Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tony Beet Of The International Beat Releases New Acoustic Ska Single

The break-up of the original version of The Beat twenty-eight years ago this month in 1983 was a great loss at the time. The band was close to breaking big in the U.S. and had they stayed together probably could have approached The Police in terms of popularity. Instead various members went their separate ways and the musical world gained General Public and the Fine Young Cannibals. Often overlooked in the divorce of The Beat were saxophone player Saxa and drummer Everett Morton, who in my humble opinion were just as responsible for the unique sound of the band as any of the other members.

Enter Tony Beet who through a chance meeting with Saxa at a pub in Birmingham one night helped to launch the International Beat. The band was formed in 1990 by Beet along with ex-Beat members Everett Morton and Saxa and also featured Ranking Roger as a special guest at select shows. Beet, who was the the guitarist/vocalist and songwriter for the band was also able to recruit ex-Dexy's Midnight Runners/General Public piano player Mickey Billingham as well. They toured in the early 90's and also released a studio album called 'The Hitting Line' in 1991.

The International Beat - Danny Boy

The International Beat - Are You Ready?

I've always had a soft spot in my heart for The International Beat (probably because of the distinctive playing of Saxa and Moreton) and Beet's vocals and voice was very reminiscent of Dave Wakeling's. As such The International Beat certainly satisfied fans of The Beat who missed their unique sound. Tony's songs and the overall sound of the band helped to carry on the great legacy of The Beat while adding their own unique spin. In my mind, they were responsible for keeping the flame of ska and the spirit of The Beat alive as both Dave Wakeling and Ranking Roger often joined the band for live shows before reforming General Public a second time in the mid-90's. Ranking Roger has said that a sold-out show he played with The International Beat at the Greek Theatre in LA in 1990 prompted him to launch Special Beat.

More recently Beet has focused his energies on writing ska/pop songs on his acoustic guitar and performs them with the Birmingham-based Acoustic Theatre which features acoustic guitar, melodica, organ, percussion and double bass.  To that end he has just released a new single titled 'Love & Unite' which fits nicely into the canon of International Beat songs, featuring a hint of The Beat, a bit of 2-Tone and rocksteady reggae. Watch a live performance of the song below.

The track is available for sale on iTunes in the U.K.


Anonymous said...

what a joy! cool song..

Anonymous said...

Great post and blog!!! I was just wondering if you have International Beat's "Hitting Line Crosses the Border"? I think it is out of print and can't find anywhere and thought you'd be the one to go to. Keep up the great work!! Thanks!