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THE SPECIALS

The Specials

More Specials - 2024 Repress

    The Specials were formed in Coventry in 1977. True innovators, the band began the British ska revival craze, combining the highly danceable ska and rocksteady beat with punk’s energy and attitude.

    The band’s second album ‘More Specials’ (UK No.5, 1980) was a change in musical direction to their debut. Less frenzied and hard-hitting, it was more musically adventurous and varied, bleaker lyrics reflecting British life at the time.

    This album has been digitally remastered from the original analogue stereo masters and the new vinyl cuts have been made using those new masters. Careful comparison was made to the first pressed copies of the original albums throughout the process to maintain the sound as the band had originally envisaged.

    The album features a classic cover of Carl Sigman and Conrad Magidson's 1940s chestnut ‘Enjoy Yourself’ and a brooding version of the same song featuring the Go-Go's.

    Includes: the rhythm & blues / 60s soul-style instrumental ‘Sock It to 'Em JB’ and the Mexican-flavoured ‘Holiday Fortnight’; the intriguing ‘International Jet Set’; the apocalyptic ‘Man at C&A’; the mournful, spaghetti western feel of ‘Stereotypes’; the emotional despair of ‘Do Nothing’ and the bright and breezy ‘Hey, Little Rich Girl’ (with fabulous sax solos from Madness' Lee Thompson).

    The immortal line from ‘Pearl's Cafe’ by Terry Hall and Bodysnatchers' Rhoda Dakar, sums up their own, and the country's frustration - ‘It's all a load of bollocks, and bollocks to it all’.

    TRACK LISTING

    Enjoy Yourself
    Man At C&A
    Hey, Little Rich Girl
    Do Nothing
    Pearl's Cafe
    Sock It To 'em JB
    Stereotypes / Stereotypes - Pt.2
    Holiday Fortnight
    I Can't Stand It
    International Jet Set
    Enjoy Yourself (Reprise)

    Niney The Observer

    At King Tubby’s Dub Plate Specials 1973-1975 - 2022 Reissue

    Winston ‘Niney’ Holness, A.K.A. The Observer must be one of reggae’s finest Roots Rebel producers. Capable of making some of the heaviest, innovative music, not only in sound but also in the cultural / political sense. Born George Boswell, Montego Bay, Jamaica,1951, and name checked ’Niney’, due to losing a thumb in a workshop accident, he began his career in music by organising bands to play at school dances. But his first steps learning the musical ropes came working under the tutor ledge of producer Bunny Lee around 1967, organising sessions for Bunny’s stable of artists. He moved on to work alongside Lee Perry at Joe Gibb’s ‘Amalgamated’ label setup, where on Lee Perry’s leaving in 1969 to start his own ‘Upsetter’ label, Niney became chief engineer.

    Inspired by Perry’s success it wasn't long before his own ‘Destroyer’ label was under way. It was 1970, and his first production entitled ‘Mr Brown’ by DJ’s Dennis Alcapone and Lizzy, proved to be a minor hit, but his own ‘Blood and Fire’ track released in December of that year would become a major hit. After initial problems with it’s likeness to Bob Marley’s ‘Duppy Conqueror’, being ironed out, it’s reissue on his now named ‘Observer’ label, saw it go on to become, Jamaican Record of the Year 1971. Far out selling Bob Marley’s track to the tune of over 30,000 copies in Jamaica alone. A roots classic...

    Niney's reputation for building great roots tracks, was furthered with more success working with singer Max Romeo. Issuing cuts such as 'Beard man Feast', the great 'Reggae Matic' and 'Aily and Ailaloo' and renewing his relationship with Lee Perry on the track 'Rasta Band Wagon' who's production credit read Perry, Niney, Maxie. In 1973, Niney began working with Dennis Brown, who was already an established star from an early age, they found a chemistry that went on to produce some of Dennis's finest work.The 1973 hit 'Westbound Train' was followed in 1974 by 'Cassandra', 'I am the Conqueror' and the timeless 'No more shall I Roam'.Another important connection around this time was the great King Tubby who Niney would take his tapes along to and even record some of his tracks at Tubby's house, 18 Drummlie Avenue, Kingston, which doubled as his Studio of Dub.

