Campbell Roark | from under the floorboards and through the woods.. | 04/22/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I like ska, but I don't LOVE Ska. This Cd does it for me. My only beef is that they could have packed a few more tracks onto it. Now then... Unless you're seriously into ska, punk or jamaican music in general- this is probably all The Specials you'll ever need. This album is more conclusive than either the Specials (best of) CD or the More Specials (best of 2) Cd. Stylistically, it covers all the bases including several hard to fing cuts (most notably Ghost town, a sweet creepy little tune with an arabian sound to it- well used in Guy Ritchie's 'Snatch'... or maybe it was 'Lock, Stock...').At any rate, this is all prime-rate, good stuff. If you are looking for a place to begin delving into ska, or simply trying to round out a decent CD collection- you could do far worse. No, actually, I'm pretty sure it was 'Snatch,' afterall."
Get this one !
J. Brady | PAWLEYS ISLAND, SC United States | 06/10/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The short-lived British Ska revival of the late 70's early 80's produced only one really great band. The Specials were indeed very special. We ALL need a little Specials in our lives. And if you buy only one Specials CD, this should be it. ( Their self titled debut album is great too, and should be your next Specials purchase, as it contians one song - "Little Bitch " - that SHOULD have been on this cd but isn't.) Serious, thought provoking and socially concious lyrics backed by some of the finest upbeat ska ever recorded. If you're looking for only one reason to get this cd, it's the 12" mix of Ghost Town, a spooky sounding dub reggae track with lyrics centering on the infighting amonst ska fans of different races that literally tore the movement apart. It was the last great Specials single, and the last to feature the original lineup, as they too would splinter shortly after its release. And all you English Beat fans out there who would argue against my point of the Specials being the only great ska band to come out of that period I offer my sincere apologies and can only say that in my opinion they were a pop band who used Ska and Reggae as only part of their musical palette ( listen to the second and third albums by the English Beat and you will see I am right .)"
Well worth it for hard to find tracks
jokamachi | california | 01/18/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Specials are the stuff of legend, that much can be agreed upon, but what is it about this collection that earns your hard-earned dollar? In a word, rarities. 'Rude Boys Out of Jail,' 'Guns of Navarone,' 'Maggie's Farm,' and 'Ghost Town' are classics worthy of inclusion on any ska collection, but due to the fact they weren't included on The Specials' LPs, they languish in obscurity. Hence this much needed collection. The only caveat to speak of is slightly less than stellar sound due to first generation mastering. Nonetheless, it remains the best Specials collection out there. A very fun, very danceable record."
The Best of the Various 'Specials' Compilations.....!!!!
fetish_2000 | U.K. | 03/31/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Possibly standing as one of the biggest and most creative artists, in the early 70's Ska/Revival scene. Combining elements of punk's energetic approach to music, with New Waves rousing & Exuberant arrangements, their music was as friendly for the dancefloor, as it was for listening at home. But what separated them from their peers and earmarked them and possibly the most crucial act in that musical scene, was the fact the amongst the party(ish) vibe of the music, their's was a manifesto that took not only a political stance, but also a social conscience that made their music that rare breed. Music that could move your feet to, but had something (useful) to say.
Their music was a perfect example of attaching Party-inspired music arrangements, to Social & Political subjects that were disenchanted and Confrontational exposes of life in Britain in the early 70's. So a lot of the songs refer to important topics, whether it be a lament for people leading criminal lives to will ultimately end in tears ("Gangsters"), Women that end up getting pregnant/married early, and missing Crucial years in their lives ("Message to You Rudy"), Pouring scorn on the peoples hopeless and uneventful & hostile evenings in nightclubs ("Nite Klub"), the everyday pointlessness and mentally conformity of getting ahead professionally ("Rat Race"), heartfelt plea's to the controlling governmental powers for the release of Mandela ("Free Nelson Mandela"), People making judgemental decisions regarding others, or lumping them in fixed categories ("Stereotype"), the slow disintergration of the city/town, and it beginning to resemble a deserted town ("Ghost Town").
All of the Specials music, was musically rich, motivationally uplifting and encapsulates everything from Ska (obviously) funk-rhythm, Jubilant 2-Step, & bouncy New-Wave everything was given a groove and an accessibility that made sure that entering their music, was easy, and understanding the message behind the songs easy to grab. There are quite a few various compilations of the specials, but this is is easily the best. It not only collects all the hits singles "Ghost Town, Nite Klub, Gangsters, Rat Race, Message to you Rudy", on the disc, but it also collects some of the lesser known but equally worthwhile B-Sides, and Rarities & Cover Versions ("Guns of Navarone, Do Nothing, Racist Friend, Maggies Farm, Why?, Friday Night Saturday Morning")...obviously there will always be a couple of omissions (I do miss: "Concrete Jungle, War Crimes, Man At C & A, Blank Expression"), but for newcomers or people (like me) that don't really want to have to buy several albums, this is the best of the various compilations for the band, and easily the most encompassing 'Best of' for the band."