Oct 12, 2016

RhoDeo 1641 Aetix


Today's artists featured a racially diverse line-up. Their lyrics featured themes connected to politics.Reinforcing the songs of Noel Davies were the voice and rude girl style of Pauline Black and the rhythms of Desmond Brown on the Hammond organ. The band's name is based on the term "selector", which is a Jamaican word for disc jockey. The band were one of the most successful ska bands of the 2 Tone era, notching up several top forty singles in the British charts.....N'Joy

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One of the key bands of the U.K. ska revival of the late '70s and early '80s, the Selecter were also one of the few racially and sexually integrated acts on the scene, and vocalist Pauline Black often tackled sexism along with racism and the other social ills focused upon by groups that were part of the 2-Tone movement. The Selecter originally began as a studio project: when the Specials released their debut single, "Gangsters," in 1979, they needed a second song for a B-side, and they decided to use a track that Specials drummer John Bradbury had previously recorded with guitarist Neol Davies and trombone player Barry Jones in 1977; the tune, "Kingston Affair," was credited to the Selecter. When "Gangsters" became a hit and "Kingston Affair" began gaining its share of attention, Davies opted to assemble a proper band using the name. Recruiting his friends Charley Anderson on bass and Desmond Brown on keyboards, Davies filled out the lineup with guitarist Compton Amanor, Charley "H" Bembridge on drums, and vocalist Arthur "Gaps" Hendrickson; when Davies met Pauline Black, he promptly gave her an audition, and she was added to the lineup as lead singer.

The Selecter were soon added to the 2-Tone Records roster, and scaled the U.K. singles charts with the singles "Three Minute Hero," "On My Radio," and "Missing Words." The Selecter's debut album, Too Much Pressure, was released in early 1980, and rose to number five on the U.K. album chart, eventually receiving a gold record. At the peak of their success, the Selecter were filmed on tour for Dance Craze, 2-Tone's documentary about the British ska revival, but the first proper lineup began to crumble when Charley Anderson and Desmond Brown left to form their own band, the People. With the addition of keyboard player James Mackie and Adam Williams on bass, the Selecter began work on their second album, but 1981's Celebrate the Bullet was welcomed with tepid reviews and poor sales, and Black left to pursue a solo career, with the band soon breaking up after a new vocalist didn't work out.

Black worked in music and as an actress before the enduring popularity of the 2-Tone sound led her to assemble a new lineup of the Selecter with Davies in 1991. The new Selecter released an album, 1992's Out on the Streets, but not long after its release, Davies had left the group, and "Gaps" Hendrickson came aboard in 1993, in time to help cut 1994's The Happy Album. In 1997, No Doubt, serious fans of the 2-Tone era, invited the Selecter to open their American tour, and a steady stream of live and studio releases appeared from the group, most featuring Black and a rotating cast of musicians. In 2006, Black left the Selecter, and for a while Davies toured with his own edition of the group. Black and Hendrickson began performing again as the Selecter in 2010, and in 2015 they released a new album, Subculture, a commanding fusion of reggae and ska that rose to number five on the U.K. indie album chart.

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The Selecter's "Too Much Pressure" is the single most overlooked album of the U.K. ska revival, and in my opinion, the most overlooked album of the late-70s/early-80s. Fans of the short-lived U.K. ska revival are probably familiar with The Selecter, but unfortunately most don't own "Too Much Pressure". It was out of print until 2002, and then only released on a small indie label in the U.K. The album was originally released in 1980, following a few key singles, on the then fledgling 2-Tone label. Those early singles - "The Selecter", "On My Radio" and "Too Much Pressure" - are included as bonus tracks on this reissue.

Like other 2-Tone bands, The Selecter is indebted to early Jamaican ska, specifically Duke Reid and Prince Buster productions, as well as late seventies U.K. punk. The Selecter is rooted in rock steady and reggae rhythms as well, which aligns them more closely with The English Beat than The Specials or Madness (all label-mates.) What makes The Selecter completely unique is lead vocalist Pauline Black. Black was born to belt out infectious, punk-inspired ska tunes. Without her, The Selecter would sound too much like The English Beat - not a bad thing, just that Black really makes the band something special. She can back a social statement like "Danger" with fierce intensity and then bounce along playfully to some of the most infectious songs in existence. (Is "On My Radio" pure bliss or what?). No slapdash compilation can ever replace the original album, especially when every track is a killer.

