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Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!: Day 342 - The Specials

 BBC Sessions - The Specials
The Archive Series
Released 1998

I tried to find the UK version of The Singles Collection on You Tube but could only find the Canadian version. This version excludes the last track on the UK version (What I Like Most About You Is Your) Girlfriend. Apparently some UK versions are also the track and some versions of the album do not have Rude Boys Outta Jail and Maggie's Farm and have been replaced the tracks International Jet Set and War Crimes.

The Singles Collection - The Specials
Chrysalis (Canada)
Released 1991

1 Gangsters    
2 Rudi, A Message To You    
3 Nite Club    
4 Too Much Too Young (live)    
5 Guns Of Navarone (live)    
6 Rat Race    
7 Rude Boys Outta Jail    
8 Maggie's Farm    
9 Do Nothing    
10 Stereotype    
11 Ghost Town (12" Version)    
12 Why?    
13 Friday Night, Saturday Morning    
14 Racist Friend    
15 Free Nelson Mandela (Extended Version)
(UK Version went to #10 on the Album Chart)

Notes on Singles
The Special A.K.A. - Gangsters / The Selecter - The Selecter
March 1979
UK Chart #6

October 1979
UK Chart #10

January 1980
UK Chart #1

May 1980
UK Chart #5

Stereotype / International Jet Set
September 1980 
 UK Chart #6

December 1980
UK Chart #4

June 1981
UK Chart #1

August 1983
UK Chart #60

February 1984
UK Chart #9


Formed in 1977 The Coventry Automatics (not wanting to be confused with the band also called The Automatics who had signed with Island Records) got a real break when they were invited to play with The Clash during the On Parole Tour of 1978.

Their blend of Punk infused Ska set them apart from pretty much all of the bands doing the rounds at the time but in Birmingham and North London The Beat and Madness were also perfecting their sound that drew its inspiration from Ska and it seemed obvious at some point all of these bands along with fellow Coventry band The Selecter would join forces and be part of the Two Tone movement.

It's kind of strange listening to these two albums today in the light of the current political climate with the rising once again of the Facism in the UK and beyond. You almost get the impression we have been caught up in some kind of Time Space Continuum that has hurled us all back to the late 1970s when the National Front were running riot everywhere and groups like Rock Against Racism and the Anti-Nazi League were gathering forces against them! The attitudes of the whole Two Tone movement came down on the side of fighting against such thuggery despite the concerts being disrupted by the Bulldog Breed and violence toward any who disagreed with them!

More than ever we need to get back to a place where we do not discriminate against people because of their colour or their place of birth and even their religion. The recent vote in the UK to pull out of Europe was built on the divise rhetoric of facist beliefs and even the election of Trump in the USA - supported by the Ku Klux Klan - should cause us all to be just a little bit more worried about these issues.

Whilst hate crimes and racism abound in our society we should not be just giving up and letting it happen as if it is the "new norm". History is on the side of those who rise up against the neo-nazis, alt-right or whatever disguises and banners they go under today.

The music of The Specials to me is a reminder that, to use the words of an old Men They Couldn't Hang song, "with courage we can beat the black shirts down".

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!
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