|Artwork by CHema Skandal!|
Jump Up Records/Specialized Records
(Review by Steve Shafer)
Originally recorded for Specialized Records' 2020 charity comp Blockbuster: A Tribute to Glam Rock (but it was delivered too late for inclusion), The Untouchables' new picture disc single is a cover of ("Suspicious Minds" composer) Mark James' "Hooked on a Feeling," which was recorded by BJ Thomas (1968), Jonathan King (1971), and Blue Swede (1974)--and received new life in the 21st century courtesy of the Guardians of the Galaxy movie soundtrack. While it seems like a stretch to put "Hooked on a Feeling" on a glam comp--this is a mega-catchy AM-radio pop track, after all--Blue Swede was tagged as a glam rock band and their version of this song (based on Jonathan King's 1971 arrangement) was a smash hit in the US, Canada, Australia, and the Netherlands.
The Untouchables' excellent, straight-up sincere take on this song is in the same vein as their 1985 hit "What's Gone Wrong?" (which UB40 wanted to buy from them before The UTs recorded it). But the UTs' crack rhythm section and horns really give "Hooked on a Feeling" some real umph--something that's even more evident on "Hooked Dub." Rude boys want to convey messages of love, too, but don't have to be soft about it.
Long-time UTs fans, no doubt, will remember and have collected several picture disc singles ("Free Yourself," "I Spy for the FBI," and "What's Gone Wrong?") spun off The Untouchables' Wild Child LP (which was also released as a picture disc). Their UK label Stiff Records was mad about this format and always paid such brilliant attention to the design of their releases and merchandise. Jump Up notes that "Hooked on a Feeling" is the first Untouchables picture disc released in 37 years. Let's hope we don't have to wait nearly as long for more UTs recordings, 'cause right now they sound so damn good!
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To read more about The Untouchables, check out The Duff Guide to the Untouchables. Also see my introductory chapter "1985: The Year American Ska Broke" to Marc Wasserman's book Ska Boom: An American Ska & Reggae Oral History.
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