Combat Cancer is the accumulation of the work of over 400 musicians, engineers, and producers. In 2015 the Specialized Project announced that The Clash would be the focus of our fourth annual campaign.
One major change that we made this year was to support The National Foundation for Youth Music as well as Teenage Cancer Trust. We also raised funds for a few smaller charities and local groups within the UK.
In addition, we made a few other changes to the Specialized Project which included the creation of a brand new website, more focus on the social media pages such as Facebook and Twitter, and the setting up of our very own independent record label Specialized Records.
There was huge demand again this year from those keen to feature in the 2016 Specialized Calendar, and we also shared a book launch with Flexipop! the 80’s magazine that had a Flexi-disc stuck to its cover.
Combat Cancer: A Tribute to The Clash
This year saw the compilation of ‘Specialized 4 – Combat Cancer’, a four-disc box set featuring the works of The Clash & Joe Strummer. The album consisted of seventy Clash cover versions, all of which had been donated by bands from around the world. All tracks were recorded exclusively in 2015 for this album.
Combat Cancer contained tracks from ten countries and included guest performances from Mick Jones (The Clash), Horace Panter (The Specials), Lynval Golding (The Specials), Susan Cadogan, Dreadzone, Jona Lewie, Dennis Bovell, and Black Slate to name just a few.
In its review, Record Collector (Issue 449) wrote ‘A powerful and imaginative crack at The Clash canon’ and awarded it 4/5; whilst Vive Le Rock (Issue 31) was equally impressed ‘…it’s not just a great record, but it’s for a good cause too’ and scored it a massive 9/10!
For a little more info on Combat Cancer, including videos and tracks, please click the following link: http://www.specializedproject.co.uk/albumssingles/specialized-4-combat-cancer/
The Big One 4 Festival
Held over three days from Friday 13th to Sunday 15th November, our Award Winning Ska & Reggae Festival The Big One was hosted once again by Parkdean Holiday Park, Poole, Dorset.
Those that attended were treated to a superb duet between Susan Cadogan and Nick Welsh. We also witnessed some excellent sets from The Equators, The Uptown Ska Collective, The New Groove Formation, plus individual performances from Jona Lewie and Roddy Byers. Lynval Golding and original Selecter drummer Charley ‘Aitch’ Bembridge wowed the audience with an unplugged set in the lounge.
Top DJ’s, clothing and footwear stalls, badges, vinyl, CDs, the silent auction and even a Tattooist helped complete this already monster packed fun-filled weekend. We were delighted that ticket sales for this event were, once again, higher for the third year running.
With the Specialized Project now growing at a remarkable rate, it was decided this year that we should create a team that could focus primarily on the management of our live events.
Although the Big One is very much our flagship live event, the local events held across the UK (and indeed overseas) play a huge part too, not only in raising money for charity but also keeping alive the idea of a good quality local gig
A great venue with the best live music needs supporting in our view, however, even the smallest of gigs require a lot of time and effort to put together. This is really why Specialive was introduced.
The Specialive team are now involved with the organisation of all our musical events, whether it be a shared effort in managing a large multi-artist festival, or just a good ol’ local skank with just the one or two headline acts. We believe live music needs to be encouraged all year round and Specialive will definitely help achieve this.
Specialized Records is an exciting new direction for the Specialized Project. In addition to fundraising, Specialized has previously provided a successful platform for musicians from across the globe; Specialized Records was formed to further support and promote all the artists who we have had the pleasure of working with over the past few years.
Up until now, all our recordings have been released under the specials2.com banner and this has worked very well. However, with the Specialized Project forever growing and evolving, we felt that the time was now right to create our very own dedicated label.
Specialized Records will allow us to release not just our own projects, but also help promote and distribute the music of other artists who we have worked with.
The Flexipop! Book Launch
So who remembers the iconic Flexipop! from the early 80’s? The magazine that gave us a flexi-disc stuck to the cover of each monthly issue returned this year with The Flexipop! Book.
In celebration of this great event, Flexipop!, in association with the Specialized Project, held a very nostalgic 80’s Book Launch party in Shoreditch, London on Friday 25th September.
Live music came from Sigue Sigue Sputnik’s Neal X and his new band The Montechristos. Legendary Flexipop! designer Zodiac Mindwarp with his Love Reaction, and Itchy Teeth.
There were also a few special guests, free flexi-discs and a photo/poster exhibition by Neil Mackenzie Matthews featuring the stars that helped to shape the last truly great era of pop music.