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The Singles Collection

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Britain’s Specials were a highly successful and influential force in the early ’80s, when they spearheaded a revival of the peppy precursor of reggae known as ska. The Singles Collection gathers six songs that don’t appear on the band’s albums, including 1981’s million-selling British hit ”Ghost Town” (a gloomy assessment of the U.K.’s social climate), and alternate versions of a few that do, the rousing ”Free Nelson Mandela,” for instance. But some of the rarities here are no big deal, and seven cuts come straight off albums, making this compilation at least partially redundant for dedicated fans. And with all three Specials records available on CD, this career footnote should definitely not be a first purchase. C+