Thursday, April 6, 2017

The Specials / Interview (12/08/1981)


THE POP LIFE

By ROBERT PALMER
August 12, 1981, Wednesday

DURING the worst weeks of the inner-city rioting that flared up in Britain last month, that country's number one single was ''Ghost Town,'' an eerily prophetic song by the Specials. ''Why must the youth fight against themselves?'' the Specials asked, and they provided an answer: ''Government leaving the youth on the shelf. No job to be found in this country / Can't go on no more, people getting angry / This town is coming like a ghost town.'' (Plangent Visions Music, Ascap). Tonight, the Specials are playing at the Dr Pepper Festival on Pier 84, 12th Avenue and 46th Street. They flew into town earlier this week to finish planning a brief American tour that will take them across the country to Los Angeles and back again for a second New York performance at the Ritz on Tuesday, Aug. 25. On Monday, the three of them (there are seven in all) sat down to talk. ''When we recorded 'Ghost Town,' we were talking about last year's riots in Bristol and Brixton,'' said Terry Hall, one of the group's lead vocalists. ''The fact that it became popular when it did was just a weird coincidence.''

Nevertheless, the Specials, a multiracial band that has played numerous benefit concerts for antiracist and antinuclear organizations and recently performed in Britain to aid the Right to Work march protesting unemployment, have always been a cause-oriented group. ''Because we are multiracial, we want to see people live together the same way we work on our music,'' said Lynval Golding, the group's black rhythm guitarist and vocalist. ''Issues like racism and unemployment can't be pushed aside. One reason we aided the Right to Work march was that one in ten people in Britain are unemployed now, which is a lot of people, if you think about it. Most of the Specials are from working-class backgrounds. I know if I didn't have this job to do, I'd probably have been out there doing what those kids were doing during the rioting. You can't blame them for rebelling against the system, because it's the system that has caused the unemployment.'' 'They Aren't Helping Anybody'

''Our government leaders aren't interested in knowing the way people feel,'' Mr. Hall added. ''If they were, they'd just resign, because they aren't helping anybody. The kids can't go to the Prime Minister and say, look, 'We are unemployed, what are you going to do to help us?' There's no way they can approach people like that. So they express themselves by smashing things up.''

Neville Staples, the Specials' black lead vocalist and most manic stage performer, joined the conversation. ''Can you imagine leaving school and just going on the dole,'' he asked, ''with no hope of getting a job? Knowing that for the next 40 or 50 years you probably aren't going to be working? That's really depressing. It's very depressing in England now, and everyone is saying there's more of this to come and worse. I'm just wondering what my kids are going to do.''

The Specials have had a stormy history. They were the first British band to popularize a new kind of rock that was heavily influenced by ska, the Jamaican pop music of the 60's. Two Tone, the record label they started as a home base for bands with similar ska-related styles and similar commitments to racial harmony, eventually lent its name to an entire movement, encompassing popular bands like The Selecter, the English Beat, and Madness. After the Specials burst on the British recording scene at the end of 1979, Two Tone music became extremely popular there, but performances by Two Tone bands sometimes drew crowds that included opposing or hostile elements - blacks and Asians on the one hand, a few neo-Fascists on the other. Several Specials concerts were interrupted by shouts of ''Sieg Heil'' and Nazi salutes, and on more than one occasion, members of the band waded into the crowd to eject hecklers from the premises. A Second U.S. Tour

After more than a year of almost nonstop touring, including a swing through the United States in early 1980 that resulted in remarkably vivid and energizing performances at new-wave clubs like New York's now-defunct Hurrah, the Specials decided to take a vacation. They returned to action recently with their single ''Ghost Town,'' which included an antiracist song by Lynval Golding and a bittersweet partying tune by Terry Hall on its flip side. They also played some benefits before beginning their long-delayed second United States tour, which comes almost a year after the release here by Chrysalis records of their second album, ''More Specials.''

The British music press has been spreading rumors of a Specials breakup recently, but Terry Hall put these rumors in perspective. ''We've all been writing songs that might go on a third Specials album,'' he said, ''but right now we're thinking about Wednesday night's concert, which we've been looking forward to for a long time. When we get back to England, we'll decide what to do next. We learned long ago that planning things far in advance doesn't work for us; we have to plan things from day to day.'' That might help explain how the band managed, apparently without trying, to make a hit single that perfectly mirrored the perilous tenor of its times. Black and British

The Specials have helped create a brand of pop music that appeals to both blacks and whites in Britain. For the most part, British pop since the advent of their Two Tone fusion has either been variations on Two Tone, white rock and popular music, or Jamaican-derived black reggae. But recently, a few of Britain's black musicians have begun to create pop that is both overtly black and overtly British, rather than black and second-generation Jamaican or some species of blackwhite fusion.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Specials / Honor Late Drummer John "Brad" Bradbury on Current Tour




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The Specials Honor Late Drummer John "Brad" Bradbury on Current Tour.

