Jukebox Classics: #6 The Specials

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.

Title Band
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
Jezebel Frankie Laine
Dirty Old Town Ewan MacColl
Maggie’s Farm Bob Dylan
Enjoy Yourself (It’s Later Than You Think) Guy Lombardo
Al Capone Prince Buster
Hypocrite The Heptones
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
Soldering Desmond Dekker
Guns Of Navarone The Skatalites
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