Woody Woodgate: in Your Mind

Madness drummer goes one step beyond, and lands in our world.

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Dan Woodgate probably knew at least 30 years ago that his role as the drummer with Madness was likely to be his most high- profile entry into music’s Who’s-Who. That group’s now part of the collective British heritage, but like other members (saxman Lee Thompson in particular), Woody has shown admirable reluctance in recent years to rest on those laurels.

Following The Magic Line, his warmly received 2013 album with sibling Nick as the Magic Brothers, he now offers this highly likeable set in his own name. While certain chord progressions are reminiscent of earlier Madness (as are certain titles (We’re All Going To Brighton; Friday Night To Sunday Morning) there’s more, swirly experimentation here, often with echoes of Revolver and Syd-period Floyd. Shaman is especially dreamy, but the album’s not trying to be anything more or less than a collection of well-constructed and thoroughly amiable pop songs. Each one is layered with attractive harmonies and melodies that are in your brain on two plays, and the closing Thank You has distinct possibilities as an anthemic set-closer. If the programming powers- that-be let you hear it, you’d be humming it double-quick.

Prog Magazine contributor Paul Sexton is a London-based journalist, broadcaster and author who started writing for the national UK music press while still at school in 1977. He has written for all of the British quality press, most regularly for The Times and Sunday Times, as well as for Radio Times, Billboard, Music Week and many others. Sexton has made countless documentaries and shows for BBC Radio 2 and inflight programming for such airlines as Virgin Atlantic and Cathay Pacific. He contributes to Universal's uDiscoverMusic site and has compiled numerous sleeve notes for the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton and other major artists. He is the author of Prince: A Portrait of the Artist in Memories & Memorabilia and, in rare moments away from music, supports his local Sutton United FC and, inexplicably, Crewe Alexandra FC.