It’s been a great year at Real Gone. Not only did the website celebrate its tenth birthday, but we got more requests and submissions for review than ever! This year, everything felt like it had truly come together and paved the way for the next phase of the website’s lifespan.
This year, Real Gone received hundreds upon hundreds of review items and digital streams. Obviously, there isn’t enough time to review everything…but from the mountain of stuff we got to listen to and review, there was a lot of great music.
We’ve hit December 2019 and that can mean only one thing. It’s time for The Real Gone Advent Calendar!
As is traditional, over the next twenty four days, we’ll be posting a new link. It might be a video. It might be audio only. It might be an old favourite. It might be something brand new and unfamiliar. The only way to find out is by coming back each day and opening a new window.
Neville Staple is a man who needs no introduction. A pivotal member of the original Specials and a pivotal figure from the UK’s second wave of ska, Staple has long been considered a legend.
In 2018, the “original rude boy” released the album ‘Rude Rebels’ with his wife Sugary Staple and former bandmate Roddy Radiation, to some acclaim.
He returns with a non-album single, ‘Put Away Your Knives’, which as its title suggests is a message of warning to all regarding a rise in knife crime. Produced by Dandy Livingstone (performer of the classics ‘Reggae In Your Jeggae’ and ‘Suzanne, Beware of the Devil), the tune is structured around his own ‘A Message To You, Rudy’, as reworked by The Specials themselves in 1979.
In 2008, the original Specials (minus founding member Jerry Dammers) performed at Bestival. The event was quickly heralded by fans as an amazing experience and the following year, the band embarked upon a massive tour. For many, it was the ultimate nostalgia trip; for younger fans, a very welcome – and unexpected – chance to see the band fronted by the legendary Terry Hall, something unseen since the very early 80s. Sure, the band had made albums with varying line-ups throughout the years and even put on a great live show fronted by Neville Staple in the late 90s, but the classic line up of the Specials was special for a reason. A second full tour in 2011 was captured for posterity on the double disc ‘More or Less…The Specials Live’, giving those who couldn’t make the shows in person their own chance to hear Terry “enjoying himself first”.
Most would’ve predicted the reunion would then fizzle, but over the next few years, other live shows followed. Finally, in 2018, almost a decade on from the big reunion, there were mumblings of a new album on the horizon.
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.