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Specialized was first conceived in September 2011 after its creator Paul Williams saw a TV programme about the care of young people on the NHS.
“We will all be touched by cancer in our lifetime but when it is our youth afflicted with such a struggle it makes it that much harder to fathom. After learning about the incredible services that the Teenage Cancer Trust provides for youth with cancer, I was honoured when they asked The Specials to play their Royal Albert Hall Benefit concert. We are proud to support them again by endorsing the charitable Specials cover compilation album ‘SPECIALIZED’, with proceeds to benefiting the Teenage Cancer Trust. If we all just do a little, it could do so much in these young people’s lives.”
Lynval Golding (The Specials)
A brief introduction to Specialized…
The Specialized Project was conceived by Paul Williams (promoter, music consultant, specials2.com administrator and Specials biographer) in September 2011 after watching a TV program about young people with cancer in the United Kingdom.
At that point, The Specials had just played a prestigious gig at The Royal Albert Hall in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust charity. This inspired Paul to come up with the idea for an album containing cover versions of songs by The Specials but recorded by modern day artists.
It wasn’t to be just about ska bands however; Paul drew from a wide spectrum of musical genres and very soon Specialized – A Modern Take on Specials Classics was born… and yes, that ‘Z’ was intentional as it was thought to be more striking cosmetically!
Pauls zest for the music is the hallmark of the Project – without him Specialized would simply never have happened.
A Modern Take on Specialized Classics: A tribute to The Specials
So a year after its inception, A Modern Take on Specials Classics was released.
It featured more than 30 bands and singers, all of who being friends or fans of The Specials wanted to get involved and contribute a track to this very special tribute album.
A few 2-Tone legends such as Rhoda Daker and Rico Rodriguez made guest appearances and Specials bass player Horace Panter wrote the album’s sleeve notes. Every single penny that was raised from sales of this new compilation CD went to Teenage Cancer Trust.
The album contains previously unheard tracks, all of which were commissioned especially for project. It is truly heart-warming to think that all the acts gave up their time and energy to pull off some superb and unusual versions in homage to one of their favourite bands. There are also established artists such as Roland Gift (Fine Young Cannibals), former members of Bad Manners and The Selecter, and even some of The Specials’ brass section appeared. Added to this, two more bands fresh from their support slots on The Specials 2011 Tour – By The Rivers & Stone Foundation – also appeared, each with their own modern take.
This limited edition, 40 track double CD not only includes tracks from current Ska bands, but it also boasts Specials’ classics recorded by artists from many other genres ranging from indie, punk, folk, electronic to rap and dance.
More about the Special-Ized – A Modern Take On Specials’ Classics album here
The Big One Festival
The inaugural Big One festival took place during the second weekend of November at The Sandford Holiday Park in Dorset. It featured The Stone foundation, Splodgenessabounds and The Specialized Allstars who was made up of Lynval Golding, Horace Panter, Jon Read, Nikolaj Larsen and Tim Smart from The Specials along with Winston Reedy.
Vinyl Record Releases
Jump Up Records in the USA released a 7” vinyl EP of four tracks taken from the Specialized album. It featured King Hammond, The Hotknives, Crabs Corporation, The Values feat. Roland Gift, Lee Thompson (Madness) with Neil Innes & Mark ‘Bedders’ Bedford (Madness).
A non-ska 7” vinyl EP was also released featuring Bluebird Parade, Lushy & This Modern Youth.
In addition, a 13 track white vinyl limited edition of the album was also released.
Fund Raising Total
During this first year of the Specialized Project, we were delighted to announce that all the fundraising, donations, sales of merchandise, etc. raised an absolutely mind-blowing total of £25,000!!! All proceeds were given to the Teenage Cancer Trust.