The Specials – More Specials (1980)

AllMusic Review: Less frenzied than its predecessor, but more musically adventurous, More Specials was nearly as popular in its day as its predecessor, falling just one chart place below their debut. It kicked off in similar fashion as well, with a classic cover, this time with an exuberant take on Carl Sigman and Conrad Magidson’s 1940s chestnut “Enjoy Yourself.” A slower, brooding version with the Go-Go’s in tow brings the album to a close, taking the place of the set-sealing “You’re Wondering Now,” which brought the curtain down on their first set. But there the similarities come to an end. The rest of the album is comprised of originals, including a pair of instrumentals — the Northern soul-esque “Sock It to ‘Em JB” and the Mexican-flavored “Holiday Fortnight” — as well as a duo of minimally vocalized pieces, the intriguing “International Jet Set,” and the overtly apocalyptic “Man at C&A.” But fans had already been primed for the band’s changing musical directions by the release the month before of “Stereotypes,” its spaghetti western aura filled with the group’s more mournful mood. It’s an emotional despair taken to even greater heights on “Do Nothing,” as the group futilely searches for a future, but musically stumbles upon a cheery, easygoing rhythm more appropriate to the pop styles of the English Beat than the angrier sounds the Specials had made their own. But to prove it’s no fluke, there’s the equally bright and breezy “Hey, Little Rich Girl,” boasting fabulous sax solos from Madness’ Lee Thompson. However, it’s an immortal line from “Pearl’s Cafe” that Terry Hall and the guesting Bodysnatchers’ Rhoda Dakar deliver up in duet that best sums up their own, and the country’s pure frustration: “It’s all a load of bollocks, and bollocks to it all.” It was an intensely satisfying set in its day, even if it wasn’t as centered as their debut. The group seems to be moving simultaneously in too many directions, while the lyrics, too, are not quite as hard-hitting as earlier efforts. —Jo-Ann Greene

Track Listing

Side one

  1. “Enjoy Yourself” (Herb Magidson, Carl Sigman) – 3:39
  2. “Rat Race” (Roddy Byers) – 3:07 – NB: not included on UK release nor Dutch LP
  3. “Man at C & A” (Jerry Dammers, Terry Hall) – 3:36
  4. “Hey, Little Rich Girl” (Roddy Byers) – 3:35 – featuring Lee Jay Thompson
  5. “Do Nothing” (Lynval Golding) – 3:43
  6. “Pearl’s Cafe” (Dammers) – 3:07
  7. “Sock It to ’em J.B.” (Clayton Dunn, Rex Garvin, Pete Holman) – 2:56

Side two

  1. “Stereotypes/Stereotypes Pt. 2” (Dammers, Neville Staple) – 7:24
  2. “Holiday Fortnight” (Byers) – 2:45
  3. “I Can’t Stand It” (Dammers) – 4:01 – featuring Rhoda Dakar
  4. “International Jet Set” (Dammers) – 5:37
  5. “Enjoy Yourself (Reprise)” (Magidson, Sigman) – 1:46


Schill Score: 7.75/10



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