By Jon Solomon

27/09/2016

The Specials, the renowned ska band that formed in Coventry, England, nearly four decades ago, finally got together again to record demos last November, after years of gathering material and ideas. According to founding member and guitarist Lynval Golding, it was drummer John “Brad” Bradbury’s idea to do a new tour with new material. But the following month, in December 2015, Bradbury passed away at the age of 62.

Golding says he’s still got the first demos of those songs, some of which were written by Bradbury, that they’d been working on — but he and Bradbury were very close, and the situation is still so emotional that he can't even listen to those songs.

“We did everything together,” Golding says. “He was like my right arm, and I was like his right arm.”

Bradbury, who replaced Silverton Hutchinson early on in the band’s career, first recording on the song "Gangsters," helped create the Specials' sound. “Brad came in, and he changed everything,” Golding says. “He created that rhythm, that beat. If you listen to the way he played, nobody has played like Brad. That’s why we made sure that when we get anyone to stand in we don’t want anyone to copy Brad. It’s impossible.”

Golding says they want Gary Powell, drummer of the Libertines, to be himself while on the current tour through the U.S. and U.K. The lineup also includes original members Terry Hall and Horace Panter, as well as keyboardist Nikolaj Trop Larsen, lead guitarist Steve Cradock (who’s also in Ocean Colour Scene) and a horn section. The lineup has undergone changes over the decades, beginning with co-founding keyboardist Jerry Dammers, who founded 2 Tone Records in 1979 and hasn't worked with the band in nearly two decades. Original lead guitarist Roddy Byers left the Specials in 2014 to concentrate on his band the Skabilly Rebels, and singer Neville Staples left to focus on his solo career.

“This tour is all about Brad,” Golding said before starting the U.S. tour. “We’re going to give 100 percent every night. After the tour finishes, we’ll see where we go from there. The only thing I got in my mind is to play these songs for Brad.”

But before Golding, who’s been living near Seattle in recent years, committed to the tour, he actually considered quitting the band. Then he remembered that Bradbury had wanted the band to do this tour.

“We were going to make new music and do this tour,” Golding says. “We were going to give you new music. I thought, ‘I can’t do it.’ But I waited and I talked to Terry. Terry is wonderful. Horace is a wonderful partner. Those two guys…. Me, Terry, Horace and Brad run this band — the four that did everything. The three of us talked. I said, ‘I don’t know if I can carry on.’ But this is what Brad wanted. He wanted this tour. Let’s do this tour for Brad. Just do it for him. I thought, ‘All right, yes. I will.’”

Although the Specials, whose last record of original material was 1998’s Guilty 'til Proved Innocent, had been working on new songs, actually releasing a new album under the Specials' name is another issue.

“We’re going through a situation where, legally, we’re going through a problem because we can’t release any music under our name, the Specials, without clearing certain issues that we’ve got right now,” Golding said. “I don’t want to go into it. So that is the reason why we have not released any new music. We’re still writing. We’ve still got material that we’re putting together, but we can’t officially release anything as the Specials until all legal issues [are resolved]. And you know what it’s like. This could go on for years. It’s been going on for the last seven years.”

While it might be a while before a new Specials album is released, Golding is releasing his very first solo recording with the Austin-based reggae group Contra Coup on September 28, the same day the Specials perform at the Ogden Theatre. Golding injects a reggae vibe into two different mixes of the Clash’s “Know Your Rights,” a song he says is as important today as when it was originally released on Combat Rock in 1982, and it's a very appropriate song for what's happening these days politically in the United States and England. The record was also a way to pay tribute to Clash frontman Joe Strummer.

“If it wasn’t for Joe Strummer, I probably wouldn’t be here talking to you today,” Golding says. “Joe Strummer was the one who gave the Specials the break.”

Strummer had seen the Specials, who were known as Special AKA at the time, and invited the band on the Clash on Parole Tour in the U.K. in 1978, helping expose the Specials to a wider fan base. And taking the Specials on tour with the Clash made sense, as the Specials were infusing their brand of ska and rocksteady with punk energy. It also brought different cultures together.

