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Group Members: neol davies
All Music Guide:
Despite being the band that got the least press during the ska revival of the early '80s, the Selecter, while only recording one undeniably fine record, deserved better than they got. Hailing from Coventry, England, the same hometown as ska pals the Specials, the Selecter's secret weapon was lead singer Pauline Black, arguably the best lead singer of the ska revival, who gave the jumpy and jittery songs an edge that veered into haunting drama. Although they got off to a roaring start with their debut record, 1980's Too Much Pressure, the second record, Celebrate the Bullet, was a strained follow-up that led to the band's rapid demise. Black spent some time singing solo and eventually re-joined guitarist Neol Davis in a Selecter reunion in the early '90s that has seen them become dance club favorites. According to those attending Selecter shows, the vibe is strong and the music great.
The Selecter are a 2 Tone ska revival band from Coventry, England, formed in mid 1979.
Like many other bands in the ska revival movement, The Selecter featured a racially diverse line-up. Their lyrics featured themes connected to politics and a positive message of multicultural inclusivity, set to strong melodies and a danceable beat. What set The Selecter apart from the other 2 Tone bands at the time, were the songs of Neol Davies, the voice and unique rude-girl style of Pauline Black and the pumping rhythms of Desmond Brown on the Hammond organ. The band's name is based on the term "selector", which is a Jamaican word for disc jockey. The band were one of the most successful ska bands of the 2 Tone era, notching up a handful of hit singles in the British charts.
The Selecter reformed in 1991 and vocalist, Pauline Black, continued to perform and release music under The Selecter name until 2006. Some confusion emerged over two competing lineups for the Selecter in 2011, between that featuring Neol Davies and that featuring Pauline Black and Arthur 'Gaps' Hendrickson, In June 2011 Pauline Black applied for the trademark to The Selecter and has since secured it.
In 1977, Neol Davies and John Bradbury (who later became a member of The Specials) with the trombone player Barry Jones, recorded a track in a recording session in 1977/8 that resulted in "Kingston Affair". The band name also became the new title, The Selecter, of the debut instrumental single, released as one side of the double A sided first 2 Tone Records single, "Gangsters vs.The Selecter", released in March 1979, getting to 6 in the national chart. The track was originally written as a possible theme tune to an ITV series. Neol Davies was solo as The Selecter at the time of the single being released but wanted a band with long time friends Desmond Brown and Charley Anderson. The line-up for the original band was completed when Pauline Black was spotted by Neol Davies. Davies offered Pauline an audition with The Selecter — she joined along with 3 other members in July 1979, and the new resultant band released the singles "On My Radio", "Three Minute Hero" and "Missing Words", written by Neol Davies. The Selecter's debut album,Too Much Pressure, was recorded at the end of 1979 and beginning of the new year, and was released in February 1980 by 2 Tone Records and Chrysalis Records. Charley Anderson and Desmond Brown then left The Selecter later that year to form The People. Their replacements were James Mackie and Adam Williams. Their second album, Celebrate the Bullet was issued in February 1981, before Pauline Black left the band to pursue a solo career. A short time after, unsuccessfully having tried Stan Campbell as the singer, the rest of the members disbanded. The Selecter were featured in the 2 Tone film documentary and on the live compilation album, Dance Craze.
The first actual band called 'The Selecter' came to an end and the members moved all over the world and on to their own careers in music, film and TV as well as book writing.
