Saturday, May 21, 2011


This all started inauspiciously enough. I ran into a post of M.I.A. with the Specials [sic] doing the Spectral Display song, "It Takes a Muscle." That was going to be it. After enjoying the clip, I began wondering how many of the original Specials were playing. Terry Hall wasn't there, but that could have been because M.I.A. had the vocals covered. One person who definitely wasn't there was Jerry Dammers; to me, the heart and soul of the original Specials. When they split up, Dammers formed Special AKA ("Free Nelson Mandela") and Hall went and started Fun Boy 3 ("Our Lips Are Sealed" know, drek). You could stop right there. Forget the other members. No Dammers, no Specials.

You can see where this is going. A quick peek at a M.I.A. video turned into Dammers Appreciation Hour. After the M.I.A. and Specials video, I decided to start at the beginning, with the Specials as they were. Then a quick jaunt by Special AKA (avoiding Fun Boy 3 all together), and then, the most anticipated part; Jerry Dammers' Spatial AKA Orchestra, often described as a cross between the Specials and Sun Ra. I'd read about them, but not heard them. Dammers' site has four videos, but I've been unable to find any mp3s, or even a CD to buy. So all I have to go on is the videos, which are undeniably boss.

Thirty years cannot be covered in a few links. Nonetheless, here's a bunch of stuff, documenting why exactly it is, that nothing ever gets done around here.

M.I.A. - It Takes a Muscle mp3 at 8106
MIA w/the Specials - It Takes a Muscle (live, 2010) mp3 at Sheen Beaston
The Specials - A Message To You Rudy mp3 at Town Full of Losers
The Specials - Ghost Town mp3 at BlahBlahBlahScience
Special AKA - Free Nelson Mandela mp3 at Contort
Sun Ra - Rocket #9 mp3 at L'Homme Scalp
Sun Ra - UFO mp3 at Destination Out
M.I.A. with the Specials - It Takes a Muscle (live) at YouTube
The Specials - Ghost Town at YouTube
Special AKA - Free Nelson Mandela (live, with Elvis Costello) at YouTube
The Specials - Gangsters (2009) at YouTube
Jerry Dammers' Spatial AKA Orchestra - Ringo Rock at YouTube
Jerry Dammers' Spatial AKA Orchestra - Sabayinda at YouTube
Jerry Dammer's Spatial AKA Orchestra - Where Pathways Meet at YouTube
Sun Ra - Space Is the Place (film intro) at YouTube
Sun Ra Arkestra - Live, 1981 at YouTube
Jerry Dammers' Spatial AKA Orchestra official site
The Specials official site
The Spatial AKA Orchestra at Wikipedia

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