TROJAN SKA REVIVAL BOX SET (TJETD146) - It was in the summer of '79 that the U.K.'s youth finally learned to dance again. After three years of pogo-ing to the sound of Punk and posing with the New Wave posse, 'The Kids' decided it was time to Skank and providing the musical backdrop was the Two Tone Ska revolution, a multi-racial, multi-acted sound and image that filled the dancefloors and the live venues.

Taking their cue from the late 60's Ska movement spearheaded by the likes of Desmond Dekker, the Pioneers, Greyhound, Prince Buster etc..., and pioneering record labels, like Trojan and Blue Beat, the 2 Tone label was set up in Coventry as an outlet for the seven piece SPECIALS. Led by vocalist, Terry Hall and keyboardist Jerry Dammers - along with vocalists Neville Staples and Lynval Golding, bassist Horrace Panter, drummer John Bradbury and guitarist Roddy Radiation - the Specials had originally started life as THE COVENTRY AUTOMATICS, with many of the tracks they recorded under that name (and featured on this box set) making up the first Specials LP. The July '79 rallying cry of 'Don't call me scarface' on their debut 45, 'Gangsters', encouraged numerous other artists to follow in their wake, but few managed to merge the Specials' blend of Ska, street politics and particularly sussed cover versions quite like they did. Eleven hit singles - including No. 1's with 'Too Much Too Young' and 'Ghost Town' - was an impressive chart haul by anybody's standards but not as many as North London's BAD MANNERS, who managed to go one better in scoring a dozen chart entries in just under three years. The sight of a bald 16 stone man dressed in a pink tutu ans DM boots doing the Can Can on 'Top Of The Pops' still rates as one of pop music's most bizarre images, but for vocalist Doug Trendle AKA Buster Bloddvessel it was an everyday nothing out of the ordinary thing to do! If The Specials bought a politic to the Ska movement then Buster & Co (along with Madness) gave it a much needed helping of humour. Odes to ale (@Special Brew') and a plastic blow-up doll ('Lorraine'), plus self-mockery ('Lip Up Fatty') may not have earned the band critical acclaim, but certainly found favour with the record buyers. As recently as 2002, their songs were being used in TV commercials for pensions and chocolate and Buster still leads a version of the band around Europe.

Another outfit still going strong to this very day are THE SELECTER, who, as this is typed, have just issued a new studio album called 'Real To Reel'. Vocalist Pauline Black not only gave Ska the movement a feminine touch, but also had a fine voice, great stage presence and particularly biting lyrics. They might have only scored three Top 30 singles - 'On My Radio', 'Three Minute Hero' and 'Missing Words' - but it doesn't mean they were any less influential than the likes of the Specials. In fact on an early 90's tour of America they took a little known band on the road with them as support who admitted the Selecter provided the blueprint for their own existance. That band was No Doubt and there was no doubt who vocalist Gwen Stefani's heroine was!

There can be no doubting either the enduring appeal and lasting effect of the whole Two Tone Ska movement. In the early 90's members of both the Specials and the Beat got together to form SPECIAL BEAT. Augmented by personnel from the Loafers (themselves a seminal Ska outfit from the late 80's), Special Beat toured across the globe with a stunning live show that comprised both Specials and Beat originals alongside some choice plundering of the Trojan Records galaxy of Reggae hits (this author for one remembers dancing himself silly - or was that silly dancing - at one of their sold out London shows!)

The idea of a merging of Ska talents was taken a step further in 1993 when DESMOND DEKKER - probably the first person to bring Ska into the UK charts - got together with THE SPECIALS for a superb studio album called 'King Of Kings' on which both parties expertly and lovingly brought new life to some classic Jamaican Ska tracks - still skanking after all these years!

Mark Brennan

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DISC 2

DISC 3

Gangsters (Live)
The Specials
Missing Words (Live)
The Selecter
Tears Of A Clown (Live)
The Special Beat
My Girl Lollipop (Live)
Bad Manners
Blank Expression
The Coventry Automatics
Doesn't Make It Alright (Live)
The Specials
Three Minute Hero (Live)
The Selecter
Too Nice To Talk To (Live)
Special Beat
Lorraine (Live)
Bad Manners
It's Up To You
The Coventry Automatics
Nite Klub (Live)
The Specials
Too Much Pressure (Live)
The Selecter
Ranking Full Stop (Live)
The Special Beat
Walking In The Sunshine (Live)
Bad Manners
Too Much Too Young
The Coventry Automatics
Monkey Man (Live)
The Specials
On My Radio (Live)
The Selecter

Long Shot (Bust Me Bet)
The Selecter
Concrete Jungle
The Coventry Automatics
Carry Go Bring Home
Desmond Dekker & The Specials
Wet Dream (Live)
Bad Manners
Double Barrel
The Specials
Sally Brown (Live)
Bad Manners
Tighten Up
The Selecter
King Of Ska
Desmond Dekker & The Specials
Feel Like Jumping (Live)
Bad Manners
Enjoy Yourself (Live)
The Beat Special
Skinhead Girl
The Specials
Everyday (Time Hard) (Live)
The Selecter
Don't Knock The Bald (Live)
Bad Manners
King Of Kings
Desmond Dekker & The Specials
Rough Rider (Live)
The Special Beat
Train To Skaville (Live)
The Selecter

Echo 4 + 2 (Live)
Bad Manners
The Selecter (Live)
The Selecter
Mirror In The Bathroom (Live)
The Special Beat
Dawning Of A New Era
The Coventry Automatics
Ghost Town (Live)
The Specials
This Is Ska (Live)
Bad Manners
Al Capone (Live)
The Selecter
Night Club (Live)
The Special Beat
Return Of Django
The Specials
Little Bitch
The Coventry Automatics
Skaville UK (Live)
Bad Manners
Easy Snappin'
Desmon Dekker & The Specials
Madness (Live)
The Selecter
Get A Job (Live)
The Special Beat
Do The Dog (Live)
The Specials
Can Can (Live)
Bad Manners
Celebrate The Bullet (Live)
The Selecter

Time - 54:45

Time - 58:04

Time - 57:22

All material Copyright Trojan Records