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The Selecter

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Coventry, United Kingdom (1979 – 1982, 1991 – present)

The Selecter were a British ska revival band from Coventry, formed in the late 1970s as one of the essential bands of the British ska movement.

Much of what set apart The Selecter from many of the other ska bands at the time was the voice of Pauline Black. She had to disguise herself as a man in order for the band to get gigs, but once they did, there was no disguising her voice. Like other ska bands of this movement, The Selecter featured a racially mixed line up, and songs about violence, politics, marijuana, a fictional spy’s theme song, James Bond, and reggae classics. The name of the band is a reference to the Jamaican word for a music selecter, known elsewhere as the DJ. Also typical to the style is the mix of one vocalist singing, and the other toasting in a Jamaican style, a precursor to rapping.

The Selecter’s first recording Too Much Pressure was recorded at the end of 1979 and beginning of 1980 and issued on the pre-eminent 2 Tone/Chrysalis label. Their second recording Celebrate the Bullet was issued in 1981. Though the band has continued to regroup and reform on and off, most of the many recordings available are recompiled selections from these first two albums, either live or studio recordings. The Selecter’s first two albums are essential British ska recordings.

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