    It's these tracks that we are concentrating on here, Tubby would strip the tracks back to the bone and rebuild them sometimes leaving off the hook line. Weather that be the horn line or keyboard line and adding effects over the top that could disguise the cut even more. Even Niney stating that when Tubby had finished witWinston Niney Holness aka The Observer must be one of reggae’s finest producers. Capable of making some of the heaviest, innovative music, not only in sound but also in the cultural / political sense. Born George Boswell, Montego Bay, Jamaica,1951, and name checked ’Niney’, due to losing a thumb in a workshop accident, his first steps learning the musical ropes came working under the tutorage of producer Bunny Lee around 1967, organizing sessions for Bunny’s stable of artists. He moved on to work alongside Lee Perry at Joe Gibb’s Amalgamated label, where on Lee Perry’s leaving in 1969 to start his own Upsetter label, Niney became chief engineer.

    Inspired by Perry’s success it wasn't long before his own Destroyer label was under way. It was 1970, and his first production entitled “Mr Brown” by DJ’s Dennis Alcapone and Lizzy, proved to be a minor hit, but his own “Blood and Fire” track released later that year would become a major hit. After initial problems with it’s likeness to Bob Marley’s “Duppy Conqueror”, being ironed out, its reissue on his now named Observer label, saw it go on to become Jamaican Record of the Year 1971. Far out selling Bob Marley’s track to the tune of over 30,000 copies in Jamaica alone. A roots classic...

    Niney's reputation for building great roots tracks was furthered with more success working with singer Max Romeo. Issuing cuts such as “Beard Man Feast', the great “Reggae Matic” and “Aily and Ailaloo” and renewing his relationship with Lee Perry on the track “Rasta Band Wagon” who's production credit read Perry, Niney, Maxie. In 1973, Niney began working with Dennis Brown, who was already an established star from an early age, they found a chemistry that went on to produce some of Dennis's finest work. The 1973 hit “Westbound Train” was followed in 1974 by “Cassandra”, “I am the Conqueror” and the timeless “No More Shall I Roam”. Another important connection around this time was the great King Tubby who Niney would take his tapes along to and even record some of his tracks at Tubby's house, 18 Drummlie Avenue, Kingston, which doubled as his Studio of Dub.

    It's these tracks that we are concentrating on here, Tubby would strip the tracks back to the bone and rebuild them sometimes leaving off the hook line. Weather that be the horn line or keyboard line and adding effects over the top that could disguise the cut even more. Even Niney stating that when Tubby had finished with a cut, he found it hard to recognize the track himself. It's these tracks as dub plate specials that Tubby would play on his Hometown HI - FI Sound System and it's these such tracks that have been compiled for this release. DJ, Arranger, Producer, his Roots Rebel Music still stands the test of time.
    h a cut, he found it hard to recognise the track himself.

    It's these tracks as dub plate specials that Tubby would play on his Hometown HI - FI Sound System and it's these such tracks that we have compiled for this release. Dub Plates that have not seen the light of day since tragically the great Osbourne Ruddock A.K.A. King Tubby was gunned down and murdered on the 06th of December 1989. For a few dollars and a gold chain, reggae music has lost one of its most inventive, creative forces.

    Niney also cut tracks with many other reggae giants, Gregory Issac's, Michael Rose, Junior Delgado, Horace Andy, Delroy Wilson to name but a few. As in house producer at the legendary Channel studios and supervising sessions at Dynamic and Randy's Studio17, his magic touched many. DJ, Arranger, Producer, his Roots Rebel Music still stands the test of time.


    STAFF COMMENTS

    Matt says: Considering their age, Niney's dubs still boom hard through any modern soundsystem. One of the darkest and heaviest producers of the wave first!

