The Specials

by Alex Rud
March 28, 2001

File Under: Reggae/Ska
rating: 4.4 out of 5

1) A Message To You Rudy 

2) Do The Dog 

3) It's Up To You 

4) Nite Klub 

5) Doesn't Make It Alright 

6) Concrete Jungle 

7) Too Hot 

8) Monkey Man 

9) (Dawning Of A) New Era 

10) Blank Expresion 

11) Stupid Marriage 

12) Too Much Too Young 

13) Gangsters 

14) Little Bitch 

15) You're Wondering Now 

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  • The Specials
  • In the late 70s, Jamaican immigrants came to the UK in search of education and career opportunities. With them they brought the Ska.

    The Specials took their love for Ska/Reggae and their love for the early UK punk, and mixed them together to create the sound that we now know as "2 Tone." 2 Tone was kind of like a club (according to Jerry) if you like the music, you were in. It was also a record label which put out other ska bands, such as: Selecter, The English Beat (known in America as just "The Beat,") Madness, Bodysnatchers and other such fine Ska acts.

    2 Tone is more than just music, it is also a symbol of racial equality, black and white, as well as other religions, playing in the same bands and dancing on the same dance floor. That is what it's all about, unity!

    The Specials had enough money to record a single for the song "Gangsters" which saw it big in the UK. Later on Elvis Costello stepped in and helped out the Specials by producing them and loaning them some money.

    The album starts out with a song which almost everyone knows, "Massage to you Rudy." The song is about rudeboys (As u can see in the name) and the massage to them is to stop messing around, get a job, and stay out of jail. Next is "Do the Dog." It's a song which calls out to all the sub-cultures, be it, Punks, Skins, Rudys, er whatever, to stand up for what they believe in. "It's Up To You" goes out to the nay-sayers of Ska, the people who wish the music would drop of the face of the earth, the song goes "It's up to you, if you don't like it you don't have to listen." The song "Monkey Man" goes out to the bouncers who give concert goers shit each and every show. "Too Much, Too Young" is a birth control anthem. It goes out to all the people who have unprotected sex and then are stuck with a baby, when they should be having fun.

    The Specials are a talented band, whether its, Terry Halls' snotty vocals, Jerry Dammners excellent Keyboard Playing, or Roddy Radiations' awesome guitar playing, the Specials are good in every aspect of their music, and it can be heard on this album, as well as every Specials album until they broke up in the early 80s. Peace!

    Alex Rud is Contributing Columnist. Contact him at

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