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The Best of the Specials (Remastered)

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iTunes Review

The Best of The Specials makes good on its title with a sprawling 20-song collection of cherry-picked songs from Coventry, England’s most adored ska and rude-boy revivalists. Culled from The Specials' early singles and first three records—The Specials, More Specials, and In the Studio, when they renamed themselves The Special A.K.A.—this compilation is sequenced chronologically, leaning heavily on album singles and essential songs. It opens with The Specials' debut 1979 single, “Gangsters”: a new wave–tinged slice of post-punk ska that borrowed from the 1965 Prince Buster song “Al Capone.” The Specials also played Dandy Livingstone’s “A Message to You Rudy” pretty closely to the original before adding in “Nite Klub,” an original tune that blended punk, ska, rockabilly, and reggae under lyrics that humorously bemoan having to attend the same dive bars and seedy clubs when there’s nothing else to do. “Man at C&A,” from The Specials' second album, best exemplifies how vintage spy-movie soundtracks seeped into their sound, while “Why? and “Racist Friend” touch on skinheads infiltrating their scene.

Customer Reviews

Essential Specials

This is a great outline of the Specials best years. From the Ska days to the more experimental ska/reggae style to the girl group influenced political lovers rock. Also, the mastering on these songs sound WAY better than the ones on the actual albums. Definitely better than the Stero-Type compilation. Highly recommended.




Formed: 1977 in Coventry, England

Genre: Reggae

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

True innovators of the punk era, the Specials began the British ska revival craze, combining the highly danceable ska and rocksteady beat with punk's energy and attitude, and taking on a more focused and informed political and social stance than their predecessors and peers. The band was originally formed in Coventry, in 1977, as the Coventry Automatics and later the Special A.K.A. by songwriter/keyboardist Jerry Dammers, with Terry Hall (vocals), Lynval Golding (guitar, vocals), Neville Staples...
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