    TRACK LISTING

    1 Set Dub Free
    2 Lately Dub
    3 Dub With Tubby
    4 Dub Exclusive
    5 In Love With Dub
    6 No More Dub
    7 Here Comes Dub
    8 Tenement Dub
    9 Swallow Field & Dub
    10 Dubbing With Sally
    11 Dark Side Of Dub
    12 Dub In Silver
    13 Truthful Dub*
    14 Dub Born Here*
    *CD Bonus Tracks

    The Specials

    Protest Songs 1924 - 2012

      The Specials who enjoyed a triumphant 2019 with the release of the critically acclaimed “Encore”, their first ever number 1 album, coming 40 years after they exploded onto the music scene and launched the 2 Tone movement, make a very timely return with the release of their brand new album “Protest Songs – 1924 -2012”. Released on August 27th through their new label Island Records, the album features twelve singular takes on specially chosen protest songs across an almost 100-year span and shows The Specials still care, are still protesting and are still pissed off!

      The Specials emerged in the late 1970s as the multiracial flagship of the 2 Tone movement, and sang of racism, unemployment and injustice making a very clear political statement every time they stepped on stage. It's fitting, then, that in 2021, at a time when the world is riven with social, racial and political unrest, that the Specials have made this album of Protest Songs and are once again reflecting the society we live in and taking a stand against all forms of injustice. A typically unpredictable collection of unique takes from folk to post-punk, righteous uplift to biting satire, and from Kingston to Alabama, the album is a powerful reminder that there are no fixed rules to what makes a protest song. All that’s required is the combination of something that needs to be said with music that needs to be heard. “People have been using music as a vehicle for protest since time immemorial,” says bass-player Horace Panter. “Injustice is timeless.”

      In February 2020, Horace, Terry, Lynval and co-producer Nikolaj Torp Larsen gathered to begin work on a reggae record, the follow up to Encore. Then Covid hit and plans were put on hold. During the first lockdown and following the murder of George Floyd and the waves of protest that grew around the world, Terry suggested that they make a different kind of record as a response to recent events.

      The trio started by picking some personal favourites. The Mothers of Invention’s Trouble Every Day (Horace), Leonard Cohen’s Everybody Knows (Terry) while Lynval was keen to sing Bob Marley’s classic rebel song Get Up, Stand Up. Other favourites included Talking Heads’ Listening Wind and “Trouble Every Day” which was about the Watts riots in 1965. Spending months combing YouTube and books for songs they had never heard before, they discovered or rediscovered Big Bill Broonzy’s angry 1938 blues Black, Brown and White and the Staple Singers’ stirring Freedom Highway, written for the marches from Selma to Montgomery in 1965. The Dixie Jubilee Singers first recorded the spiritual Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Us Around in 1924 but it was the civil rights movement that tweaked the lyrics and made it an anthem. Soldiers Who Want to Be Heroes is another example of a song that found its true calling after the fact. Written by the poet Rod McKuen in 1963, it was rerecorded three years later, during the dog days of the Vietnam war.

      Folk singer Malvina Reynolds, best known for Little Boxes, provides two spiky odes to the contributions of ordinary people: I Live in a City and I Don’t Mind Failing in This World: And because the Specials have always had a taste for black comedy, they’ve chosen two songs by bluesman Jerry McCain (My Next Door Neighbor) and Wild Thing writer Chip Taylor (Fuck All the Perfect People). “Terry said, ‘I’ve found this song, listen to this,’” Horace remembers. “We all sat there open-mouthed.”

      The album was recorded in a studio in West London in May of this year with regular bandmates Nikolaj Torp Larsen on keyboards, Kenrick Rowe on drums and Steve Cradock on guitar. Hannah Hu, a young singer from Bradford, fronts Listening Wind and sings back-up on Freedom Highway and Everybody Knows.

      The Specials remain one of the most electrifying, influential and important bands of all time and this new record and the success of Encore proves that they are every bit as relevant and vital as they were in 1979.

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Barry says: As far as ska bands go, there is very little doubt that The Specials are one of the most legendary around, and this excellent collection sees them revisit a number of protest songs written throughout the years in their own inimitable style. Unsurprisingly well done, and full of the sort of playful groove The Specials do so well.

      The Specials

      Ghost Town - 40th Anniversary Half Speed Master

        THE SPECIALS are one of the defining bands of the late 70’s/early 80’s along with Jerry Dammers iconic label Two Tone Records. They combined Jamaican ska and Rocksteady mixed with the energy of punk and launched a whole Ska Revival which paved the way for fellow likeminded bands Madness, The Beat and The Selecter to release their first singles.

