumpet
  • Mike Kearsey – trombone
  • Dennis Bovell – timbales (2)
  • Jade Greaves – steel pan (3)
  • Simon Wilcox – trumpet (12)
  • Ellie Hajee – backing vocals (11)
  • Carole Thompson – backing vocals (13)
  • Janet Kay – backing vocals (13)
  • David Bedford – musical direction, string arrangements (10, 12)
  • Isobel Griffiths – string contractor (10, 12)
  • Gavyn Wright – violin (10, 12)
  • Perry Montague-Mason – violin (10, 12)
  • Julian Leaper – violin (10, 12)
  • Warren Zielinski – violin (10, 12)
  • Boguslaw Kostecki – violin (10, 12)
  • Jackie Shave – violin (10, 12)
  • Chris Tombling – violin (10, 12)
  • Patrick Kiernan – violin (10, 12)
  • Jamie, Timothy and Joey Barson - backing vocals
  • Dennis Bovell – production (1-7, 9, 11, 13)
  • Steve Dub – production (1, 10, 12), additional production (2-9, 11, 13), engineering, mixing
  • John "Segs" Jennings – production (1, 10, 12), additional production (2-9, 11, 13)
  • Madness – production (1, 8)
  • Ben Thackeray – engineering
  • Steve Masters – engineering
  • Jason Olliffe – assistant engineering
  • Jill Furmanovsky – photography
  • Tony McGee – photography


  1. ^ "THE YOUNG AND THE OLD: Madness recruit new producer, Dennis Bovell". Retrieved 20 October 2021.
  2. ^ "THE YOUNG AND THE OLD: The project is handed over to dance music producer Steve 'Dubs' Jones and ex-Ruts bassist John 'Segs' Jennings for mixing". Retrieved 20 October 2021.
  3. ^ "MORE MADNESS!". NME. 16 June 2005. Retrieved 20 October 2021.
  4. ^ "MEMORIES: NOVEMBER 28: Girl Why Don't You is released". Retrieved 20 October 2021.
  5. ^ Metacritic
  6. ^ The Dangermen Sessions Vol. 1 at AllMusic
  7. ^ Blatchford, Thomas (1 August 2005). "The Dangermen Sessions Volume One". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 20 October 2021.
  8. ^ a b Sweeting, Adam (29 July 2005). "Madness, The Dangermen Sessions Volume 1". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 October 2021.
  9. ^ a b Funk, Peter (11 October 2005). "Madness: The Dangermen Sessions Volume 1". PopMatters. Retrieved 20 October 2021.
  10. ^ "Madness – The Dangermen Sessions Volume 1". Uncut. 29 July 2005. Retrieved 20 October 2021.
  11. ^ "THE YOUNG AND THE OLD: The band continue the selection process for the new album". Retrieved 20 October 2021.
  12. ^ "MEMORIES: MAY 12: Chris goes public with his decision to quit the band". Retrieved 20 October 2021.
  13. ^ "Madness on their best albums: "We were full of ideas!"". 15 November 2019.
  14. ^ "THE YOUNG AND THE OLD: Additional tracks are added without input from Chris". Retrieved 20 October 2021.
  15. ^ "Madness – The Dangermen Sessions Volume 1". 20 July 2005. Retrieved 20 October 2021.
  16. ^ Shepherd, Sam (1 August 2005). "Madness – The Dangermen Sessions Vol 1". musicOMH. Retrieved 20 October 2021.
  17. ^ a b "Ultratop". Retrieved 12 February 2012.
  18. ^ Steffen Hung. "Dutch charts portal". Retrieved 12 February 2012.
  19. ^ "Music News, Reviews, Articles, Information, News Online & Free Music". Retrieved 12 February 2012.
  20. ^ Steffen Hung. "Les charts français". Archived from the original on 1 April 2008. Retrieved 12 February 2012.
  21. ^ "Die ganze Musik im Internet: Charts, News, Neuerscheinungen, Tickets, Genres, Genresuche, Genrelexikon, Künstler-Suche, Musik-Suche, Track-Suche, Ticket-Suche" (in German). Retrieved 12 February 2012.
  22. ^ Steffen Hung. "Die Offizielle Schweizer Hitparade und Music Community". Retrieved 12 February 2012.
  23. ^ "UK Singles & Albums Official Charts Company". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 12 February 2012.

External links[edit]