The 250 million year old Stone Forest near Kunming, central China
Wide angle reviews, interviews and opinion on music, travel and the arts by writer Graham Reid
The Specials: The Best of the Specials (EMI)
Graham Reid | | <1 min read
Listening to this 20-track compilation (which comes with an excellent DVD of videos and film footage) reminds you just how reductive the recent ska revivalist bands have been.
In the late 70s/early 80s the Specials out of Coventry delivered more than just that kickin' good time dance music which covers bands have recently picked up on. The Specials were a band with layered and politicised lyrics, a rare meltdown of punk, dub, pop and ska, and used their multi-racial line-up and diverse musical interests to expand and grow what could have been an otherwise narrow genre.
There have been plenty of Specials compilations in the past -- and it's a measure of how good they were right from the start that about half the tracks on their debut album turn up here -- but this one opens with Gangsters (which oddly enough rarely appears on collections), has the full six minute version of Ghost Town and closes with the album version of Nelson Mandela.
Along the way you'll find yourself catching passages which sound like oddball blues, 50s rock'n'roll, funky boogie-woogie and, of course, JA-inspired ska.
An object lesson for ska revivalists, and a thorough (and throughly enjoyable) collection which has the added advantage of images to back up the music.
Twenty years after the death of its
high priest, reggae still informed the vocabulary of music. Reggae
had so thoroughly infiltrated pop, rock, hip hop and electronica, we
hardly noticed it any... > Read more
And of all the tributes to Michael Jackson, this might be the most expected.
Easy Star All-Stars make a habit of taking classic rock and giving it the reggae/dub treatment (Beatles, Radiohead,... > Read more
As mentioned previously in regard to Record Store Day -- the day when artists release albums and singles on vinyl to encourage people back to the format and into record shops -- people who just... > Read more
When Ryan Adams was forced to take a
break from recording in 2009 after being diagnosed with an inner ear
disorder even his most dedicated fans probably heaved a sigh of
relief: the guy was just... > Read more