Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Ska Week: The Selecter

Guitarist Noel Davies of the Selecter was a pal of Specials keyboard player and 2 Tone founder Jerry Dammers. So, when Dammers set about releasing the first single for the label and ran out of cash after recording just one song (The Specials' "Gangster"), he asked Davies if he had anything for the flip side. Davies had a home recording of an instrumental that became "The Selecter." About 5,000 copies of the 45 were pressed in 1979, and 2 Tone was born.

By 1980, Davies and six others, including the charismatic Pauline Black on vocals, would release the album 'Too Much Pressure,' as the Selecter. Although 'Too Much Pressure' is a pivotal piece of the genre, Davies quickly grew tired of the scene in general and 2 Tone in particular, calling it "just a successful pop label." I guess a chain of UK top 10 hits was too much for the outsider artist. Members defected even before a second album, 'Celebrate the Bullet,' was released. By 1982, the Selecter called it quits.

Here are my five favorite Selecter songs. I start with that B side from 1979. The other four songs come from 'Too Much Pressure.' "Three Minute Hero" deserves top 5 status, but I skipped it since I included the live version from 'Dance Craze' in yesterday's post.

The Selecter Top 5
The Selecter - The Selecter (mp3)
The Selecter - Missing Words (mp3)
The Selecter - On My Radio (mp3)
The Selecter - Too Much Pressure (mp3)
The Selecter - Carry Go Bring Home (mp3)

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