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The Specials – Protest Songs 1924-2012

Release date: 01/10/2021
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The Specials

Protest Songs 1924-2012

What makes a protest song? The Specials should know. First time around, back when the 70s were lurching into the 80s, they sang of racism, war, unemployment and the rough edges of urban life, and never in the same way twice. As the multiracial flagship of the 2 Tone movement, they made a political statement every time they stepped on stage. June 2021 saw the 40th anniversary of their last and greatest protest song, Ghost Town, a record that will retain its eerie power as long as there are concrete jungles, empty dancehalls and desperate spasms of violence.

FORMATS

CD, CD (Deluxe), LP (Limited Edition Transparent Yellow Vinyl), LP (Limited Edition)

GENRE

Ska
Release date: 01/10/2021
SKU: 3522774 Category: Tag:

What makes a protest song? The Specials should know. First time around, back when the 70s were lurching into the 80s, they sang of racism, war, unemployment and the rough edges of urban life, and never in the same way twice. As the multiracial flagship of the 2 Tone movement, they made a political statement every time they stepped on stage. June 2021 saw the 40th anniversary of their last and greatest protest song, Ghost Town, a record that will retain its eerie power as long as there are concrete jungles, empty dancehalls and desperate spasms of violence.

It’s fitting, then, that in 2021 the Specials are releasing Protest Songs 1924-2012, an unpredictable collection of unique takes which celebrates the long history and endless versatility of the form, from folk to post-punk, from righteous uplift to biting satire, and from Kingston to Alabama. It’s a potent reminder that there are no fixed rules to templates for a protest song. All that’s required is the combination of something that needs to be said with music that needs to be heard. “People have been using music as a vehicle for protest since time immemorial,” says bass-player Horace Panter. “Injustice is timeless.”

In May 2021, the Specials reconvened at Eastcote Studios in west London with their regular bandmates Nikolaj Torp Larsen on keyboards, Kenrick Rowe on drums and Steve Cradock on guitar. Hannah Hu, a young singer from Bradford, fronts Listening Wind and sings back-up on Freedom Highway and Everybody Knows. “We hadn’t played for a year and a half so to be all be playing in a room together at the same time was an absolute joy,” says Horace. “It was a big deal.” All being well, they’ll be back on the road from 28 August, putting songs from the new album in dialogue with their own.

It’s human nature to feel like the problems we are dealing with right now are unique and unprecedented but we usually have more in common with previous generations than we think. The urge to rail against what is wrong with the world and suggest how it could be better is as old as song. Protest Songs 1924-2012 is an idiosyncratic version of that history, born out of extreme circumstances and guided by the personalities of Terry, Horace and Lynval. The story continues.

Format – CD, Deluxe CD, Limited Edition LP & Limited Edition Transparent Yellow Coloured Vinyl LP

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