The Specials – live at the legendary Paradiso in Amsterdam this weekend. From a concert recorded by the venerable VPRO on January 21, 1980.
Since it’s after Christmas, and since everyone is no doubt probably feeling sluggish from the festivities and Fruitcake, it’s time to pick the pace up a bit with something high-voltage and high-energy.
And let’s face it; who better to do that than getting an hours worth of non-stop turbo-charged Ska from the inimitable Specials? Right?
One of the flagship bands of the Ska/Bluebeat movement from the late 1970s, The Specials were one of many artists, mostly under the banner of the Two-Tone Records label, who changed the face of Pop Music, and along with Punk, gave it a much needed shot in the arm and an energy boost.
Though steeped in Reggae and the offshoot Bluebeat, The Specials had a rich catalog of music to draw from, but they were also talented writers on their own – and once the Ska craze ebbed, in the mid-80s, they were still able to keep the momentum going and extend on it, even after co-founders Terry Hall, Lynval Golding and Neville Staple left in 1981 to form Fun Boy Three. The band continued and evolved into a more politically-themed band, with songs about unemployment and unrest reaching a large audience. One of their biggest hits was Ghost Town. They eventually broke up in 1984, with members going off in other directions and taking up different causes and pursuits.
However, in 1993, they re-united and have been going strong ever since.
Further evidence you can’t keep a good thing down.
This weekend it’s The Specials during the peak of their popularity on a worldwide basis. This concert from Amsterdam is one of the excellent early examples of why the band were so popular from the beginning – and why they are still fresh today.
Crank it up and get moving!