The Specials – Protest Songs 1924-2012 (2021) [FLAC 24bit/96kHz]

The Specials – Protest Songs 1924-2012 (2021)
FLAC (tracks) 24bit/96kHz | Time – 00:54:56 minutes | 1,05 GB | Genre: Reggae
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Universal-Island Records Ltd.

Waylaid by writers’ block and Covid, the Specials have been unable to make their planned Jamaican reggae follow-up to 2019’s Encore. So they’ve recorded some covers instead, shapeshifting through blues, folk, country and rock. It’s odd that most of the songs are American, when this band are so good at delineating a particularly British experience. And your definition of a protest song may be very different from theirs.

It doesn’t matter. The Specials have always balanced calls to action with jaundiced observation; intertwined the personal and political. For every Racist Friend, a Ghost Town. Their take on Frank Zappa’s tartly cynical Trouble Every Day works surprisingly well alongside the impassioned exhilaration of Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Us Around. Terry Hall delivers a huskily seductive reading of Leonard Cohen’s bleak, hard-won aphorisms on Everybody Knows, while Hannah Hu shines through an imaginative rework of Talking Heads’ Listening Wind. There’s the odd misstep – a pounding version of the Staples Singers’ delicately rousing Freedom Highway will sound far better live – but the raw immediacy of Lynval Golding’s vocals on Get Up, Stand Up is as powerful and stirring as his BLM monologue on Encore.

1. The Specials – Freedom Highway
2. The Specials – Everybody Knows
3. The Specials – I Don’t Mind Failing In This World
4. The Specials – Black, Brown And White
5. The Specials – Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Us Around
6. The Specials – Fuck All The Perfect People
7. The Specials – My Next Door Neighbor
8. The Specials – Trouble Every Day
9. The Specials – Listening Wind
10. The Specials – I Live In A City
11. The Specials – Soldiers Who Want To Be Heroes
12. The Specials – Get Up, Stand Up
13. The Specials – The Lunatics (Live at Coventry Cathedral, July 2019)
14. The Specials – We Sell Hope (Live at Coventry Cathedral, July 2019)