        Having had seven top 10 singles and two Gold albums over the course of two years, the band released Jerry Dammers’ Ghost Town in June 1981, backed by Lynval Goldings’ Why? and the Terry Hall penned Friday Night Saturday Morning. The beginnings of the song were written around the closure of the Larcano dancehall in Coventry, but also reflecting what was happening in other towns and cities with urban decay, unemployment and ongoing racial tensions of the period. Themes which are still relevant today.

        The single, which was recently voted the second greatest UK single of all time by Alexis Petridis in the Guardian, reached Number One in the UK singles charts and stayed there for a further 3 weeks, becoming one of the biggest selling singles of 1981 and has remained one of the classic UK singles of all.

        This 40th Anniversary Edition has been mastered and cut at half-speed by Miles Showell at Abbey Road Studios using the original production tapes for optimum audio quality.

        STAFF COMMENTS

        Barry says: There's no denying that 'Ghost Town' is one of the most well known singles from one of the greatest Ska bands of all time, and what better way to hear it than on this brand new half-speed mastered definitive pressing? Essential purchase.

        TRACK LISTING

        7" TRACK LISTING
        Side A
        1. Ghost Town (Single Version)
        Side B
        1. Why? (Edit)
        2. Friday Night, Saturday Morning

        12" TRACK LISTING
        Side A
        1. Ghost Town (Extended Version)
        2. Why? (Extended Version)
        Side B
        1. Friday Night, Saturday Morning

        Everything Is Recorded & CLIPZ

        Saturday Specials: The CLIPZ Remixes Vol. 3

        “Saturday Specials” sees the legendary Bristol drum & bass don Clipz remixing Everything Is Recorded’s acclaimed second album “Friday Forever” in its entirety. Clipz’s first album length project, split here across three volumes; and at first a strange but ultimately rewarding hybrid of the two artists’ involved styles. This third and final set of club ready remakes features the talents of Everything Is Recorded collaborators Infinite Coles & Berwyn.

        Swerving between adderol-fuelled, agro-jungle and smoother-edged, mainroom rollers, it's another perfectly curated and classy display of everyone involved's unique take on modern dnb. Winner!



        TRACK LISTING

        1. Walk Alone - Everything Is Recorded & CLIPZ Feat. Infinite Coles, Berwyn
        2. Dream I Never Had - Everything Is Recorded & CLIPZ
        3. The Night - Everything Is Recorded & CLIPZ Feat. Berwyn

        Everything Is Recorded & CLIPZ

        Saturday Specials: The CLIPZ Remixes Vol. 1

          SATURDAY SPECIALS sees the legendary Bristol drum & bass don CLIPZ remixing Everything Is Recorded’s acclaimed second album Friday Forever in its entirety. SATURDAY SPECIALS is CLIPZ’s first album length project and is a drum & bass masterpiece, split across three 12” vinyl editions. This first 12" of bass heavy reworks features Maria Somerville, Infinite Coles, A.K. Paul and Berwyn.


          TRACK LISTING

          1. This World - Everything Is Recorded & CLIPZ Feat. Maria Somerville, Infinite Coles
          2. Caviar - Everything Is Recorded & CLIPZ Feat. Infinite Coles
          3. Burnt Toast - Everything Is Recorded & CLIPZ Feat. A. K. Paul, Berwyn

          The Specials

          More Specials - 40th Anniversary Half-Speed Master Edition

            The second album from The Specials, originally released 1980, moved away slightly from the frenetic ska infused energy of their debut, exploring more varied musical styles. Lyrically it paints a bleaky realistic picture of Britain at the time. 40 years on, it still stand up as one of the best albums of the era.

            This 40th Anniversary Edition has been mastered and cut at half-speed by Miles Showell at Abbey Road Studios using the original production tapes.

            For this edition, the album has been split across 2x 12” vinyl running at 45rpm for optimum audio quality.

            Also include is a bonus 7” single, also cut at half-speed, which originally came with the initial run of the album in 1980.

