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3.0 out of 5 stars Too Much Of A Gentleman?, 22 April 2014
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This review is from: Ska'd for Life: A Personal Journey with The Specials: A Personal Journey with the "Specials" (Kindle Edition)
This is a breathless, sweat-drenched gallop through The Specials' success story and the birth of 2 Tone, seen through the eyes of Stephen Panter, AKA Sir Horace Gentleman, AKA The Special AKA's bassist. Thirty five years on, it's amazing how quickly Jerry Dammers and the rest of the "Fun-Boy-Seven" (or was it nine?) shot to fame and then self-destructed. By the time of their first hit and debut appearance on Top Of The Pops, they were already in the middle of the tour that burnt them out before they had started, almost, and Sir Horace comes across as the man-in-the-middle caught between increasing band rivalries and cliques. So this is fascinating for anyone who remembers those times or who loves 2 Tone. All the essential music industry strands are here, from idealistic starting points, to interacting with fans and the media, rubbish transport, fallings-out with management, hotel escapades, bitching about rival bands, squabbles over royalties, jostling for song-writing credits, etc etc. Our author comes across as a genuine nice guy, providing the driving rhythm that is the heart-beat for a ska band, and a fan's eye view of life on- and back-stage generally. Perhaps, though, in the end, he is just a bit TOO nice and dances over the exact details of why Terry really fell out with Jerry and all the other dirt - the gritty truth that, say, Morrissey, goes out his way to focus on in his autobiography, which is what would have made this an even more compelling read.
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Location: Richmond

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