The Specials

Ghost Town [ep]

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The original band's crowning achievement, this EP is an indispensable part of the Specials' canon. Jerry Dammers' "Ghost Town" chronicles the twin calamities of race-related violence and unemployment that exploded in England in 1981. Lynval Golding's "Why" carries on the theme, characterizing racists as "sheep inna wolf clothes." Winding up is Terry Hall's miniature kitchen sink drama "Friday Night Saturday Morning" (its title a variation on "angry young man" novelist Alan Sillitoe's "Saturday Night and Sunday Morning"), which concludes with the comically poignant "Wish I had lipstick on my shirt/Instead of piss stains on my shoes." Together the three songs perfectly encapsulate a grim moment in U.K. history.

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