Thursday, 5 November 2009

The Specials

Today’s commute CD helped me get over the disappointment of yesterday in The Specials self titled debut. For the shit Dammers produced on In The Studio, he redeems himself in spades on this album.
I am a late starter with The Specials, although my older brother and sister were big fans, as were their friends, it only rubbed off on me slightly as a 9 or 10 year old. My music taste was entrenched in Abba and The specials and their ilk were purely for the big kids. Not to say I wasn’t aware of them at the time and more so as I grew up, it was difficult in the early eighties not to go to a youth club and not listen to Ghost Town or Too Much Too Young.
Fast forward to a year or two ago, and am out looking for a new book and Horace Panters book catches my eye, at the end of it, as is often the case when I read a music biography, I felt the need to investigate further. Amazon were selling their albums cheap and so I bought their 2 studio albums, The Specials and More Specials.
The debut is part Dammers songwriting, part reggae and ska covers. The Dammers element is exceptional, lyrically amazing, musically fantastic. The band capture the time perfectly, utterly perfectly. This was released in 1979, the year Thatcher came to the throne, a time that was so completely grim. The Specials sing on New Era, “This aint exactly heaven” little did they know what was to come.

You’re Wondering Now is so damn forlorn, you wonder how they can possibly have the energy in their live show for which they became famous, but it isn’t a forlorn that has its head low, its in its own place, evoking something, not joy, not sadness, just something inbetween that isn’t ennui.

They take on other classics, extremely well known ska, reggae and blue beat anthems, I am certain raised eyebrows at the time of its release, but time has made them songs their own, be it A Message to You Rudy or Monkey Man, its difficult to hear the latter and think of Toots, and the former, for me, is the only version. That all said, my view of West Indian music is extremely limited.

So the album, as you will kind of expect was marvellous, very very good and in the pissing rain, traffic jam ridden roads it made me feel that my journey wasn’t a long one and really I could go once more round the block.

10 out of 10. Easily.

You’re wondering Now by The Specials

No comments:

Post a Comment