Specials

~ Release group by The Specials

Album

Release Format Tracks Date Country Label Catalog# Barcode
Official
Specials 12" Vinyl 14 Two-Tone Records CDL TT 5001 [none]
Specials 12" Vinyl 15 Chrysalis, Phonogram 6307 687
Specials 12" Vinyl 15 Chrysalis 6307687 [none]
Specials 12" Vinyl 15 Ariola 202 685
The Specials 12" Vinyl 15 Chrysalis CHR 1265 075585126513
Specials CD 14 Chrysalis CCD 5001 5013136126525
Specials CD 15 Chrysalis 1C 538-3 25001 2 094632500120
The Specials CD 15 Chrysalis DIDX 1537, F2 21265 094632126528
The Specials CD 15 Chrysalis VK 41265 044114126522
Specials CD 14 Two-Tone Records 7243 5 37697 0 3 724353769703
Specials Enhanced CD 14 Chrysalis 7243 5 37697 0 3 724353769703
Specials 2×CD 15 + 14 Two-Tone Records CDLTTR 5001 0825646336081
Specials Digital Media 15 Parlophone XWAR43948F96
(unknown)
Specials (opaque blue jewel case) CD 14 Chrysalis CCD 5001

Relationships

part of: Uncut: The 100 Greatest Debut Albums (2006) (number: 20)
Allmusic: http://www.allmusic.com/album/mw0000197002 [info]
Discogs: https://www.discogs.com/master/8179 [info]
Wikidata: Q1090708 [info]
Wikipedia: en: The Specials (album) [info]
other databases: http://www.musik-sammler.de/album/76409 [info]
https://rateyourmusic.com/release/album/the-specials/specials-2/ [info]
reviews: http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/reviews/vxbd [info]

CritiqueBrainz Reviews

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Most Recent

To understand the impact of this spearhead of the ska revival on early Thatcherite Britain you have to imagine something so left field and yet so apt occurring today. It was as if depression-era dustbowl ballads suddenly became hip again in this era of global economic meltdown. Hardly anyone would have predicted that a musical form so tied to its Afro-Carribean heritage (as well as its less cool skinhead connections) could, almost overnight, become the trendiest thing across the nation.

What's more, The Specials' combination of pre-reggae sounds with punk attitude was also a decidely non-Londoncentric movement. Two Tone (as it quickly came to be known, named for the band's label) was born on the streets of the West Midlands. And even though it also gave rise to the Camden nutty boys, Madness, it was bands like the Beat and Selector who had really seen the effects of mass unemployment and civil unrest on their neighbourhoods.

This amalgamation of styles was clear from the band's personnel: guitarist Roddy Radiation had been a big punk name around Coventry, guest trombonist Rico had played on some of the original bluebeat numbers they adopted, while Terry Hall had been a bored youngster, filling in his time behind the singles counter of the local Virgin record store. This was all put together under the gap-tooth gaze of vicar's son and organist Jerry Damners. Growing up in multi-racial Coventry had taught him as much about skinhead culture as rock 'n' roll.

This first album was produced by another (then) angry young man, Elvis Costello who kept the rawness of their club heritage intact. It reflected their setlist of ska standards (Monkey Man, A Message To You Rudy, You're Wondering Now) with social commentary (Too Much Too Young, Nite Klub).

It was a classic example of a band making an almost perfect first album, acting as both a mission statement (the rise of right wing groups opposed by the message of Two Tone equality) and as an alternative way to have fun without having to pogo or spit. John Bradbury's rimshots propel the numbers and Hall's deadpan delivery accurately soundtracks the disaffection of a generation. The Specials remains a snapshot of a bleaker time, and a wrily comical antidote to political and cultural indifference anywhere.