The Selecter had just departed 2 Tone Records in July (essentially, over disagreements concerning the future direction of the label that they co-managed with The Specials, and how out of control the whole 2 Tone craze had become--the massive amount of bootleg 2 Tone and cluelessly misspelled "Selector" merchandise was a particularly sore point)--and, also that July, had recorded their first single for their own intentionally unnamed Chrysalis imprint: "The Whisper" b/w The Ethiopians' "Train to Skaville" (sadly "The Whisper" was the last time the band hit the UK charts--at #36 in August of 1980). Sporting only the band's logo and a large question mark, the "Train to Skaville" 12" included a version of "Street Feeling" produced by Roger Lomas, recorded during the session that had yielded the "On My Radio" and "Too Much Pressure" singles; "Street Feeling" had ended up being re-recorded for The Selecter's debut album with another producer, but Neol Davies, according to this CD's liner notes, was never satisfied with that version and was pleased to see its release here. And plans were in place to enter the studio again in late August with Roger Lomas to begin recording what would be their incredible second album, Celebrate the Bullet.
|A still from the "Access All Areas" DVD.|
|The poster for The Selecter's Theatre Royale gig.|
Barely a week and a half after the "Rockstage" taping, both Desmond Brown (keys) and Charley Anderson (bass) were out of The Selecter (Desmond had quit, Charley was asked to leave--both had insisted that The Selecter head deeper into reggae territory--and they then formed the short-lived, but compelling, The People). So, The Selecter's Access All Areas is a fairly significant release in terms of the history of the band, as it is the last live recording of the original Selecter line-up and, as far as I can tell, has never been previously issued!
The Selecter's episode of "Rockstage" was broadcast in 1981, after the release of Celebrate the Bullet (and its unwarranted crash and burn) and, as we know, didn't help revive the band's fortunes, though it certainly should have. In the annals of 2 Tone, The Specials have always overshadowed The Selecter, though The Selecter's Access All Areas is further proof of how brilliant they were and how unfair history can be...
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