Oh, you thought I'd run out of amazing records that came out in 1979? You are so adorable- All of my favorite records came out in 1979 Part 15

In the late 70's in England, Land of Youth Movements (until about 1979...hmmmm...)there flourished a youth movement called Two-Tone where black kids and white kids made a point of getting together and starting and hanging around with ska and punk bands. This was in reaction to the climate of violent racism that had been on the upswing during the depressed, turbulent 70's.

Bands like The Specials were so completely of their moment, making music that was so of its moment that to hear it was like getting an electric shock from the reality outlet.

What was so great about The Specials? I'm going to tell you what was so great about The Specials. This record. After this they did the daring "More Specials" that delved deeply into irony and calypso and then they just sort of soft-focused out of existence after 1981's "Ghost Town". You have to realize that these guys had like 8 top ten singles in Britain, even though they chose to import the English Beat to this country instead of the Specials. Maybe it was Roddy Radiation's lack of front teeth.

"Specials" had a lot of great things going for it, such as:

1. Being produced by Elvis Costello. That's actually hard for me to picture. Elvis and Jerry Dammers and Terry Hall and Lynval Golding putting their heads together. Nonetheless, it sounds like an awesome band in a hall, you know? Just well-recorded music of the moment. All the seventies muted shit is going away now, the super dry, taped drum kits and the many muffled rooms of the Fleetwood Mac Manor are being replaced by full, ringing timbale-like drums, and bass that makes you have to go to the bathroom. In your pants.

2. The song "Nite Klub". This is a skankerific opera of massive proportions. This is the "Tommy" of ska right here. These guys were living this insane life, touring as openers for The Clash in Europe and Britain. Bernie Rhodes, the Clash's manager, took The Specials on for a while and they refer to him somewhat bitterly in "Gangsters". Anyway, a great, great song.

3. The songs "Doesn't Make It Alright", "Too Much Too Young" "Blank Expression" and perhaps most importantly "Stupid Marriage". "Stupid Marriage" is an incredible indictment of going with the flow and uses the conceit of a trial, complete with the stern Judge Roughneck, to drive its scathing message home.

"Blank Expression" is insane because the lyric actually uses this crazy moment of negative space ("where...did you get...that...---...blank expression on your face?") to illustrate blankness perfectly.

4. The playing. I know we don't expect or need for guys in this genre to be particularly fluid but The Specials are fantastic musicians all over this record. Every instrument weaves seamlessly through the mix yet still has amazing personality. The guitar playing is extremely good, the solos classic and clean. The bass playing is a compositional miracle. Same with drums, organ and horns. The drum tones are wide, wide open as I mentioned and this is maybe the most defining thing sonically about this record.

What a cool album. Raw, immediate, new, gifted with melody from top to bottom.

You really have to stop and think, after a list of 15 completely transcendent records, what 1979 was like. You could literally have a transformative musical experience more than once a month. That in itself is an almost freakish concept in this day and age.

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