“When the band got together, I was the first member of the band with Jerry,” Golding says. “Obviously, there’s a black guy and there’s a white guy who come from totally different backgrounds. I was born in Jamaica and raised in Coventry. Multi-racial — so the two of us put that together. Because if you look at the musical background, where does the influence of the music come from? I was the one who brought that reggae sound into the band. It’s literally like putting two different cultures together.

“Working in a multi-racial band, at times we had to fight through racism," he continues. "Fight through the National Front. Fight through the British movement. It was pretty hard, because there was a divide in England. And we as a band tried to pull people together, and music is a very powerful thing. It did pull people together.”

While the Specials have endured a number of lineup changes and splits over the past four decades, the band is still pulling people together with its music, delving into hits like “Ghost Town,” “Gangsters” and their version of Dandy Livingstone’s “A Message to You, Rudy,” and deeper cuts while honoring Bradbury's life.

“We’re always going to be emotional on the stage when we don’t see Brad there,” Golding says. “I just hope that I’m strong enough. But he’s giving me strength. His memory. I look at him every day. I got his photograph, and every day I look at him. And I see him and think, ‘Why did he have to go?’ ...Very painful. Everything has got to be absolutely right, because we’re celebrating Brad’s creation, what he created for this band. An amazing drummer, he was.”

http://www.westword.com/music/the-specials-honor-late-drummer-john-brad-bradbury-on-current-tour-8340471

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Specials / list of live Bootlegs (2016)


There are a few songs missing from The Fillmore live set, good quality and Good stage banter from Terry :)

Lynval Golding also pays tribute to the late Prince Buster during Gangsters :)

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The Fillmore, Silver Spring (20/09/16)

http://www120.zippyshare.com/v/DU6vP4PM/file.html

The Warfield, San Francisco (23/09/16)

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http://www18.zippyshare.com/v/A2WcTLRs/file.html


Rivermead Centre, Reading (08/11/16)
Troxy, London (16/11/16)



Saturday, March 5, 2016

The Specials / live Bootlegs (2012 - 2015)


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2012

Hyde Park, London (12/08/12)
Pinkpop Festival (28/05/12)
Festival Cruïlla, de Barcelona (07/07/12)
Argeles sur Mer les Déferlantes (08/07/12)
Lokerse Feesten (09/08/12)
Garorock (??/??/12)
BBC Studio (12/12/12)


On Film: 2012


Pinkpop Festival (28/05/12)

Official Releases: 2012

The Specials E.P. Live! (7" Vinyl)

More...Or Less. The Specials Live (Vinyl, CD, Download)


2013

Hype Hotel, SXSW (14/03/13)
House of Vans, SXSW (15/03/13)
Club Nokia, LA (18/03/13)
Showbox, Seattle (27/03/13)
Vogue Theatre, Vancouver (30/03/13)
Friars, Aylesbury (03/05/13)
Guildhall, Portsmouth (26/05/13)
The Fillmore, Silver Spring (12/07/13)


On Film: 2013

Hype Hotel, SXSW (14/03/13)
House of Vans, SXSW (15/03/13)


2014

UEA, Norwich (30/10/14)
Troxy, London (21/11/14)
Le Bataclan, Paris (30/11/14)


On Film: 2014

Le Bataclan, Paris (30/11/14)

Official Releases: 2014

(2 Disc Set, Download)

UEA, Norwich (30/10/14)


2015

Vive Latino, Mexico (13/03/15)
Lollapalooza, Chile (15/03/15)


On Film: 2015

Vive Latino, Mexico (13/03/15)
Lollapalooza, Chile (15/03/15)


Youtube: Paris, France (2014)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qUGxo8BqDIg

The Specials / list of live Bootlegs (2010-2011)


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2010

Royal Albert Hall, Incomplete (29/04/10)
Club Nokia, Los Angeles (?) (15/04/10)
Terminal 5, New York (20/04/10)
Terminal 5, New York (21/04/10)
Rock Werchter, Incomplete (02/07/10)
Benicàssim, Spain (17/07/10)
Paredes de Coura, Portugal (31/07/10)
Lowlands Festival (20/08/10)
Sound Academy, Toronto (??/08/10)


