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Thursday, 31 May 2018

A Few Favourite Albums: The Liberty of Norton Folgate - Madness (May 2009)

The Liberty of Noltom Folgate - Madness
Lucky Seven
Produced by Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley
Released 18th May 2009
UK Chart #5
UK Independent Chart #1

CD Tracklist
1 Overture    
2 We Are London    
3 Sugar And Spice    
4 Forever Young    
5 Dust Devil    
6 Rainbows    
7 That Close    
8 MkII    
9 On The Town    
10 Bingo    
11 Idiot Child    
12 Africa    
13 NW5    
14 Clerkenwell Polka    
15 The Liberty Of Norton Folgate 

Silver Edition came with CD of the album and a DVD of the Julian Temple film The Liberty Of Norton Folgate.

Vinyl Edition
A1 We Are London    
A2 Forever Young    
A3 Dust Devil    
A4 Sugar And Spice    
A5 Norton Folgate
B1 Clerkenwell Polka    
B2 Bingo    
B3 Rainbows    
B4 That Close    
B5 MK2    
B6 Idiot Child    
B7 On The Town

 The Liberty Of Norton Folgate Special Edition Box Set
This edition was made available for pre-order in late 2008 and was released on 23 March 2009.

Click on the links for tracks that are exclusive to this Edition of the album.
Vinyl Edition
A1 We Are London    
A2 Forever Young    
A3 Dust Devil    
A4 Sugar And Spice    
A5 Norton Folgate
B1 Clerkenwell Polka    
B2 Bingo    
B3 Rainbows    
B4 That Close    
B5 MK2    
B6 Idiot Child    
B7 On The Town

CD Edition 

CD1-1     Overture    
CD1-2     We Are London    
CD1-3     Sugar And Spice    
CD1-4     Forever Young    
CD1-5     Dust Devil    
CD1-6     Rainbows    
CD1-7     That Close    
CD1-8     MK II    
CD1-9     On The Town    
CD1-10     Clerkenwell Polka    
CD1-11     The Liberty Of Norton Folgate    
CD2-1     Let's Go*    
CD2-2     Idiot Child    
CD2-3     Mission From Hell*    
CD2-4     Seven Dials*    
CD2-5     Hunchback Of Torriano*    
CD2-6     Fish & Chips*    
CD2-7     Bingo    
CD2-8     NW5    
CD2-9     One Fine Day*    
CD2-10     The Kiss*    
CD2-11     Africa

CD3 is rehearsal recordings, demos and live recordings.

    "Practice Makes Perfect"
CD3-1     Dust Devil I    
CD3-2     Let's Go    
CD3-3     Clerkenwell Polka    
CD3-4     Forever Young    
CD3-5     7 Dials    
CD3-6     On The Town    
CD3-7     Fish & Chips Parade    
CD3-8     Idiot Child    
CD3-9     We Are London - Chas Demo    
    "Hackney Live & Correct"
CD3-10     We Are London    
CD3-11     Idiot Child    
CD3-12     Bingo    
CD3-13     NW5    
CD3-14     On The Town    
CD3-15     MK II    
CD3-16     Sugar & Spice    
CD3-17     Dust Devil    
CD3-18     Clerkenwell Polka    
CD3-19     Forever Young    
CD3-20     The Liberty Of Norton Folgate

All of disc 3 contains material exclusive to this release. The seven tracks marked with a (*) on disc 2 are also exclusive to this release.

    Suggs (Graham McPherson) – vocals
    Chas Smash (Cathal Smyth) – vocals
    Mike Barson – piano
    Chris Foreman – guitar
    Mark Bedford – bass
    Lee Thompson – saxophone
    Daniel Woodgate – drums

Additional personnel
    Graham Bush – additional bass
    Rhoda Dakar – vocals on "On the Town"
    Jim Parmley – percussion
    Amber Jolene – backing vocals
    Sasha Paul – backing vocals
    Joe Auckland – trumpet
    Steve Turner – saxophone
    Michael Kearsey – trombone
    Mark Brown – clarinet
    Dave Powell – tuba
    Sirishkumar – tabla
    Andy Findon – Turkish clarinet, zorna, duduk
    Simon Hale – string arrangements, conductor, additional piano on "MKII"
    Julian Leaper – violin
    Emil Chakalov – violin
    Martin Burgess – violin
    Sue Briscoe – violin
    Chris Pitsilledes – viola
    Nick Holland – cello
    Millennia Strings – strings
    The London Session Orchestra led by Gavyn Wright – strings

