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Crucial Vinyl: The Specials

Don's choices cross time, space and genre, plus he selects the Specials' 1979 self-titled debut album as his Crucial Vinyl.

Each week the Don selects a piece of Crucial Vinyl (he calls it his C.V.) from his collection, that has moved him and shaped his musical taste. He picks three tracks from it, and explains why it means so much to him.

This week, it's the 1979 debut by the Specials.

Don says, "The release of the Specials' self-titled debut album was key for the UK ska revival. This was music made by the people for the people, and, for a brief while, it was all about 2 Tone.

Produced by Elvis Costello, and fuelled by the energy and attitude of punk, the band re-worked original 1960's Jamaican ska. Too Much Too Young was actually a version of an earlier hit called Birth Control, and there were also straight-up covers: Toots and the Maytals' Monkey Man and Dandy Livingstone's A Message To You Rudy.

Interestingly, the themes of these old Jamaican records found receptive ears in the UK of the late 70s. Lyrically they dealt with things the youth could relate to: unemployment, teenage pregnancy and racism. Crucially, they were all delivered with tunes you could dance to - this was music for your mind and your feet."

As ever, Don's other selections cross time, space and genre.

2 hours

Music Played

  • Iggy Pop

    Party Time

    • Preliminaries.
    • Virgin.
    • 8.
  • LA Priest


    • CD Single.
    • Domino.
  • David Bowie

    John, I'm Only Dancing

    • EMI.
  • Ja-Man All Stars

    King's Dub

    • In The Dub Zone.
    • Blood And Fire.
    • 14.
  • Belle and Sebastian

    The Party Line

    • Girls In Peacetime Want To Dance.
    • Rough Trade.
  • The Teardrop Explodes


    • Island.
  • War

    Me And Baby Brother

    • Priority.
  • The Pop Group

    Mad Truth

    • White Label.
  • Harry J. Allstars


    • Rhythm & Blues Beat Volume 2.
    • Island.
  • The Specials

    A Message To You, Rudy (feat. Rico Rodriguez)

    • Chrysalis.
  • The Specials

    Blank Expression

    • The Best Album Tracks ...Ever! (Various Artists).
    • Virgin.
  • The Specials

    You're Wondering Now

    • The Specials.
    • 2 Tone Records.
    • 15.
  • King Floyd

    Groove Me

    • Atlantic.
  • Brunetta E I Soui Balubas

    Baluba Shake

    • Le Beat Bespoke #2.
    • Circle.
    • 13.
  • Morgan Heritage

    Hail Up The Lion

    • Full Circle.
    • VP Records.
    • 5.
  • Young Fathers

    Rain Or Shine

    • Big Dada.
  • Labi Siffre

    I Got the

    • Remember My Song.
    • Emi.
    • 1.
  • Zervas & Pepper


    • Abstract Heart.
    • Zerodeo Records.
    • 1.
  • Isaac Hayes

    Bumpy's Lament

    • Shaft OST.
    • Stax.
    • 2.
  • Luciano

    Where There Is Life

    • Where There Is Life.
    • Island Jamaica.
    • 10.
  • Erykah Badu

    Fall In Love (Your Funeral)

  • Lord Huron

    Fool For Love

  • Black Yaya

    Glad Tidings

    • Black Yaya.
    • City Slang.
  • Kenny Deisal

    Nuff Dub 2

    • (single).
  • D'Angelo & The Vanguard

    Ain't That Easy

    • Black Messiah.
    • RCA.
    • 1.
  • All We Are

    Utmost Good

    • Domino.
  • Eddie Kendricks

    Intimate Friends

    • The Ultimate Collection.
    • Tamla Motown.
    • 13.
  • Antique

    Love Of My Life

    • Heads Up.
    • Asphalt Tango Records.
    • 2.
  • Dengue Dengue Dengue

    Remolinera Real

    • A Guide to the Birdsong of South America.
  • Bob Lind

    Cool Summer