Since I began the week with The Bodysnatchers, the all-female Ska/Rocksteady group via the legendary Two-Tone label, I thought I would continue with a session from The Specials, probably the best known of the Two-Tone bands (at least in the U.S.) recorded for John Peel at the BBC on May 23, 1979.
Like all the bands from Two-Tone, they were deeply influenced by Jamaican Ska and Rocksteady – and also like most of the bands from Two-Tone, they were also very politically aware, and much of their best work had to do with poverty, racism and the class-struggle in the UK. The music was fast-paced and frenetic, while the lyrics were razor-sharp.
Formed in 1977 and going until 1984, where the band splintered off in several different directions. The Specials reunited in the mid-1990s before splintering off again in 2001. At last report, the band got back together in 2008 and are still gigging and recording.
Tonight it’s during the early period, when they were responsible for a string of hits, starting with Gangsters. A thoroughly memorable band, if you caught them live early-on. Non-stop energy, with power to spare. One of the greats from the late 70s; no question.