The Selecter

Live from London

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Famously, the Selecter were pressed on vinyl before the band even existed. Once they actually formed, though, they swiftly became a pivotal piece of the Two-Tone puzzle, until frontwoman Pauline Black's departure brought the group to the ground in 1981. She resurrected the Selecter in the early '90s with a new lineup, and they've been going strong ever since, although their sound, not surprisingly, has somewhat changed from what they pumped out in their checker-boarded days. Live from London, recorded in 2002, captures the group on-stage at London's Dingwalls club, opening for Jamaican legend Desmond Dekker. To please this packed house, Selecter stick with the tried-and-true: a 75-minute set packed with hits and fan faves culled from their first two albums. And while the bouncy reggae and punchy ska styling of yore is still much in evidence, especially across the high-energy, final third of the set, a clutch of numbers turn the old arrangements on their heads. Shifting the emphasis from the adamant rhythms to lead guitarist Toby Hoskin, "Missing Words" is reinvented as a haunting, proto-goth number, with a syncopated beat. Hoskin's wah-wah guitar sears the rootsy, dubby remodel of "Celebrate the Bullet," and bubbles forth during the cover of the Ethiopians' "Train to Skaville" that agilely shifts between funk and prog rock. There's no messing with "Carry Go Bring Come," another blast from Jamaica's past, along with "My Sweet Collie," a version of Millie's "My Bob Lollipop." "Too Much Pressure" was one of their own, but here they gracefully twin it with the Maytals' "Pressure Drop." It's a sensational mix, bringing together the band's own hits,

classic Jamaican smashes, and a sublime interweaving of their old sound and newer stylings. The audience loved it, and so will you. A brief biography is also featured, as well as a lengthy interview with Black herself. After all this time, these "Three Minute Heroes" are still going strong.

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