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Joined: 27 Jul 2004
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Post subject: The Specials, Not a Ska Band? Reply with quote

One thing I often hear about The Specials is that they were not a Ska band, I say they were, and here are my thoughts.
For this exercise I am talking about 1979-1981, if someone wants to argue that "In the Studio" should be included, they would be wrong, but that is another debate.
Also when I say Ska, I am encompassing Rocksteady & Reggae, basically music on the offbeat.
Okay lets look at the facts.
They recorded 38 tracks from Gangsters to Ghost Town, played another 2 live, Madness & Raquel, 32 off those had an offbeat, thats 80% of everything they did.
Further more, when they played the non Ska tracks, Stereotypes, International Jet Set & I cant Stand It (live) they added a Ska Rhythm, that would take it to 87.5%
I am not even counting the live Rico tracks they played in the later days, which were Ska & would increase the percentage calculations.
I am also not counting The Automatics, Wake Up & Jaywalker, who some may argue could be counted.
Furthermore, they were never going play Enjoy Yourself (reprise) or Rude Boys Outa Jail (version) over the originals in the live set.
And Finally (live) Maggies Farm & Braggin Trying not to Lie, would have gone down like a lead balloon, and what would you replace in the set for probably the weakest tracks they ever recorded.
Another thing that people over look, is although with More Specials it looked as though they may have been moving away from the offbeat, their very next and final recordings, Ghost Town, Why & Friday Night were all Reggae tracks.
What would have come next, we can only quess, Jerry certainly was leaving the Ska Beat behind (The Boiler, In the Studio), the FB3, still dabbled with the offbeat with "Were having all the Fun" & "The Things We Do", but in conclusion The Specials 1979-1981 were a Ska Band, a 100% Ska band? No, but a Ska band never the less.
Tue Oct 05, 2021 10:18 am
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