As our last excursion drew upon the demise of The Specials, the next logical step was to cover their successors, beginning with the two tone triumvirate of Terry Hall, Lynval Golding and Neville Staple.
While Dammers and co were regrouping in the studio, Messrs Hall, Golding and Staple developed on the last days of The Specials with their eponymous debut, offering up a claustrophobic collection of dispossessed pop. The band, now bereft of a traditional rock/reggae rhythm section, turned to drum machines and percussion to build up the back-beat, fleshing out the melody with unsettling vocal harmonies, dub poetry and even a bit of rapping.
Straying even further afield from the blue-beatitudes of their past, FB3 teamed up with another music ménage, Bananarama, to deliver a chart storming re-imagining of Ella Fitzgerald’s T’Aint What You Do (It’s The Way That You Do It). An alliance which has often done them an injustice for no reason other than the association with Bananarama’s later saccharine output, suffice to say there’s nothing sweet about the transformation from Ella’s toe-tapper to FB3’s bone rattling rework.
The late Dave Jordan of More Specials infamy produced the LP, letting the boys experiment in the studio, creating the groundbreaking and unmistakably off-centre FB3 sound. Speaking to Lynval recently, he fondly recalled the recording, though regretted missing out on the mixdown process having been stabbed whilst delivering a dubplate of Aint What You Do to his local Coventry night spot.
And on that unpleasant note – on with the Skank Blog selection. Hidden deep within the skeletal skank of xylophones, hissing mechanical hi-hats and staccato piano stabs lies a deep, dubby monster of a track, replete with discordant melodies and guttural wails. I Don’t Believe It is a paranoid beast, housebound, twitching nervously behind net curtains. It’s also downright marvelous…
As you’re probably well aware by now, we like to share a TV clip if we can, in this instance it’s those fun boys performing their neurotic knees-up The Telephone Always Rings on Top Of The Pops, featuring Two Tone associates The Swinging Laurels on brass duties.