Label of Love: 2-Tone vinyl rarities just landed…..

The 2-Tone label was launched in 1979 in Coventry, and within a year, had swept like wildfire across the U.K. Band leader Jerry Dammers gift to an unsuspecting world was not just a fine roster of bands: Special A.K.A., Madness, Selector, The Beat to name but a few, but also a forward thinking label that celebrated the multi-cultural/racial, proffered a winning mix of high-octane ska/reggae mixed with punk sensibility and, lest we forget, an iconic, largely monochrome, visual identity (it’s all about the dog-tooth check you know!). Never a label to rest on its laurels, later releases were decidedly noncommercial, Rhoda Dakar’s ‘The Boiler’ is a harrowing account of rape which ends with a full minute of anguished screaming whilst the Special A.K.A’s ‘War Crimes’ drew attention to the troubles in Palestine/Israel..and hands up how many people had heard of Nelson Mandela, let alone his plight, before it was released as a single?

As with all great labels, there are those who seek out every release, foreign issue, promo and more. For the 2-Tone collector the paper label issues of the singles are always highly prized as later pressings tended to use the (not nearly as attractive) injection moulding variant, overseas pressings are of interest too as they tended to be in exclusive picture sleeves. Top tip: Look out for later releases in the catalogue as these sold in much smaller quantities than the initial pop hits, and in 2017 are highly sought after….

Here’s our current Top 3 2-Tone Collectables – you can see more here

ELVIS COSTELLO & THE ATTRACTIONS I Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down…phwoarr!! This is the mega-rare 2-Tone 7″ from Elvis Costello, 1000 copies pressed before being withdrawn after the threat of legal action from WEA, more info here
THE FRIDAY CLUB Window Shopping: Rare 1985 UK 7″ injection moulded vinyl single, also including an Instrumental of the title track, glossy card picture sleeve. This was the second-to-last release on the 2-Tone label and sold very few copies atthe time making this one of the hardest items in the 2 Tone catalogue to find. The sleeve is in fantastic shape with only light wear & the vinyl is near mint, more info here
THE SPECIALS More Specials: 1980 Canadian 12-track LP, picture sleeve with ‘Ultra Stereo’ flash & lyric inner. Much underrated second effort by Coventry’s finest – out goes the ska & in comes the Morricone, lounge muzak & soul influences. Alsoincludes the bonus stand alone single, Rat Race. The sleeve, which shows only light wear, is the same photo given away as a poster with initial copies of the UK release &, unlike the UK version, includes a full lyric inner & different 2-Tone label design – Nice! More info here

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