            Last year The Specials celebrated a UK Number One with a new album, ‘Encore’ and concluded a 40th Anniversary World Tour. 


            TRACK LISTING

            Enjoy Yourself (It's Later Than You Think)
            Man At C & A
            Hey, Little Rich Girl
            Do Nothing
            Pearl's Cafe
            Sock It To 'Em J.B.
            Stereotypes / Stereotypes Pt.2
            Holiday Fortnight
            I Can't Stand It
            International Jet Set
            Enjoy Yourself (Reprise)

            7"
            Braggin' & Tryin' Not To Lie
            Rude Boys Outa Jail [Version] 

            The Star Beams

            Play Disco Specials

              Play Disco Specials’ was produced by Ray Nkwe who also worked with Mankunku Quartet and The Soul Jazzmen, with all writing credits on the album going to Ray, the recording credited to engineer Robin Ritchie and the artwork to Carol Knowles.

              The Star Beams album is a bit of an enigma. When we first came across their epic dance-floor monster ‘Disco Stomp’ it was on a Disco Calypso compilation, so we assumed it originated from the Caribbean. Years later we worked out how wrong we were and that this nugget was actually from South Africa and taken off an ultra scarce album on JAS Pride records from 1976. The next problem was tracking down an original copy and we don’t think we’ve ever seen our Bongo team member Gary Johnson as happy as the day he turned up clutching a copy under his arm.

              Aside from the disco-jazz-funk of ‘Disco Stomp’, which has found it’s way into the DJ sets of Theo Parrish, ‘Play Disco Specials’ will appeal to fans of The Star Beams South African contemporaries The Drive, Batsumi and Pacific Express.

              TRACK LISTING

              We Did It
              Disco Stomp
              Barney’s Moaning
              G.G. Is Talking

              The Specials

              Specials - 40th Anniversary Half-Speed Master Edition

                This 40th Anniversary Edition of their debut album ‘Specials’ has been mastered and cut at half-speed by Miles Showell at Abbey Road Studios using the original production tapes.

                This edition has been split across 2x 12” vinyl at 45rpm for optimum audio quality.

                The Specials are one of the defining bands of the late 70’s/early 80’s along with Jerry Dammers’ iconic label Two Tone Records. Originally formed in 1977 as The Coventry Automatics, The Specials combined Jamaican ska and Rocksteady mixed with the energy of punk and launched a whole Ska Revival which helped fellow like-minded bands Madness, The Beat and The Selecter to release their first singles. The Specials first single, ‘Gangsters’, was released in May 1979 with independent distribution by Rough Trade and the initial pressing of just 5,000 records sold out. The band and label soon signed with Chrysalis Records who picked up on the release of ‘Gangsters.’ The next single, ‘A Message To You Rudy’, followed in September with their first album released soon after in October. 

                The Specials, one of the most electrifying, influential and important bands of all time, release “Encore”, their first new music for 37 years.

                2019 marks the 40th anniversary of the formation of The Specials and the legendary Two-Tone label in Coventry in 1979, and also marks 10 years since the band reformed to play some of the most vital and joyous live shows in recent memory.

                The 10-song “Encore” was produced by Specials founding members Terry Hall, Lynval Golding and Horace Panter alongside Danish musician/producer Torp Larsen and indeed is the first time Hall, Golding & Panter have recorded new material together since the band’s 1981 No.1 single Ghost Town.



                TRACK LISTING

                CD1
                Black Skin Blue Eyed Boys
                B.L.M.
                Vote For Me
                The Lunatics Have Taken Over The Asylum
                Breaking Point
                Blam Blam Fever
                The Ten Commandments
                Embarrassed By You
                The Life And Times Of A Man Called Depression
                We Sell Hope

                CD2
                The Best Of The Specials Live – Tracklisting TBC

                LP Tracklisting
                Side One
                Black Skin Blue Eyed Boys
                B.L.M.
                Vote For Me
                The Lunatics Have Taken Over The Asylum
                Breaking Point

                Side Two
                Blam Blam Fever
                The Ten Commandments
                Embarrassed By You
                The Life And Times Of A Man Called Depression
                We Sell Hope


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