Into 2014, and Specialized 3 move to the stalwarts of UK music and 2Tone legends Madness.
Our album Mad Not Cancer has released double the size of its predecessor. A whopping four-disc box-set with accompanying booklet was probably our biggest challenge to date. The Big One Ska & Reggae Festival continued to sell more tickets than ever before, and local smaller gigs continued to grow in size and regularity. In the Ready Steady Ska 2014 Awards, we were delighted that the Big One, Mad Not Cancer and a couple of associated 7” singles all won awards! The new 2015 Specialized Calendar drew interest from would-be models from all across the UK.
Mad Not Cancer: A tribute to Madness
It was clear quite early on that this year’s album Specialized – Mad Not Cancer was going to be the biggest of the series so far. Eventually, over 70 tracks were submitted from afar afield as America, Australia, Europe, and even The Philippines!
The album included contributions by legends of the ska scene such as Mark Bedford (Madness), Horace Panter (The Specials), Big Jim Patterson (Dexys / Dexys Midnight Runners), Phil Jupitus, Paul Speare (Dexys, Special AKA & Elvis Costello) and The Hotknives.
Then there was Night Boat to Cairo from Bim Skala Bim which was recorded and mixed over six countries, and If You Lose A Good Thing features reggae greats Winston Francis, Count Prince Miller, Dennis Alcapone, Carl St Clair, Jimmy James, and Tony Washington.
After receiving a copy of the album to review, Vive Le Rock (Issue 21) said of Mad Not Cancer ‘…through sheer passion and charm, this huge four-disc set lets you skank the night away’ and awarded it 7/10.
For a full list of all tracks and artists on Mad Not Cancer click here
The Big One 3 Festival
Similar to the first two years, our annual three days Ska & Reggae Festival took place at Parkdean Holiday Park, Poole, Dorset from Friday 14th to Sunday 16th November.
The event boasted some superb sets from The Skints, Susan Cadogan with Carl St Clair, The Skabilly Rebels, The Originals, The Bighead, The Talks, King Hammond & Skaville UK, Lee Thompson & The Silencerz plus with many others.
We were also treated to the best DJs, our memorabilia silent auction and raffle, plus merchandise stalls, a tattooist, bars, restaurants, and even an indoor heated swimming pool!
The Specialized Calendar secured both artists and Specialized supporters all keen to sign up to an exclusive one-month modelling contract.
Models were asked to raise a sponsorship minimum of £50 to help with the production costs. This ensured that our calendar was completely self-funded and all money raised from it went directly into the Specialized total.
Reggae Steady Ska 2014 Awards
We were absolutely bowled over as Specialized swept the board at the Reggae Steady Ska.com Awards towards the end of 2014. Not only did Specialized – Mad Not Cancer win The Best Album Of The Year 2014, but our Big One Festival won The Best Festival 2014 and we snatched both first and second spot for the Best 7″ Vinyl Award 2014 with our two Specialized EPs.
On the Road
As well as the Big One, our smaller more local gigs continued up and down the country, raising awareness and collecting donations in support of the Specialized Project.
Vinyl Record Releases
Over in the states Jump Up Records released a couple of accompanying 7” vinyl singles including It Must Be Love by Finnish singer/songwriter Sanna Pekonen, Bed & Breakfast Man by Grammy award-winning ska legend King Hammond and Billy Browns version of Junior Murvin’s Police & Thieves.
Throughout 2014 we have raised over £34,000 – another momentous total and a massive increase in Specialized 2! This year funds will be split between Teenage Cancer Trust, National Foundation for Youth Music plus a few local groups.