If there has ever been a question about the healing power of music, Dave Wakeling of English Beathas always been a big believer. With the release ofSPECIALIZED II - BEAT TEENAGE CANCER, the second music compilation this time honoring the music of English Beat, all money raised will go to Teenage Cancer Trust. "Music has always had a healing aspect, and 2-Tone a bit more than most, as it was designed to bring people together," says Wakeling. "These songs have been a big part of my life, and I am honoured that they could be of use to theSpecialized project... a wonderful opportunity to assist a worthy cause, the Teenage Cancer Trust, and remember, when we help others, we help ourselves...one hand washes the other!"
After the great success of the first Specialized charity album in 2012 (a tribute to the music of The Specials), and the project in general, which raised over Â£25,000 for charity, it was decided that there was to be a Specialized 2 project in 2013. In the same vein as the first album, this time the whole project centered around ska and 2-Tone legends ENGLISH BEAT. Featuring 44 tracks of the Beat classics and album tracks, Specialized II includes Dave Wakeling's scintillating re-recording of the band's signature tune “Mirror In The Bathroom” and Ranking Roger appears with the band Spritely Allstars (who coincidentally features Hunt Emerson who created the iconic Beat girl logo). A host of other stars from the 2-Tone label join Wakeling and Roger on the album, such as Neol Davies (Selecter), Rhoda Dakar (Bodysnatchers/ Special AKA), plus an appearance by esteemed British stage and TV star Phill Jupitus. The album has an international flavour with acts appearing from the UK, Australia, United States, and Czech Republic.
Always one of the stand out 2-Tone era bands, English Beat were truly the rhythm kings of the movement and they continued this after the demise of 2-Tone, such was their appeal. Wakeling’s songwriting saw many hits and they became the first 2-Tone act to really crack the USA, where their popularity is still huge. They have proved as popular at home too, of course, as their latest releases of their work on vinyl and CD have shown. The cool and efficient front men of Dave Wakeling andRanking Roger were the perfect front for the band while the continual manic struts of superb guitarist Andy Cox and bassist Dave Steele were a sight to behold. Throw into that melting pot the slinking driving rhythms supplied by Everett Morton on drums, and the surprise element of Lionel Martin AKA “Saxa” (on what else, a saxophone) into the mix, the laid back, f loppy hat wearing brass maestro who had played with the likes of Prince Buster and Laurel Aitken on the original first ska boom, and there you have it: a band that was crammed with musical greatness.