Wednesday, August 28, 2019


The almost-always in flux Specials surprisingly continue, now dwindled down to three original members: Terry Hall on vocals, Lynval Golding on guitar and vocals, and bass player Horace Panter. They've done lots of touring in these reunion years, but little recording. It's the first studio album since 2001 to bear the name. It turns out they had some pretty good ideas saved up.

Wisely the band sticks to what got them recognized way back in the ska revival of the late '70's, political lyrics with fun music. Race is still just as volatile a topic, and most of the tracks revolve around that, from this still multi-racial group. "B.L.M." is Golding's story, telling of the racism his father faced in England when he emigrated, and that the same happened to him over the decades both in the U.K. and U.S. The message, finally is Black Lives Matter. Hall weighs in with some smart covers, such as The Equals' "Black Skin Blue-Eyed Boys," and takes on the craziness of guns on :Blam Blam Fever," first done by The Valentines in 1967, now updated with some contemporary statistics from the States.  I also love that Hall and Golding brought back their old Fun Boy Three cut "The Lunatics (Have Taken Over The Asylum)," in these Brexit/Boris times.

To sweeten the pot, there's a bonus disc included, a life concert of the current band, featuring several of the old faves, such as "Monkey Man," "A Message To You, Rudy," and "Too Much, Too Young." They still pack a live punch, and the band certainly has more to offer, even down to three.

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