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Classic Albums

CA28 The Specials – Self-Titled

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It’s time for another Classic Album series podcast, and this week Steve and Remfry don their pork pie hats and skank back to Britain in the late 1970’s to examine the birth of Two Tone as we look at the 1979 self-titled debut album from Coventry’s ska revivalists The Specials.

We look at the genesis of ska, from its earliest incarnation in the Carribean, before the Windrush generation brought it to the nascent punk scene in Great Britain, leading to the merging of the two styles to create an entirely new genre, almost singularly based on the integration of both black and white culture working together for a united cause.

We also look at the political climate that was building at that time, as the far right National Front party and its ideological opposite, the Rock Against Racism movement, both rose to prominence, creating a tense, divisive and explosive climate in the country, all of which was keenly reflected in the music of The Specials. 

We look at every track on the record, the creation of the Two Tone label that sparked the second wave of ska in the United Kingdom, the aftermath of that success leading to the dissolution of The Specials, mainly due to creative tensions between mastermind Jerry Dammers and the rest of his band, and, of course, the original lineups swansong hit Ghost Town, a song which defined a moment, a time, a place, a generation and a political climate more perfectly and succinctly than maybe any other number one hit single in chart history. 

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