The Selecter - Too Much Pressure   (flac  332mb)

01 Three Minute Hero 3:00
02 Time Hard 3:10
03 They Make Me Mad 2:47
04 Missing Words 3:22
05 Danger 2:38
06 Street Feeling 3:11
07 My Collie (Not A Dog) 2:45
08 Too Much Pressure 3:48
09 Murder 2:39
10 Out On The Streets 3:28
11 Carry Go Bring Home 3:02
12 Black And Blue 3:17
13 James Bond 2:16
14 The Selecter 2:59
15 On My Radio 3:07
16 Too Much Pressure (7") 2:50

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The Selecter were part of the 1980s ska revival that included Madness, the Specials, and Bad Manners. Their first album, Too Much Pressure (also long unavailable in its original form) was straightforward dance music, and is one of the highly rated albums of this genre. Their second album, Celebrate the Bullet, described by lead singer Pauline Black as "our blue period" featured a wider range of sound, some of it fast-paced dance music, some of it thoughtful and contemplative. It didn't meet with the success of the first record, and no doubt had something to do with the band's temporary demise.

Don't believe the critics, though. In fact, don't believe the current Selecter members, who ignored these songs entirely when they regrouped in the 1990s. Cool Blue Lady, Deep Water, and Bombscare feature Pauline Black's most haunting vocals, combined with emotionally intense, compelling melodies.There is fun to be had here, with lively beats and those orgasmic bass lines that make ska one of my favourite styles, but there is a much darker, more sombre edge to this album than to most ska. The music is haunting, intruding, not the carefree skanking tunes we are used to. The lyrics of ska have always been darker than the music, but in this case the music meets the lyrics emotionally, making an innovative and at times brilliant album.

The Selecter - Celebrate The Bullet (flac 404mb)

01 (Who Likes) Facing Situations 3:32
02 Deepwater 4:09
03 Red Reflections 3:39
04 Tell Me What's Wrong 3:26
05 Bombscare 3:05
06 Washed Up And Left For Dead 4:04
07 Celebrate The Bullet 4:25
08 Selling Out Your Future 3:59
09 Cool Blue Lady 3:30
10 Their Dream Goes On 3:56
11 Bristol And Miami 4:44
12 The Whisper 3:00
13 Train To Skaville 3:07
14 Last Tango In Dub 4:22
15 Train To Skaville (12" Version) 7:51

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The six member band consisted of Dave Wakeling on vocals and guitar, Andy Cox on guitar, David Steele on bass, Everett Morton on drums, Ranking Roger on vocals and toasting, and foundational first wave ska legend Saxa on saxophone. The band crossed over fluidly between soul, reggae, pop and punk, and from these disparate pieces they created an infectious dance rhythm. Along with their contemporaries The Specials, The Selecter, and Madness, The Beat became an overnight sensation and one of the most popular and influential bands of the British ska movement.

By Christmas of 1979, The Beat were riding high in the UK charts with their first single, a smoking remake of the classic Smokey Robinson tune "Tears of a Clown". Over the course of the next five years The Beat toured relentlessly and released three studio albums: "I Just Can't Stop It", "Wh'appen", and "Special Beat Service".

In 1980, the band decided to form its own 2-Tone-inspired label, Go-Feet (distributed by Arista). A string of hit singles followed in the U.K., including "Mirror in the Bathroom." Their debut LP, I Just Can't Stop It, combined the early hits with other pop/ska-oriented material. "Stand Down Margaret," with its anti-Thatcher stance, found the band moving in a more political direction, leading to several benefit gigs for "radical" causes. Musically, the Beat slowed down the tempo for a more traditional reggae sound showcased on 1981's Wha'ppen. This direction failed to bring the chart success of its predecessor. Featuring a more pop-oriented approach, 1982's Special Beat Service helped the band increase its U.S. fan base through MTV exposure of "Save It for Later" and "I Confess.".


