Thursday, October 9, 2008

Mojo Does The Ska: Johnny Moore and the almost there Specials

The November 2008 issue of Mojo Magazine (with the Combat Rock- era Clash on the cover) features two ska articles of note: a decent obit for Skatalites' trumpeter Johnny Moore by Lee Perry/reggae expert David Katz, and a piece on The Specials minus Jerry Dammers' (aka "Terry Hall and Friends") performance at Bestival on the Isle of Wight, in early September. (Terry Hall and Friends played "Gangsters" and then the whole debut album, but swapped "Stupid Marriage" for "Rat Race")

Mojo dubs the band "The Partial AKA" and prints Dammers' reaction to the whole deal, which wasn't exactly glowing:
They did a fantastic job, but I think one of the reasons that I was excluded and didn't want to take part was because I had expressed the opinion that the real Specials would never do a gig where the real Specials fans couldn't even get in--Bestival was already sold out. I went, and it was very weird for me. Without my influence it felt like they were playing themselves a bit, it was too much of a 'fun' thing, a bit of a 'stars of the '80s' nostalgia vibe, not what a real reunion would have been at all. There was something missing, but unfortunately I'm the only person who really knows what that is. The subtleties in the music were a bit lost on them. "Doesn't Make It Alright" should have had the hairs on the back of your neck standing up, but compare it to the record and the heart and soul was a bit lacking. The best excuse for a reunion is if you can do some really good new music. The guy playing keyboards pulled his cap over his face so you couldn't see it wasn't me, which says it all.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Really good to read Dammers' comments. I agree with him. I know there are bigger Specials fans than me, but I guarantee they weren't going to be at Bestival. There was so much talk and excitement in ska circles over here about the circumstances of the band playing again and then they chose Bestival, where the majority of the crowd wouldn't have heard of the band or at best heard the songs on tv ads. Very disappointing and, overall, I think they made a wrong move because they put a halt to the anticipation amongst the fans, rather than built on it.