In 2016 the Specialized Project announced that Bob Marley & The Wailers would be the focus of our fifth annual campaign.
During the year we continued to support Teenage Cancer Trust and The National Foundation for Youth Music (now Youth Music); we also began to focus more on smaller individual charities and local groups within the UK.
Our very own independent record label Specialized Records grew from strength to strength adding further albums to its fast-growing itinerary. Specialive, our local fundraising enterprise, continued to evolve throughout the year adding many successful events across the UK. Sales of the Specialized Calendar grew once again, as did the interest from would-be models who wanted to be involved.
Our official Specialized website was given a much-needed update at the beginning 2016, adding more specific content to areas such as the online shop, Specialized Records, Specialive, Specialized Calendar plus all the latest news on current projects.
The Specialized artwork evolved hugely throughout 2016; this has allowed us to start focusing on a consistent format, which should be finalized early in 2017.
One Heart: A Tribute to Bob Marley & The Wailers
This year’s album release Specialized – One Heart featured over 70 artists who each performed their very own modern take on tracks originally written and performed by the great man himself. Once again the album was up there competing with the best, boasting 67 spanning 4 CDs and presented in a beautifully designed box set.
As usual, all tracks were exclusive to the One Heart album and all were recorded during the first half of 2016 specifically to appear on the album.
One Heart was a truly global affair, with tracks being received from across the UK, Australia, Jamaica, Hungary, and the US to name just as few. The album included guest performances from Pat Powell, Lee Thompson (Madness & Ska Orchestra), Horace Panter (The Specials & Uptown Ska Collective), Rat Scabies (The Damned), Annabella Lwin (Bow Wow Wow), Black Slate and Dennis Bovell.
In their reviews, Record Collector (Issue 462) called it ‘A fascinating Bob Marley Tribute compilation’ and gave it 4/5. Vive Le Rock (Issue 41) was equally impressed – ‘an incredible album… which doesn’t fail to deliver’ (8/10).
For a full list of all tracks and artists on One Heart, please click here
The Big One 5 Festival
Held from Friday 11th to Sunday 13th November, our Award Winning Ska & Reggae Festival The Big One returned once again to Parkdean Holiday Park, Poole, Dorset. Artists such as Vin Gordon & The Real Rock Band, King Hammond & The Rudeboy Mafia, Roddy Radiation, Arthur Kay & The Originals, Pat Powell, Maroon Town and [spunge] all helped make the event another superb success.
In addition, the event boasted a Top of the Pops Quiz from Uncle Phil, a great selection of merchandise stalls, a photo booth, tattooists, live broadcast by Wolfman Radio, plus the ever-popular silent auction which had hundreds of generously donated items to suit every taste.
The current trend we had witnessed over previous years was that ticket sales were growing steadily year on year. This year however we saw a huge jump, not only regarding ticket sales but accommodation bookings were also well up on last year. This was great news and further showed that the Big One, our flagship event, was continuing to grow ever more popular.
We released Dance Crazy in recognition of the 35th anniversary this year of Dance Craze, the 2Tone movie. The Specialized release contained twenty modern takes of songs from the original Dance Craze. In keeping with the original, all songs had to be recorded live in concert.
As well as being released on CD, our partners over at Jump Up Records in Chicago, USA helped to recreate the retro feel by making a CASSETTE version as well! A superb retro-fest of the best of Global and Specialized Ska live!
The Specialized Project’s very own ‘outside broadcast unit’ has had an incredible year playing host to many very successful events.
Throughout 2016, Specialive welcomed on to the stage featured artists such as King Hammond & the Rudeboy Mafia, Roddy Radiation, Terry Hall, Dreadzone, Ruder Than U, Horace Panter’s Uptown Ska Collective, Black Slate plus many more who were part of the larger events such as RedSka (The Redcar Ska Festival), the Punky Reggae Party in Reading and The Sub Culture Gig in Cardiff. These included Erin Bardwell Collective, Ten Bob Notes, The Brew, Butterfly Collective, Vin Gordon, The Talks and The Toasters.
Every one of these artists, many of whom gave their time and efforts for free, have helped make every Specialive gig ‘the in place to be!’.
Specialized Records is our very own dedicated label allowing us to release our own projects alongside the music of artists that we’ve worked with over the years. It is part label and part shop giving artists the opportunity to use the Specialized platform to promote their own releases.
This year has seen Specialized Records continue to build as a distributer promoting albums from bands such as Wotka Trawolta, Big Fat Panda, King Size, Button Up and Sana Pekonen. Specialized Records was also very proud to release, in association with Trilby Records, Soul Mates by Heavensbee – the first release on the Specialized Records label.
The Specialized Calendar saw a change in personnel this year. Karen Le Cras who had produced the first three calendars took the difficult decision to step back from project she had enjoyed so much, and handed the production reigns for the 2017 calendar over to Kat Dormer.
Demand for that one month of fame was as ever very high, and no sooner had our request gone out for calendar models were we inundated with offers from members of the public and artists themselves! Our 2017 Calendar with Bob Marley as the theme was soon complete and once again our models had done us proud.
We were very grateful to Mr Chris Barratt who very kindly paid for all the production costs, which meant that all proceeds from the calendar sales went directly to the Specialized total.
Throughout 2016 we raised over £31,000, which is another incredible achievement!! This will be split between Teenage Cancer Trust, Youth Music and our other JustGiving causes.
John Bradbury (1953-2015)
Specialized 5 was dedicated to the memory of The Specials drummer John ‘Brad’ Bradbury who very sadly passed away in December 2015. Brad was a friend and supporter of the project – he is sorely missed.