Specials: half-speed mastered 2LP vinyl

Chrysalis Records are planning a campaign of 2 Tone remasters and reissues and are starting with a 40th anniversary half-speed mastered 2LP vinyl edition of The Specials 1979 self-titled debut album.

Chrysalis Records was the original home of the 2 Tone label (founded by The Specials’ Jerry Dammers) and indeed, the label’s first album release was Specials.

The band were made up of seven people Dammers (keyboards), Terry Hall (vocals), Neville Staples (vocals), Lynval Golding (rhythm guitar), Roddy ‘Radiation’ Byers (lead guitar), ‘Sir’ Horace ‘Gentleman’ Panter (bass) and John Bradbury (drums), along with Jamaican ska trombonist Rico Rodriguez and trumpeter Dick Cuthell 

The album was produced by Elvis Costello and reached number four in the charts. The ‘Too Much Too Young’ EP (which featured a live version of that song) went to number one. It was the third single from the album and of course The Specials were destined to have another UK number one with ‘Ghost Town’ in 1981.

The new 40th anniversary 2LP vinyl edition has been mastered at Abbey Road Studios by Miles Showell and is a straight half-speed vinyl cut from the original master tapes, split over two 45RPM 12” vinyl, housed in wide spine LP.

Specials will be released on 11 October 2019.

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The Specials

Specials 2LP half-speed master


Side One

A Message To You, Rudy
Do The Dog
It’s Up To You
Nite Klub

Side Two

Doesn’t Make It Alright
Concrete Jungle
Too Hot

Side Three

Monkey Man
(Dawning Of A) New Era
Blank Expression
Stupid Marriage

Side Four

Too Much Too Young
Little Bitch
You’re Wondering Now

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Kevin Wollenweber

Well, this sounds wonderful for the vinyl buyers. I’d love to get myself a remastered CD copy of this album, but I missed the last incarnation of this album, so I guess this is the last time it will ever be available and now, the CD issue is totally out of circulation.

Tom Hermance

My old copy is completely worn out & I’m really excited about this release. 45rpm sounds so much better (& have a wider dynamic range) then 33rpm & analog from the master tapes! This was well worth the wait.


The main reason that there has always been a lack of ‘unreleased’ tracks on these Specials reissues is because there are none. That’s my understanding anyway.

Matt A

Strange that Dance Craze has never been released on DVD. There were issues with the licensing rights with Madness for the CD in the UK but you wouldn’t imagine that to be insurmountable, particularly considering the decent job Madness have done with their archive.

The Specials and AKA incarnation catalogue has never really been deeply mined. The instrumentals on the In The Studio deluxe were interesting (and really good) but no sign of demos for “96 Tears” or “Sweet Revenge” for The Specials or “Female Chauvinist Pig” for The Special AKA, nor the (possibly mythical) Boiler 12″.


I still have my copy on cassette, and Dance Craze. I’ve added this to my Amazon wish list, would be nice to have, but will happily wait. As others have said I would be really happy to see an updated Dance Craze released.


I was suspicious of half-speed mastered vinyl until yesterday, when my copy of Simple Minds’ New Gold Dream arrived. The high range is outstanding and stereo seperation is so much better than the original. But the Specials album is too short to spread across 4 sides. It would easily fit on single disc with room to spare. I agree with MFG’s comment about including singles and B sides pn a double lp but again, there isn’t enough of them to fill a full lp. They could include the audio from the BBC’s Rock Goes To College broadcast as well and still not fill 2 sides of a disc. So I’ll stick with my standard single disc version thanks.


Finally! I also hope they open the vaults and give us more unreleased stuff, maybe from the dance craze movie with all the songs from the movie plus more. All previous releases with the deluxe treatment of the specials weren’t that satisfying. Nothing more of interest for the real fans. All available before! But for this release and maybe for more specials i am glad they give it a half speed release. The li e it leeds one by the who is worth every Penny, so lets hope for the same for the specials releases!

Dave H

I didn’t realise Chrysalis Records were still going!

If they own the rights, I hope the 40th anniversary of Two Tone will finally bring a blu-ray or 4k release of ‘Dance Craze’ which featured most of the Two Tone bands at their peak. I have the video release but it was pre-dolby stereo audio so it’s only in mono.

Apparently, the audio portion of the movie was mixed at Abbey Road as a type of Dolby Surround but not many theatres at the time had surround facilities. It’ll be great to finally hear the movie as it was supposed to sound.

There’s an interesting article from 2011 about the movie if anyone is interested https://www.in70mm.com/news/2011/dance_craze/index.htm

Matt A

Interesting piece – thanks for sharing.

Not sure we’ll get anything on Dance Craze but there is a 12 x 7″ 2 Tone singles box coming out in November, “curated” by Jerry Dammers (posted this yesterday but not sure where it’s gone!)

Ian Harris

I wish someone would do a deluxe CD reissue of the 2nd Fun Boy Three album, Waiting. It’s been out of print for ages and the EMI Gold CD from the 1990s sounds thin.


I was lucky enough to catch one of the Coventry Cathedral shows this summer – absolutely stunning. We need the Specials more than ever now – and this album sounds as fresh as it did in 79.

David Cornyn

Do you think the Dandy Warhols might have heard Little Bitch before?


I would prefer it as I have it already. Single disc vinyl. Who nesds to keep flipping it over after a few short songs? Will it really improve the sound quality that much?


Agreed, single LP would be better. Or, for a double LP, include the Too Much Too Young EP and the Gangsters single.

andrew r

In the case of this lp , you are right as it wasn’t the best recording sonically to begin with . We were still in the days of get the music down, get it out . Production quality was frowned on post punk.Just another reason to move product methinks

Michael John

It’s all subjective, right? Personally, I’ve always noticed improved sound quality of 12-inch/LPs that play at 45 rpm. I remember having to remind myself to turn down the volume when putting on a 45 rpm 12-inch if I had just played a 33 1/3 rpm vinyl. I’m sure there’s actual science involved that someone much smarter than me could explain.

I’ll also go on record, no pun intended, regarding half speed masters. I have more than a few of these now and have only not been blown away once or twice.


maybe better sound quality, maybe not, but at least you will get a little extra exercise flipping them.