Album #453 – The Specials

Album #453

The debut album by the Specials is a great way to end off the 1970’s. Produced by Elvis Costello, you can tell this group were having fun in the studio. The Specials were one of the first groups to embody the 2 tone sound. As you can see, the band was comprised of Black and White members which is a key element of the 2 tone movement. It was a positive thing at a time when racial divide was happening in the UK. The Specials have always been a political band but, they combine that with their influences to create a unique sound. Many of the songs on their debut are covers of old reggae songs from Toots & The Maytalls, The Skatallites and Prince Buster. Rude boys are the target of many of the tracks, with the Specials calling out their bad behavior. They used humor to diffuse what could be a tense situation. There’s also a bit of experimental effects on some of the tracks, which don’t take away from the music and make the album fun to listen to. Because of the Specials, other bands with black and white members would form at the same time. Without the Specials’ early success, there would be NO English Beat, Haircut One Hundred, General Public or Fine Young Cannibals. In fact, when the Specials split up in the early 80’s, lead singer Terry Hall continued in a mixed race group called Fun Boy Three. The Specials proved that Blacks and whites could not only work together but also share influences and music together. Highlights include: A Message to You, Rudy, Concrete Jungle, Too Hot, Monkey Man, Blank Expression, Too Much Too Young and Little Bitch. Overall, I give The Specials, 4.5 out of 5.

Next: A look back at the 1970’s

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