Jimmy Cliff did it. Bob Marley and the Wailers did it, too. So it should come as no surprise that the Specials have moved, musically, from ska to reggae.
As the leaders of the "2-Tone" movement, which also included Madness and the English Beat, the Specials helped revive ska in England in the late '70s and early '80s.The band subsequently toured as the Specials AKA and the Special Beat but regrouped in 1994 with four original members (vocalists Lynval Golding and Neville Staples, guitarist Roddy "Radiation" Byers and bass guitarist Horace Panter) and played to packed houses in a U.S. tour.
The Specials will headline a Wednesday, June 26, concert with Buck-O-Nine at the State Fairpark Horticulture Building.
But as members of the band have grown older, they've also come to appreciate the slowed-down tempos of reggae, Panter said. The group's new album, "Today's Specials," features covers of old reggae and other tunes, including songs by Bob Marley and the Wailers, Toots and the Maytals, the Clash and the Monkees.
"We came back revitalized. On the (1994) tour we had been talking about our favorite tunes and ideas of songs that we could cover in our own style," Panter said. "The Specials were always about bringing disparate influences together, and some of the ideas were pretty wild. We thought it would be a good idea for an album."
Byers agreed, saying that members are "not trying to pretend that we have re-created the old Specials."
"But we are more than happy that there are plenty of the original ingredients, energy and ideals in the mix," Byers said.
Locals Stretch Magnifico will open the concert, a Scott Arnold production, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $13.50 in advance from all Graywhale CD Exchange locations, Modified Music, Cosmic Aeroplane and Crandall Audio in Orem.