I Just Can't Stop It was a late arrival onto the checker- boarded scene, the Specials, Madness and the Selecter had all beat the (English) Beat to the punch, but luckily this wasn't a race. Besides, the band had already primed the pump with a trio of Top 10 singles -- the double A-sided "Tears of a Clown"/"Ranking Full Stop," "Hands Off She's Mine" and "Mirror in the Bathroom," their debut album followed hard on "Mirror"'s heels, picking up the latter two songs and "Full Stop" to boot. Two more of the tracks within set followed them onto the chart, later that summer on another double A-sided single -- "Best Friend" coupled with a dub version of "Stand Down Margaret"." So this was a hit filled set. And so popular were such songs as "Rough Rider," "Twist and Crawl," "Can't Get Used to Losing You," and "Whine & Grine," becoming such staples, that fans can be forgiven for assuming they too were released on 45. Intriguingly, "Losing You" came courtesy of Andy Williams, and highlighted the softer styling that would swiftly overtake the Beat. But "Rough" and "Whine" had solid ska credentials, both were Prince Buster hits, while "Jackpot" was one of slew of racing themed rocksteady smashes that drove The Pioneers too fame, The Specials had opened their own account with another -"Longshot Kick the Bucket"." And it was this sheer diversity of influences that set The Beat's sound apart from their compatriots. Their own compositions were heavily cultural in theme -- the radical cries to depose the prime minister on "Margaret," the slashing anti-violence of "Two Swords" and even more ominous and feverish "Click Click," through the cultural nihilism of "Mirror" itself. With a few softer love and lovelorn tracks taking some of the edge off. Stop was a stunning achievement, its driving, frenetic numbers grounded in punk's fury smashing into the loose-limbed grooves and melodies of rocksteady inspired songs, and banging head on into sweeter pop fueled pieces. The album remained on the British charts for a whopping eight months, eventually peaking at Number Three. Time has not diminished its glory, the songs remain hugely as their continued inclusion in the band's offshoot's repertoire have proved.

The Beat - I Just Can't Stop It (flac 265mb)

01 Mirror In The Bathroom 3:11
02 Hands Off...She's Mine 3:01
03 Two Swords 2:20
04 Twist & Crawl 2:36
05 Tears Of A Clown 2:39
06 Rough Rider 4:52
07 Click Click 1:29
08 Ranking Full Stop 2:47
09 Big Shot 2:34
10 Whine & Grine / Stand Down Margaret 3:52
11 Noise In This World 2:20
12 Can't Get Used To Losing You 3:04
13 Best Friend 3:01
14 Jackpot 4:19

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This is an album of Peel Sessions and four cuts live from a November 1982 gig in Boston. Each of their albums has a distinctive character, something that carries through to the three Peel Sessions -- one delivered in support for each album. Its sixty minutes-plus duration comprised of live performances taken from British radio sessions as well as a concert in Boston in 1982. As evidenced by even the earliest of these recordings, a John Peel session from 1979, The English Beat’s collective instrumental precision was a corollary to their well-honed social acuity as expressed ever so directly, but politely, in "Stand Down Margaret." As lean lithe and lissome as the band sounded on studio records, the wiry strength they evince on these recordings is something else altogether. The edgy motion on something like "Monkey Murders" is all the more noticeable given the band’s smooth ensemble work, reminiscent of The Wailers and other great reggae bands. The tinny concert recordings highlight how tight was the group’s vocal work but given the age of the recordings too, the sound is remarkably full with dub-like effects, particularly crucial for the sound of band that relied so heavily on bass and drums. Would that there was more detail on these live recordings specifically on who was in the band on the later excerpts as personnel had begun to shift by that time, but that shortfall is minor.

The Beat - Peel Sessions and Live Boston (flac 395mb)

Peel Session - November 5, 1979
01 Tears Of A Clown 2:53
02 Ranking Full Stop 3:02
03 Click Click 1:30
04 Mirror In The Bathroom 2:24
05 Big Shot 1:53
Peel Session - September 22, 1980
06 Too Nice To Talk To 4:10
07 Psychedelic Rockers 4:19
08 Monkey Murders 3:12
09 Walk Away 3:13
Peel Session - March 29, 1982
10 Spar Wid Me 3:47
11 End Of The Party 3:01
12 She's Going 2:06
13 Save It For Later 3:09
14 Sole Salvation 2:43
15 Pato And Roger A Go Talk 4:03
Opera House, Boston - November 19, 1982
16 Best Friend 2:59
17 Tears Of A Clown 3:34
18 Twist & Crawl 2:44
19 Get-A-Job/Stand Down Margaret 6:45

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Anonymous said...

Great post, the Selecter AND The Beat :-)
I'd love to hear the Wha'ppen LP again, if you have it.

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for these ska revival records, I have almost all them in vinyl and is great to have them digital for the mp3 player, and to complete the ones I missed, money was what was...

Thanks again.

Tomás from Madrid

AJ said...

Hi Rho,
Can you re-up the Selector LP's?

Many thanks

AJ said...

Hi Rho,
Many thanks for the Beat re-ups as well. Celebrate The Bullet link isn't working.


Rho said...

Its working now AJ, case of forgetting to enter the new link

AJ said...

Thanks Rho

Anonymous said...

please reup the Selecter CDs

Anonymous said...

Thank you and merry christmas!