2011

Official CD Releases

Belsonic, Belfast (27/08/11)
Paradiso, Amsterdam (14/09/11)
Paradiso, Amsterdam (15/09/11)
Cirkus Arena, Sweden (??/09/11)
Berlin (20/09/11)
Hamburg (25/09/11)
L'Olympia, Paris (27/09/11)
Ancienne Belgique, Brussels (28/09/11)
Civic Hall, Wolverhampton (11/10/11)
O2 Apollo, Manchester (14/10/11)
SECC, Glasgow (18/10/11)
Cheltenham Racecourse (24/10/11)
The Brighton Centre (25/10/11)
Ricoh Arena, Coventry (29/10/11)
O2 Academy, Brixton (31/10/11)
Alexandra Palace (03/11/11)


On Film


Benicàssim, Spain Incomplete (17/07/10)
Lowlands Festival (20/08/10)


Info

Abbey Road Live Here Now Releases

29 2 Disc Sets, Downloads

Belsonic, Belfast 27/08/11 - Alexandra Palace, London (03/11/11)


Some of the live shows listed above may be Incomplete "Highlights" or I may not even have them.

Youtube: Lowlands (2010)

http://www.vpro.nl/buitenland/speel.WO_VPRO_033117.html


The Specials / list of live Bootlegs (2009)


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2009


Carling Academy, Newcastle (22/04/09)
Academy, Birmingham (25/04/09)
O2 Academy, Glasgow (28/04/09)
Apollo, Manchester (04/05/09)
Academy, Brixton (07/05/09)
Oxegen Festival (12/07/09)
Splendour, Australia (26/07/09)
Palace Theatre, Melbourne (30/07/09
Enmore, Australia (??/07/09)
V Festival (22/08/09)
Empress Ballroom, Blackpool (04/11/09)
Civic Hall, Wolverhampton (10/11/09)
Brighton Center (19/11/09)


On Film

Jools Holland, BBC Two (04/09)
Glastonbury, Festival (26/06/09)
T in the park, Festival (11/07/09)
Summer Sonic, Japan (08/08/09)
Civic Hall, Wolverhampton (??/11/09
)

Offical Releases

Academy, Brixton (Sunday Times CD)
Academy, Brixton (iTunes Download)
Civic Hall, Wolverhampton (DVD)


Youtube: Wolverhampton (2009)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AC0J9bgz0BA

Friday, March 4, 2016

The Specials / List of live Bootlegs (1979-1981)



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1979

Aston University, Birmingham (27/04/79)
The Moonlight Club, London (02/05/79)
The Mayfair, Newcastle (09/11/80)
The Lyceum, London (02/12/79)
Paris Theater, London (15/12/79)
Concerts For Kampuchea, Various Artists (??/12/79)

1980

Markthalle, Hamburg (16/01/80)
Paradiso, Amsterdam (21/01/80)
Hurrah's, New York (25/01/80)
New Orleans, Warehouse (26/01/80)
Rainbow Theater, Denver (30/01/80)
The Showbox, Seattle (01/02/80)
The Whisky, C.A. (11/02/80)
U.C. Davis (14/02/80)
The Catalyst, Santa Cruz (16/02/80)
Speaks, Long Island (02/03/80)
Pavillon Baltard, Paris (14/03/80)
Pinkpop Festival, Holland (26/05/80)
Carnival House, Tokyo (02/07/80)
Montreux Jazz Festival (11/07/80)
Jaap Edenhal, Amsterdam (18/10/80)

1981

Pier 84, New York (13/08/81)
Paramount Theater, Staten Island (21/08/81)
Liberty Bell Racetrack, Philadelphia (22/08/81)
The Grove Oakville, Canada (23/08/81)


On Film

Colchester Institute, Essex (21/01/1980)
Carnival House, Tokyo (02/07/80)
Pinkpop Festival, Various Artists(26/05/80)
Montreux Jazz Festival (11/07/80)
Jaap Edenhal, Amsterdam (18/10/80)
Dance Craze Various Artists (1981)

Official Releases

Aston University, Birmingham (27/04/79)
The Moonlight Club, London (02/05/79)
Paris Theater, London (15/12/79)


Unofficial, CD & LP Releases

Aston University, Birmingham (27/04/79)
The Moonlight Club, London (02/05/79)
The Lyceum, London (02/12/79)
Markthalle, Hamburg (16/01/80)
Paradiso, Amsterdam (21/01/80)
Hurrah's, New York (25/01/80)
Paradise Rock Club, Boston (30/01/80)
Carnival House, Tokyo (02/07/80)


Other Releases

The Coventry Automatics - Dawning of a New Era (1993)
The Specials & The Special AKA - BBC Sessions (1998)


Demo Recordings (1981)


01 96 Tears
02 Why (Dub)
03 Why (Part II)


Youtube: Rock Goes To College (1979)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AWRGcCwqVu0