And welcome back for the sixth instalment of my guide to a record collection to make your friends jealous. Now we’ve entered the digital age, it’s becoming rarer for people to actually own a physical record or CD. It’s great for cutting down on storage (you can hear the designers at Ikea crying over their funky, stylish but practical drawing boards) but, let’s be honest, it’s screwing the record shops. The independents are all but gone, and even the bigger fish have suffered. Hands up who remembers Our Price?
The latest offering takes us back to the late Seventies…
The Specials by The Specials
Released in late 1979, this debut album by The Specials was produced by Elvis Costello and released on the 2 Tone label which is known for it’s Ska output including briefly Madness and other British Ska revival bands. Whilst not exactly ‘new’ music, it brought Jamaican Ska (dating back to the late fifties and into the sixties) to a fresh audience. With songs describing desolate, rough and tumble inner-city life, it appealed to a new breed of people – skinheads, mods and created the ‘Rude Boy’.
This album kicks off with ‘A Message To You Rudy’, a brass led romp that harks back to the Caribbean music that spawned this British genre. The other songs of note on this album are ‘Nite Klub’; ‘Too Much Too Young’, a song that should be played to all teenagers as a warning against youthful bedroom antics; ‘Stupid Marriage’ a tale of a man found guilty of smashing his ex-girlfriend’s window. The story is told using Judge Roughneck as a judge summarising the case, and Terry Hall as the defendant who explains his actions. The refrain of “Naked woman, naked man” runs through the song with variations. The song closes with the judge yelling “Take him away!”