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The Inmates were formed in North London in 1977 and soon established themselves as one of the capital’s most popular live groups. Their influences included The Animals, The Pretty Things and The Rolling Stones. They arrived at the tail end of the pub-rock movement, but still managed to find success with their mix of originals and covers of classic R&B and Rock & Roll tunes. Of the latter, a version of the Standells' "Dirty Water," included on the band's 1979 debut First Offence, became a hit on both sides of the Atlantic. Capitalising on chart success throughout Europe & North America, the early Eighties saw the band confirm their international status.
Bill Hurley left The Inmates in 1983 through illness and was replaced by long-time friend Barrie Masters from Eddie And The Hot Rods. In 1985 Barrie departed to reform the Hot Rods and Bill Hurley, fresh from the success of his solo album " Double Agent ", returned to his old position, centre stage. In 1987, the leading French newspaper Liberation decided to organise a special concert in Paris as part of the Sgt Pepper 20th anniversary and set their choice on The Inmates as the band who would perform an entire concert of Beatles songs. The resulting live album rapidly acquired a cult status throughout Europe.
"Fast Forward" followed in 1989 and was the last album to be produced by top English producer Vic Maile (Motorhead, Dr Feelgood, Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac, Guns n’ Roses, Hawkwind, Girlschool, The Dogs, Vibrators…) who played a significant part to the distinctive sound of The Inmates through the years. The album also features Dr Feelgood’s guitarist Gypie Mayo on Robert Cray’s "Bad Influence".
"Fast Forward" contains such stage classics as "Caroline", "Move On" and "Dangerous Love", with most tracks written by lead guitarist Peter Gunn and a few well-chosen covers for good measure. Despite their capability to write excellent original material, The Inmates have never been afraid to experiment with cover versions and make them sound as their own songs. "Sweet Nuthin’s" and "Goodbye So Long" are shining examples of the band’s ability to pick songs and make them into energy-fuelled R&B while still paying respect to the original. The remastered version features three previously unreleased live tracks, including a marathon version of their classic "(I Thought I Heard A) Heartbeat", a reminder of the band ‘s infectious garage rock and soul energy on stage.
Thanks to Bill Hurley's fine vocals ("The best British singer" – Robert Plant) and Peter Staines blistering guitar work, The Inmates often excel other bands who play "traditional" Rock & Roll, simply because the band is able to give their songs and live act that extra something. The rhythm section of Ben Donnelly and Eddie (also from The Vibrators) together with Tony Oliver’s killer rhythm guitar provide an unmistakable punky R&B drive.