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Protest Songs 1924-2012 by The Specials

The Specials

Protest Songs 1924-2012

Release Date: Oct 1, 2021

Genre(s): Pop/Rock

Record label: Island


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Album Review: Protest Songs 1924-2012 by The Specials

Very Good, Based on 2 Critics

musicOMH.com - 70
Based on rating 3.5

It is, of course, hugely appropriate that The Specials should tackle a cover album consisting entirely of protest songs. They recorded Free Nelson Mandela, which became an iconic anthem in freeing the future South African President, produced Ghost Town, which became synonymous with the 1981 riots in Brixton and Toxteth, and were instrumental in forming movements such as Rock Against Racism. Now, with the country more bitterly divided on political grounds than ever before, there seems to be a dearth of protest singers, with the exception of the excellent Grace Petrie.

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Record Collector
Opinion: Excellent

Events on two separate fronts conspired to dictate how The Specials would follow Encore, their acclaimed studio "comeback" album. Both singer-guitarist Lynval Golding and bassist Horace Panter (as well as others among their supporting musicians of choice) fell foul of Covid, preventing close-quarters contact to work on original material; at the same time, the headlines were dominated by all manner of high-profile activism - 2020 will be remembered by many as a year of protest. It's fitting, therefore, that the makers of Ghost Town, the last chart-topper that can be clearly identified as a protest song, should delve deep into the history of musical agitprop for a record that, to borrow a phrase from BBC founder Lord Reith, informs, educates and entertains.

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