Love it or hate it, Record Store Day has become an important fixture on the music-related calendar. From humble beginnings with a few bits and bobs to entice people into independent record shops, it’s now become a huge business tool, giving major labels an excuse to reissue all kinds of stuff. While it now seems more about a money making venture than to highlight small business, there’s still some cool stuff to be found. Never more so than for the 2020 event, where there are a truckload of artificially created rarities that look like lovely items for the keener fan.
Over the past few years, The Selecter have gone from strength to strength. The 2-Tone legends have released two critically acclaimed albums in 2015’s ‘Subculture’ and 2017’s ‘Daylight’, but in addition, founding members Pauline Black and Arthur ‘Gaps’ Hendrickson have been permanently on the road.
They’ve toured the UK several times and even taken their show across the Atlantic. Moving into 2019, things show no sign of slowing down.
Following the massive success of a lengthy European tour, ska legends The Selecter and The Beat will be taking their show across to North America.
Both bands have recorded new material in recent years. The Selecter’s ‘Daylight’ was released in 2017 and with their essential ‘Subculture’ LP hitting the shelves just a couple of years previously, Pauline Black and company are as busy as they’ve ever been. The Beat, meanwhile, are the version of the band featuring Ranking Roger and his son Ranking Jnr. Their 2016 LP ‘Bounce’ is a fine return for the band and their current live show is absolutely incendiary. If you’re a fan of second wave ska, seeing them is an absolute must.
If you grew up in the 1970s or 1980s in South East England, you’ll almost certainly have a fond memory of Margate. It probably involves a day trip to the beach, a bag of chips and a visit to the Dreamland Amusement Park. The town fell on hard times in the 90s, but with the opening of the Turner Contemporary art gallery and the arrival of small cafe’s and boutiques in the Old Town, things began to improve. The grand re-opening of Dreamland as a retro theme park was an essential part of the regeneration and has been great for the town. Its recently renovated facade in blue and yellow neon shines out over the sea and the seafront, once again, looks proud of itself. In addition to the theme park, the Dreamland complex includes a retro roller rink, a period restored ballroom and an upstairs area dubbed The Hall By The Sea for hosting live music. It’s almost certainly better than it ever was. Dreamland is brilliant and you shouldn’t let people try and convince you otherwise, especially those who haven’t actually been to Margate since 1996.
The British ska revival of the late 70s was an exciting time. The short-lived 2-Tone label (founded by The Specials’ Jerry Dammers) was home to arguably some of the greatest music to come from the UK. Over the course of three years, with a mix of good-time party music and political messages, The Specials, The Selecter and The Beat became hugely popular, and although they moved away from their ska roots quicker than most, Madness became one of the most popular British pop bands of all time.