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Baker's Dozen

Madness Frontman Suggs' 13 Favourite Albums Of All Time
Simon Price , September 27th, 2011 11:22

Nutty Boy Suggs takes Simon Price on a guided tour through his record collection


The Specials - The Specials
In 1979, they’d finished recording their album, and ironically we ended up going into the same studio, TW in Fulham, just after them. And Elvis Costello had produced their album, and he’d left behind a few bits of tapes, out-takes. And we were trying to get the machine to play these fucking ten-second little strips of tape! All you’d hear was a snare sound or a bit of guitar, but we were trying to check out their sound! John Bradbury [Specials drummer] used to get these amazing rimshot sounds, and I remember asking him how, and he said “It’s the way I fucking play it, it wasn’t the way it was fucking recorded!” So, of course we were checking each other out. We played together a couple of times at the Nashville and somewhere else, and we were obviously in competition, very friendly competition. It was truly thrilling and exciting to know there was another band doing what we were doing. When they came to play at the Hope & Anchor, the pub we used to hang out in, it blew our minds to see these people who looked a bit like us and sounded a bit like us. They went off like a packet of crackers. I remember Neville Staple was blowing holes in the ceiling with a starter pistol! Then they stormed into ‘Gangsters’. I remember I wasn’t sure whether to feel jealous or fucking vindicated, that we were onto something after all. But they’d gone that bit further. It was turbo-charged ska, and we were still doing a bit of R&B, but The Specials gave us this revelation that the uptempo stuff was really fucking exciting. But that’s a great album, great songs, and the production is really clear. Not naïve, but not overly sophisticated.