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Reggae/Ska

The Specials: “Nite Klub” and “Gangsters”

This is the beginning of Wikipedia’s profile of the influence band The Specials:

The Specials, also known as The Special AKA, are a 2 Tone and ska revival band formed in 1977 in Coventry, England.[1] Their music combines a “danceable ska and rocksteady beat with punk’s energy and attitude”, and had a “more focused and informed political and social stance” than other ska groups. The band wore mod-style “1960s period rude boy outfits (pork pie hats, tonic and mohair suits, and loafers).”[2] In 1980, the song “Too Much Too Young”, the lead track on their The Special AKA Live! EP, reached number one in the UK.[3] In 1981, the unemployment-themed single “Ghost Town” also hit number one in the UK Singles Chart.[1] (Continue Reading…)

This is from the band’s Facebook bio. The use of the phrase “easy peasy lemon squeezy” isn’t the only reason I chose this quote, but it didn’t hurt :

If you were 12 in 1979, the Specials were easy peasy lemon squeezy the greatest band on the planet. The sort of band you can’t quite imagine not existing before. Of course, style over substance is any easy sell in the pop charts, and you have to assume that the vast majority of the millions of catalogue rude boy clones who cat walked the shithole of Britain’s high streets over the following few years were fashion victims of the lowest order (check Stereotypes or Do Nothing for the bands response). The difference being that, perfectly packaged as they were, the Specials were substance wrapped in checkerboard. Who else could mention the Irish Republican Army and the Ulster Defence Association in a dance track? It turns out I, and millions of others, nailed our colours to the right mast at the time, and try as I might I still can’t find a single chink in the armour of The Specials legacy. (Continue Reading…)

Here is a definition of ska. Above is “Nite Klub” and below is “Gangsters.”

(Homepage Photo: Jared Eberhardt)

Here’s What’s Here

The Daily Music Break explores every genre of music, from hip hop to opera. It's simple: Boundaries are dumb. It's all good. Here is more about the site and here is our index:

--A Tribe Called Quest to The Dick Hyman Trio (In other words, A to H)

--Indigo Girls to Queen Ida (I to Q)

--Radiohead to ZZ Top (R to Z)

Reading Music

The stories of the great bands and musicians are fascinating. Musicians as a group are brilliant, but often troubled. The combination of creativity and drama makes for great reading.

Here are some books to check out.

Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.

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What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.

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The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.

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