The Specials (or The Special AKA as they were known occasionally) were arguably the most influential band of the late 70s/early 80s. Formed in 1977, two years prior to Thatcher's government, it was the bands ability to mix diverse musical styles (ska, punk, reggae, rockabilly) and turn them into something immesely enjoyable which endeared them to their legions of fans, couple this together with a message of racial harmony and anti-establishment sentiments and you are just scraping the surface of the power this band had.
The Specials were the brainchild of Jerry Dammers, who formed his own record label and managed to recruit other, like minded bands (such as Madness, The Beat, The Bodysnatchers, The Selecter) with a view to forming a 'collective' of musicians, all with something to say to the youth of Thatcher's Britain. Hence, 'Two Tone' was born.
This album puts together the obligatory singles and tracks from the first three Specials albums (Specials, More Specials and In The Studio) together with a DVD of videos for singles and footage of live performances. If, like me, you are an avid fan then this is only worth buying for the (as far as I am aware) otherwise unavailable DVD as I have all the other tracks on the digitally remastered albums, but for this price the DVD on it's own is a bargain.
If you are interested in The Specials and want to grab a cross section of their work then this is a great starting point and it does contain a number of album tracks which deserve to be heard (e.g. Nite Klub, Blank Expression, Stereotypes etc.)
All in all a fantastic cross section of The Specials' work and a great way to brush up before the hugely anticipated tour in the autumn of 2008 with all the original band members(fingers crossed that it goes ahead).