Post breakup years 
After the band split in 1982, Pauline Black pursued a career in theatre, TV and Film, even winning awards, most notably the Time Out for London Award for her portrayal of jazz singer Billie Holiday at the Tricycle Theatre in London and the Manchester Evening Standard Award for her performance in 'From The Mississippi Delta' at The Contact Theatre in Manchester. She also featured in many British TV acting roles, most notably as Diane Valentine in Hollyoaks in 2006. From 1991, Pauline Black led a reformed Selecter for 15 years releasing several new albums. In 2006 she decided to take a sabbatical from The Selecter, in order to write her memoirs 'Black By Design' for publishing house, Serpent's Tail. In 2009, she returned to the live arena, playing shows in the UK, Germany and South America guesting with various ska musicians and performing songs from The Selecter's first two albums. Her memoirs, 'Black By Design', is now finished and during June 2010 she signed a book deal with her publisher. Her book will be published on 4 August 2011, and apart from giving a unique woman's view of the 2-Tone movement, she discusses her own ideas about what it meant growing up as a mixed race woman in 1950s Britain. During her sabbatical, Pauline Black also took time out to record a new 13 track solo album, 'Pigment Of My Imagination', which will be released in spring 2011. She recently reformed a version of The Selecter, this time with guest original lead singer, Arthur "Gaps" Hendricskon, and in summer 2010 and they played two high profile shows at the Sinner's Day Festival at The Ethias Arena in Hasselt, Belgium, and at the Bloomsbury Ballroom in London.
Neol Davies penned most of The Selecter's hit singles. He started up his own home studio after the band disbanded in 1981 to write and record his own new songs, and he played a number of local shows in the Midlands. Neol formed a new version of The Selecter with Pauline Black in 1991, but he left the band two years later. He started up a new outfit called Selecter Instrumental, mostly playing movie tunes in a ska style. In 1999, he released his 'Box of Blues' album, assisted with Horace Panter and Anthony Harty, and the trio often performed at a number of Blues concerts in the UK. He later recorded another album, 'Future Swamp', with guests including Ronnie Wood and Reef members Dominic Greensmith and Jason Knight. Both albums were released on Neol's own label, VoMatic Records. Neol Davies also currently performs and records as The Selecter, with his own ten piece band including a new male vocalist, John Gibbons, who has worked with Luther Vandross and Boy George.
Charley Anderson moved to Sweden during the 1990s where he performed, recorded and released material with The Skalatones. In 2009, Anderson returned to Coventry to play a charity concert at the Central Hall to promote his Ghetto Child project. Joining him on stage were guests from UB40, The Specials, The Selecter along with Caroline Tambu Masvongo, Miss Muffin and saxophonists Hugh Lawrence and Carlos Garnett.
Charley 'H' Bembridge is currently involved with The All Skas, a ska band who often perform shows in the Midlands and is also a member of a tribute band called UB42 which are the same band. He is currently living in a bedsit in Coventry.
Neol Davies, Gaps Hendrickson, Charley Anderson and Pauline Black have also been involved with unveiling commemorative plaques for the 30th anniversary of 2 Tone on significant buildings associated with the record label in Coventry.
Black and Davies reformed The Selecter in 1991, but Neol Davies left the new line-up after a year. Post 1993, another original member, Arthur 'Gaps' Hendrickson, performed with this line-up occasionally. They released several new albums, toured around the world and even toured with No Doubt in 1997 in the USA. Pauline Black continued to record and perform as The Selecter up until 2006.
On October 31, 2010 Pauline Black and Arthur “Gaps” Hendrickson played under The Selecter name to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the seminal debut album, ‘Too Much Pressure’, by performing the whole album live at the “Sinners Day Festival”, Ethias Stadium, Hasselt, Belgium. They also performed at The Bloomsbury Ballroom, London, in November 2010. In her capacity as lead singer of The Selecter, Pauline Black featured prominently in BBC4's "Reggae Britannia" series in February 2011 and the televised "Reggae Britannia Concert" @ The Barbican, London, alongside reggae luminaries Ken Boothe, Neville Staple and Brinsley Forde of Aswad.
In Sep 2011 the band released "Made In Britain" on Ltd Vinyl, a CD version and as an MP3, and then toured this album in March 2012 playing 18 dates in the UK. The tour was such a success, that the band added an 11 date tour for October 2012 for all the towns they missed in March and will be releasing a live version of "Made In Britain", called "Live In Britain" - The only way to get your hands on a physical copy of "Live In Britain" will be to go to one of the 11 gigs in October 2012. The band are also going to play 5 dates in Australia in November 2012, this will be the first time The Selecter have ever toured in Australia. In March 2013, The Selecter released a new studio album entitled "String Theory".