Songs The Lord Told Us # 7

In the early days when I begun to run this blog I started a series about songs they were fantastic and mean a lot to me. I don’t know why I stopped it but I think it’s worth to continue this series during the next months. There will be no default concerning temporal classification or music style in this series. Load to you surprise what will soon appear.

Back in 1979 is was for a lot of month in the army. I remember very well what’s new at this year. Dire Straits released their first record and Pink Floyd released their double record The Wall. But I fell in love with Ska and Two Tone when I saw the first time The Specials on German TV. A bunch of black and white boys dressed up like 60s mods made a performance with some reggae influenced music. I didn’t knew much about this music than it’s origin was in Jamaica. And A Message to you, Rudy was my song of the summer and I will always love it. But if anyone would ask me for my favorite Specials song I would say: Listen to the song below.

To understand this song you’ve got to go back in history:
On the 4th of May, 1979 a woman assumes with Margaret Thatcher for the first time in the history of Great Britain the office of the prime minister. She stands for a hard conservative course friendly to economy: She wants no social state, hates the trade unions and attacks migrants. Before the parliamentary elections she stated: »It is no question from the left or on the right, but an objective statement that we too a few do not separate rather too many foreigners have.«

Hardly in the government the »iron lady prescribes« for the social system a rigid shortening programme and makes worse the stay rights for migrants. In the course of her reign she privatises virtually all state enterprises – from the dockyards and ironworks about the coal pits and airports up to the local drinking water care and the public local traffic. After not even two years in the office the Thatcher’s government is one of the unmost popular in the British history. No wonder: In Thatcher’s Great Britain the empires celebrate, the arms become poorer. In 1981 more than twice as many people are without job like with Thatcher’s assumption of office: All together there are 2.7 million unemployed people. The economic crisis meets the British cities in the heart. The formerly flourishing commercial towns of London, Glasgow, Liverpool and Manchester shrink: Empty warehouses, neglected docks, neglected railway area, boarded up stores and unoccupied houses.

The Specials these impressions process in “Ghost Town” musically. The song starts with howling sirens, jangling wind whistle and a dim organ sound: Welcome to the ghost town. The transverse flute breathes the song subject by the boxes. At the latest now everybody thinks of desolate streets, collapsed houses and clattering shutters. However, then charged blowers interrupt crashing the scene as if the Specials wanted to say: »Awake on! Here this is no dream. You are not in any desolate Wild-West-tourist-ghost tows: Here this is the reality.«
The band plays a classical reggae dub: The bright guitar counters the dark bass. The unmistakeable basic rhythm of the reggae originates from the stress of the second and fourth tact part. The percussion, the blowers and the organ come, however, the sound remains minimalist. The Specials work with contrasts. About the “good-mood-riddim” the singers propagate her serious message: »In this country there are no jobs« and »The government leaves the youngsters« in the sting a voice shouts. »The people become furious«, another roars.

The Specials – Ghost Town (12 inch)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s