The Specials Preview Covers Album With 'Freedom Highway' - Rolling Stone
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The Specials Preview Covers Album With ‘Freedom Highway’

Release will feature new takes on 12 protest songs

The Specials will release an album of cover songs, Protest Songs – 1924-2012, on September 24th. The release will include 12 new versions of protest songs by artists like Bob Marley, Leonard Cohen, and Frank Zappa.

The British group has previewed the album with a rendition of “Freedom Highway,” a song by the Staple Singers that was written for the civil rights marches from Selma to Montgomery in 1965.

“The beginning of 2020 saw us all together making a reggae record before we each fell ill with Covid-19 and had to put the album on ice,” the band wrote on Twitter. “During the first lockdown, the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis radiated shockwaves of protest and debate around the world. So when we were able to meet again over the summer, Terry suggested that we make a different kind of record as a response to recent events.”

They added, “The urge to rail against what is wrong with the world and suggest how it could be better is as old as song, and the Specials have a history of protesting and fighting for justice and equality.”

Protest Songs – 1924-2012 Tracklist

1. ‘Freedom Highway’ (the Staple Singers)
2. ‘Everybody Knows’ (Leonard Cohen)
3. ‘I Don’t Mind Failing In This World’ (Malvina Reynolds)
4. ‘Black, Brown and White’ (Big Bill Broonzy)
5. ‘Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Us Around’ (traditional)
6. ‘Fuck All the Perfect People’ (Chip Taylor & the New Ukrainians)
7. ‘My Next Door Neighbour’
8. ‘Trouble Every Day’ (Frank Zappa & Mothers of Invention)
9. ‘Listening Wind’ (Talking Heads)
10. ‘Soldiers Who Want to Be Heroes’ (Rod McKuen)
11. ‘I Live in a City’ (Malvina Reynolds)
12. ‘Get Up, Stand Up’ (Bob Marley)

The album is available for preorder here.

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