The Specials

A Message to You Rudy

Song Review by

The Specials followed up the success of their debut single, "Gangsters" with the double A-sided single, "A Message to You Rudy"/"Nite Klub" in the fall of 1979. They had opened their account with a song that borrowed liberally from Prince Buster, now they would pay tribute to the Jamaican born, but

British hitmaker Dandy Livingstone.

His rocksteady classic may not have made the pop charts, but it sold in vast quantities throughout the expatriate West Indian community and was a sound system favorite. The Specials are remarkably faithful to Livingstone's original, giving it just a bit of a kick in the production and mix. The joint vocals, however, give it a bit of a twist, further emphasizing the anthemic qualities of the number.

However, it was the appearance of former Skatalite trombonist Rico Rodriguez and his long-time friend Dick Cuthell on cornet that drove home the Jamaican feel of this sublime single. And with that The Specials took their Two Tone message straight into the Top 10.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
The Specials 1979 2-Tone 2:52
This Are Two Tone 1983
Various Artists
Chrysalis Records 2:54
The Singles Collection 1991 2-Tone 2:53
The Two Tone Compilation: A Checkered Past 1993
Various Artists
Chrysalis Records 2:51
No Image 1994
Various Artists
Virgin
Best Reggae Album in the World...Ever!, Pt. 2 [Virgin #1] 1994
Various Artists
Virgin 2:54
New Wave Hits [Cema] 1995
Various Artists
EMI-Capitol Special Markets 2:52
This Is Ska 1995
Various Artists
Cleopatra 2:49
Grosse Pointe Blank -- More Music from the Film 1997
Original Soundtrack
Polygram 2:53
No. 1 Ska Album 1997
Various Artists
Polygram 2:55
Ska Trax: New Generation 1998
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 2:56
The Best Ska Album in the World Ever 1998
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 2:54
Ska: The Second Wave 1998
Various Artists
Beloved Records 2:53
No Image 1998
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 2:55
Ruder Than You: Ska Dance Hits 1999
Various Artists
EMI-Capitol Special Markets / CEMA Special Markets
British Ska 1999
Various Artists
Hidden Water 2:55
Best Of 1999 Disky 2:52
Essential Eighties 2, Vol. 2 1999
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 2:53
A Room for Romeo Brass 2000
Original Soundtrack
Milan 2:55
Very Best of the Specials and Fun Boy Three 2000 Cleopatra 2:49
Above and Beyond: The Second Wave of Ska 2000
Various Artists
Blue Moon 2:53
Ghost Town 2000 Cherry Red 2:49
Greatest Hits of the 70's [Disky Box] 2000
Various Artists
Disky 2:55
Ska Box Anthology 2001
Various Artists
Big Eye Music 2:47
Complete Collection 2001
Various Artists
Disky 2:55
No Image 2001
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 2:53
Best of Ska [Disky] 2002
Various Artists
Disky 2:53
Ska's Greatest Stars 2002 Big Eye Music 2:49
Greatest Hits of the '70s Videos 2002
Various Artists
Disky
Specials/More Specials 2002 EMI / EMI Gold / EMI Music Distribution
Essential Eighties, Vol. 2 2002
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 2:53
Best of the 70's [EMI Gold] 2002
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 2:55
Totally 2 Tone 2002
Various Artists
EMI 2:56
No Image 2003
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 2:53
No Image 2004
Various Artists
EMI
Absolutely the Best of Modern Rock 2004
Various Artists
Fuel 2000 2:55
The 80's DVD Jukebox 2004
Various Artists
Classic Pictures
Blank Expression: Receiver Years 2004 Castle Music Ltd.
No Image 2005 Disky
Stereo-Typical: A's, B's and Rarities 2005 Chrysalis Records
Ska: A.K.A. 2005
Various Artists
Crimson Productions 2:54
This Is Ska and Reggae Roots 2005
Various Artists
Goldenlane 2:51
Cool Britannia [Disky] 2005
Various Artists
Disky
Best of 1978 & 1979 2005
Various Artists
Disky 2:53
Reggae Steady Ska 2005
Various Artists
Disky
Back to Mine 2006 DMC 2:50
Greatest Hits of the 70's 2006
Various Artists
Disky Communications 0:00
Greatest Hits 2006 Big Eye Music / Cleopatra 2:47
101 80's Hits [EMI] 2007
Various Artists
Virgin / EMI 2:52
100 Por Ciento Puro Reggae 2007
Various Artists
Contrasena 2:51
Reggae Band 2007
Various Artists
Unimar Music
101 Jukebox Classics 2007
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 2:52
Les Invincibles 2007
Original Soundtrack
WEA International 0:00
We Own the Night 2007
Original Soundtrack
Lakeshore Records 2:53
The Original 70s Box Set 2007
Various Artists
EMI 2:55
Where Were You: 1980 2008
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 2:55
The Best of the Specials 2008 Chrysalis Records 2:52
Summer Reggae [Caroline World Service] 2008
Various Artists
Caroline World Service / Parlophone / Warner Music 2:51
No Image 2008
Various Artists
Rhino
Original Hits: 70s 2009
Various Artists
EMI / EMI Music Distribution 2:55
Super Hits of the '80s into the '90s 2009
Various Artists
Cleopatra
Top of the Pops: Punk & New Wave 2009
Various Artists
EMI Gold / EMI Music Distribution
The Ultimate Seventies Hits 2010
Various Artists
EMI 2:54
100 Reggae & Ska Hits 2011
Various Artists
Goldenlane 2:46
100 Hits: Super 70s 2011
Various Artists
Demon / EMI Music Distribution 2:56
70s Summer Party 2011
Various Artists
EMI / EMI Gold 2:55
The Seventies Album [Rhino] 2015
Various Artists
Rhino 2:52
'80s [Cleopatra]
Various Artists
Cleopatra 2:47
70 Hits of the '70s [Rhino]
Various Artists
Rhino
80's [Cleopatra]
Various Artists
Cleopatra 2:47
Classic Summer
Various Artists
Universal
Greatest Ever! Mod
Various Artists
Union Square Music 2:52
No Image
Various Artists
EMI Gold 2:51
Now That's What I Call Reggae Party
Various Artists
Now! 2:52
Ska Explosion [Rhino]
Various Artists
Rhino 2:53
Summer BBQ Party
Various Artists
Rhino
The 80s [EMI 1999]
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution
The Best of 2 Tone [Chrysalis]
Various Artists
2-Tone / Chrysalis Records 2:53
The Best of 2 Tone [Rhino]
Various Artists
Parlophone / Warner Music 2:53
The Essential Movies
Various Artists
Rhino 2:53
Ultimate New-Wave
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution