Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Well, after going to see The Specials last week, I finally decided to read this book that I bought around Christmas. Unfortunately, Neville did not play with The Specials on this tour. I really would have liked to have seen him perform.
As for the book, at 320+ pages, it was still a very quick read. Neville with the help of Tony McMahon tell some interesting stories.
The beginning of the book talks about his move from Jamaica to England when he was 5 along with his brother and two sisters to go live with his Father and step mother. He tells stories about his father ruling with an iron fist, and kicking the shit out him and his brother almost every day. Needless to say, he left the house in his late teens and never looked back.
From there, it was on to a life of petty crime, fights against skinheads, staying out late listening and dancing to reggae, and spending time with the ladies. If I recall correctly, he has 8 children from at least 5 different women.
After getting a start as what we would call a DJ, he somehow happened to be at the right place at the right time, and ended up as a roadie in one of the early versions of The Specials. Then one night, he decided the crowd was not getting into the band and he jumped on stage grabbed the mic and started "toasting". From that night forward, he became a member of the band.
The book goes on to discuss stories of his travels with the band, the band's breakup, his formation of Fun Boy Three with Terry Hall and Lynval Golding, his forray into Asian pop music as a writer and manager, a rebirth or two of The Specials, stories of his kids, etc.
Each chapter starts and ends with some black and white pictures from his own collection and those of some of his "rude boys". The end of the book includes a discography too.
This was a great read, and I am glad that I finally decided to read through it. It was the 2 Tone version of the autobiography written by Stinky Turner from the Cockney Rejects - music, booze, fighting, and women.
If you like The Specials, you will enjoy the stories told in this book. Go get yourself a copy.
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
This past Monday, I was able to chalk another band off of my bucket list when I went to see The Specials play. They played for about 80-90 minutes to a sold out crowd and played every hit. I even enjoyed the slower tunes. Just when I thought they were out of great tunes, they played more great tunes. The band was on fire and very excited - Lynval on guitar, Roddy on guitar, Horace on bass, Bradbury on drums. The keyboard player made Monty from The Damned looked like a rookie. His skills and stage persona where incredible. Terry Hall was on vox and was spot on even though he lacked any emotion which is very common for him from what I have read. They were on fire for Nite Klub and Little Bitch. Near the end of Nite Klub, the crowd sang a few verses on their own, and the band looked surprised and kind of awestruck that an American audience knew the lyrics so well. They then performed the rest of the song. I was not crazy about 11-14 prior to the show, but enjoyed the performance of those songs. The only song that I wished they would have played but did not was "Stupid Marriage." But, they did get 12 others songs that I really wanted to hear so I can't complain. For guys in their late 50's and early 60's (less Terry Hall) they had a ton of energy running around the stage and jumping up and down most of the night.
I must say the sound at the Vic was incredible compared to other venues in Chicago. I wonder why other big name bands never play there. I had high expectations for this show, and they exceeded them. I would go to see them again in a heartbeat. If they are coming to your area, do yourself a favor and go.
Here is thet set list from the evening.
1. Do The Dog - The Specials LP http://youtu.be/YvstgzoWVAA
2. (Dawning of A) New Era - The Specials LP
3. Gangsters (Prince Buster cover) - Single
4. It's Up to You - The Specials LP
5. Monkey Man (The Maytals cover) - The Specials LP
6. Rat Race - Single
7. Blank Expression - The Specials LP
8. Hey Little Rich Girl - More Specials LP
9. Doesn't Make It Alright - The Specials LP
10. Concrete Jungle - The Specials LP
11. Friday Night, Saturday Morning - Single
12. Stereotype - More Specials LP
13. Man At C&A - More Specials LP
14. Do Nothing - More Specials LP
15. A Message To You Rudy (Dandy Livingstone cover) - The Specials LP
16. Nite Klub - The Specials LP
17. Little Bitch - The Specials LP
18. Too Much Too Young - The Specials LP
19. Enjoy Yourself (It's Later Than You Think) - More Specials LP
20. Ghost Town - Single
21. Guns of Navarone (The Skatalites cover) - Single
22. You're Wondering Now (The Skatalites cover) - The Specials LP