It was 1979, and I loved Two-Tone. It wasn’t just the sound, it was the pure simplicity of it all.
At a time of racial tension and inner-city riots, Two-Tone offset with a fusion of post-punk and Jamaican Ska. The idea was straightforward, musicians and artists leading by example with large doses of pathos, self-deprecation and a certain amount of naivety. The label’s identity was consistent and direct, and I guess I’ve always liked things to be black and white.
This was from a time when a record label meant something – a happening, a sense of belonging. Labels defined people’s youth. Think Apple, Virgin, Beggar’s Banquet, ZTT and Stiff. Small, independent British labels appearing to be able to do anything they wanted, reinventing the rules.
Maybe the music industry is partly responsible for its demise, embracing technology before it had considered the consequences. The relationship appears severed, and the touchpoint has now just about vanished.
My relationship with Two-Tone was a love affair – the climax being the newly released 45. Unfortunately, I think today a track downloaded is no better than a moment of self-gratification, over far too quickly and holding little meaningful, lasting memory.