The Specials; heirs to the musical lineage of The Small Faces, The Sex Pistols and The Jam. Commercially successful bands but with more of an impact on a generation than record sales alone bring.
They had the edge which elevates bands from being familiar through airplay; they tapped into the zeitgeist and crucially, didn’t hang around too long.
The early 1980s were a horrible time in Britain; Thatcher’s philosophy of destroying communities and making the country selfish, was beginning to bite even in the relatively simple suburban life I enjoyed. The Specials captured the problems of race, poverty and boredom far better than anyone else; their discography is a soundtrack of a generation.
They are on the list of bands I wish I’d seen in their prime; the Nottingham 2014 gig I caught was excellent; this video captures the energy that night.
And there’s nothing narrow about their inspiration. Heavily loaded with ska, their influences reeled in a wide range of styles from the 50s onwards. It’s a fine compilation as the backdrop to a gloomy afternoon. The other posts in this series can be found here.
|The Liquidator||Harry J Allstars|
|Pressure Drop||Toots & The Maytals|
|007 (Shanty Town)||Desmond Dekker & The Aces|
|Can Your Monkey Do The Dog||Rufus Thomas|
|Dancing Mood||The Tams|
|A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You||The Monkees|
|Rudy, A Message To You||Dandy Livingstone|
|I Don’t Want to See You Cry||Ken Boothe|
|Maga Dog||Peter Tosh|
|Carry Go Bring Home||Justin Hinds & The Dominoes|
|Dirty Old Town||Ewan MacColl|
|Maggie’s Farm||Bob Dylan|
|Enjoy Yourself (It’s Later Than You Think)||Guy Lombardo|
|Al Capone||Prince Buster|
|Memphis Underground||Herbie Mann|
|Monkey Man||Toots & The Maytals|
|The Time Has Come||Slim Smith|
|King of Ska||Desmond Dekker & The Cherry Pies|
|Simmer Down||Bob Marley & The Wailers|
|Sock It To ‘Em J.B.||Rex Garvin & The Mighty Cravers|
|You Don’t Know Like I Know||Sam & Dave|
|Somebody Got Murdered||The Clash|
|Take Five||The Dave Brubeck Quartet|
|Too Hot||Prince Buster|
|Birth Control||Lloyd Terrell|
|You’re Wondering Now||Andy and Joey|
|Guns Of Navarone||The Skatalites|