Singles On The Liberty of Norton Folgate

CD Single
1 NW5 (Radio Edit)
2 NW5 (Full Length Version)
3 Bittersweet
4 NW5 (Man Like Me Remix)
 Released 21st January 2008
UK Chart #24


 CD Single
 Released 11th May 2009
UK Chart #64


CD Single
 1 Forever Young (Melt Music Radio Edit)
2 Forever Young (Future Cut Remix)    
3 Forever Young (J Star Mr Wallace Dub)    
4 Forever Young (Live From Later With Jools At BBC)
5 Love Really Hurts (Billy Ocean Cover)
Released 18th January 2010
UK Chart #199


Recorded over the space of two years (2006-2008), The Liberty of Norton Folgate would be the ninth studio album from Madness and their first of original material for a decade! Suggs would say, "I've realised that there's normal time and there's Madness time. What seems like seconds to us turns into decades for everyone else. There's a whole different time-space continuum!"
Suggs had spoken in 2005 of his hope to do an album of new material with Madness but it was a case of trying to get everyone on board to do it. "My idea is to do a concept album about London, the fabulous nature of the ever-changing city and our experiences there. Madness moves very slowly. There are seven of us all going around in circles and different directions. When we're working and playing music together, it just clicks. It's when we're not playing music that we start squabbling!"
Eventually they did all get on the same page (even Chris Foreman returned after departing during The Dangerman Sessions) and ended up releasing not only one of their highest charting albums since the 7 album back in 1981 but they even managed to replace The Rise and Fall as their Magnum Opus (well, I think they did!). The critics (yep them again!) amazingly got it right with many declaring it to be the best album of the band's career! The Word Magazine describes it as "Peter Ackroyd writing for The Kinks, it's Sherlock Holmes in Albert Square, it's a Mike Leigh movie of Parklife, it's Passport To Pimlico meets Brick Lane, and it is Madness's masterpiece."
All the music and lyrics were contributed by the band, with the exception of bassist Mark Bedford  (although not a major songwriter in Madness, Bedford co-wrote one of the band's more emotive songs "One Better Day" with Suggs. He was also responsible for co-writing "Not Home Today", "Disappear", "Return of the Los Palmas 7", "Deceives the Eye", "Stepping into Line" and "Maybe in Another Life". The only song he wrote entirely on his own was "Mummy's Boy", which appeared on the band's debut album One Step Beyond). Bedford would leave the band in 2009, only to return again in 2012 and then rejoined for good in 2013 (Suggs says, "It’s like the Eagles song 'Hotel California'. You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave...There’s a lot of flexibility, allowing people to be what they want to be, and do what they want.")

The Special Edition Boxset had only been available from the band website and along with a pre-order a 12 track Download was made available to purchasers in December 2008 with the physical album (on LP and a 15 track CD) to be released in May 2009. From the opening track We Are London you just knew that this was Madness doing what they do best. 
"The way I describe our sound is to say we are continuing the folk music tradition of the real London. Tommy Cooper was a big factor. Benny Hill - those speeded up bits - used to tickle us. You knew it was naff but it was also deliberately anti-intellectual. Then in later life you get interested in Samuel Beckett and get this inante feeling that there's a parallel. Beckett was really interested in music hall and Tommy Cooper and Max Wall - that thin line between abstraction and just being an idiot. Pathos was a word I learnt from Neil Tennant (Pet Shop Boys) sums up what we were doing unconciously all those years, a mixture of happiness and sadness. Sometimes it's jolly music with sad words and other times it's sad words with jolly music but the most interesting is mixing the two." (Suggs quoted in House of Fun: The Story of Madness - John Reed).
Nine years on from it's release, with a further two studio albums under their belt - Oui Oui Si Si Ja Ja Da Da (2012) and Can't Touch Us Now (2016) - The Liberty of Norton Folgate still stands tall as a monument to their greatness. 
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