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ARTIST – The Selecter
ALBUM – Selected Selecter Selections
YEAR – 1989

I didn’t know too much about the history of this band ’til recently. I’ve become rather fond of their past and what they represented. According to research, they’re from the late seventies, from London. Now, what originally drew me to this band was the ska sound and a soft spot I have for female vocals. It is – and this is not to sound chauvinistic – hard to come by good female rock vocalists. It just is.

Anyways, I first came across The Selecter, of course, very late and long after their demise as a group. It was viewing probably my favourite skate video VG4 – VideoGroove 4 – Puppets of Destiny. This series of videos had a small part dedicated to profiling upcoming talents – in this case, my favourite skater at the time, John Starr. Actually, there’s another skate video with a cool John Starr part with another awesome song, by one of the all time most underappreciated bands, The Kinks. But that’s a completely different story.

Let’s talk ska, let’s get into this Coventry vibe. This album, the one I’ve owned since 1994, is brilliant. It’s a sort of compilation, a best of. Star to finish mastery of the genre. Such a vibe, timeless, I’d say. It is pretty nostalgic coming back to this, even if I didn’t hear them while they were “in”. Still, it brings back good times. How can it not bring back pleasant emotions???!!! Listen to them!!! It’s all about ska and really, really cool and funky grooves. Those cool guitar streaks and mini-solos. Great!

There’s a whole bunch of people in the band, and, where in some occasions this is prone to a messy outcome, this grouping is genius, very elaborate and perfectly put together. All the pieces seem to make up an array of sounds and, at times, wander off into trippy territory. This is all balanced out by the guitar and its ska rhythm, consistent and steady.

The line up. Probably their most famous track is the first one on this album, “Too Much Pressure”. A 10!!! Doesn’t it bother you that they’re from England, of all places???!!! Well, it does me. Nothing against the Brits. It’s this sound – how could something like this have come from such a place and at such a time? This was around the same time one of the greatest bands ever to have walked the earth were around, Joy Division. Post-punk, etc. Well, The Selecter got it right. If you could sum up what this band was, this song would probably do it. My personal favourite, obviously, if you’ve seen John Starr profile video, is… “Out on the Streets Again”. Damn, this is such a good song. The soothing guitar introduction is perfect. Pauline Black’s sweet, tender, but matter of fact voice is at its best here – like a vibrant, yet contained posture. Brilliant. I can right tons more about this song. But I have to wrap this up. So, here are just another reccomendations. “Murder” is another powerful ska tune. The chorus “If I had a pair of wings, I would fly away…” by Pauline, what can I say. Just listen to it. A cool, contemplative song, very 80s sounding is “Celebrate the Bullet”. Another 10! Really mellow and sort of Devoesque, if you know what I mean. “Three Minute Hero” is also pretty cool – wait ’til the sax solo. Now, go check this band out. These guys will really be worth your while. Cheers…

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