THIS IS OUR MUSIC: The Specials – “A Message To You Rudy”.
The Specials followed up the success of their debut single, “Gangsters” with the double A-sided single, “A Message to You Rudy”/”Nite Klub” in the fall of 1979. They had opened their account with a song that borrowed liberally from Prince Buster, now they would pay tribute to the Jamaican born, but
British hitmaker Dandy Livingstone.
His rocksteady classic may not have made the pop charts, but it sold in vast quantities throughout the expatriate West Indian community and was a sound system favorite. The Specials are remarkably faithful to Livingstone’s original, giving it just a bit of a kick in the production and mix. The joint vocals, however, give it a bit of a twist, further emphasizing the anthemic qualities of the number.
However, it was the appearance of former Skatalite trombonist Rico Rodriguez and his long-time friend Dick Cuthell on cornet that drove home the Jamaican feel of this sublime single. And with that The Specials took their Two Tone message straight into the Top 10.