Last weekend saw Special Kinda Madness making one of their longest treks of the year Special Kinda Madness play te=he Marlborough Hall in Halifaxto a gig all the way up the A1 to Halifax in West Yorkshire.

It was a reprise of our gig there last year, although at a different venue. Last year’s gig was held in the Halifax Boxing Club which had a feel of a rave about it, with lots of exposed brick walls and railings (it was a converted warehouse).

This year’s gig was held at the Marlborough Hall, which is now part of the YMCA in Halifax. The Marlborough Hall has a rich heritage of music performance, particularly in the 1960s. It was run by the Crabtree brothers for a while. You will probably know Shirley Crabtree better as Big Daddy, the wrestler. Read More

Specials album coverEach week Don Letts of Radio 6 selects a piece of Crucial Vinyl (he calls it his C.V.) from his collection, that has moved him and shaped his musical taste. He picks three tracks from it, and explains why it means so much to him.

This week, it’s the 1979 debut by the Specials.

Don says, “The release of the Specials’ self-titled debut album was key for the UK ska revival. This was music made by the people for the people, and, for a brief while, it was all about 2 Tone.

Produced by Elvis Costello, and fuelled by the energy and attitude of punk, the band re-worked original 1960’s Jamaican ska. Too Much Too Young was actually a version of an earlier hit called Birth Control, and there were also straight-up covers: Toots and the Maytals’ Monkey Man and Dandy Livingstone’s A Message To You Rudy. Read More

The Dublin Castle in Camden is undoubtedly the home of Madness. The Nutty Boys grew up in the area and was one of the first pubs that they performed in. Even now, they are often to be seen either drinking or playing there. Both Lee Thompson and Woody have recently played there with their own bands.

Special Kinda Madness played there last year and sold the place out many months in advance. This year’s gig on April 11th also sold out very quickly, so the band have added another date – Sunday 3rd May. This is the Sunday of the May Day Bank Holiday, so no work the next day for most people!

Tickets are just £10 in advance and are available from Don’t wait too long though as this will sell out in advance. Read More

Gus at the Dublin CastleGus is Special Kinda Madness’ official mascot. He has over 300 likes on his Facebook page, pushing 200 followers on Twitter, and a growing Instagram account.

He has proved himself to be a very a popular part of Special Kinda Madness.  Gus currently resides in Ruislip, Middlesex. Read More

Walt JabscoIf somebody asked you to describe the image of 2-Tone, what would you say? Black and white checks? Pork pie hats? Loafer shoes? Probably all of those things, I would guess.

Some of those images come from the iconic Walt Jabsco character ultimately created by John Sims (Teflon), but initiated by the Specials’ ‘General’ Jerry Dammers and bassist Horace Panter. Horace was an art student himself before joining the Specials, but it was Jerry Dammers who had the very clear idea in his mind of what 2-Tone stood for and how it should be represented. Read More