Way back ska was a break to the punk rock that filled a room. Sometime it still is, but there is no real punk rock. If you went to a club to see Minor Threat or X or whomever pulled up in the van you would undoubtedly get a dash of ska during set changes. It was pretty brilliant if you think about it its fun and danceable, upbeat and bassey so you can bang back a beer to the horn section after you just 'slam danced the face off your best friend. It was the clown at the rodeo, it broke the tension.
Ska though is so much more its sorta the swirl of reggae and rock and it is a two tone stylee that can be highly addictive. Horns and bass, that's what a girl needs if ya think about it.
The Specials were my weapon of choice. I remember clearly listening to 'Concrete Jungle' at master volume as I primped for nights out. As a bad ass 14 year old this was my rally cry for a night of fun. The chanting start and banging drum were hypnotic. Too this day it gets me revved for trouble.
In my new series of dredging up old albums to show you how cool I am I have unearthed The Best of The Specials from 2008. Now I discovered the band long before then, more like 1981, I think.. close to that. Thanks to Spotify I uncovered this gem the other day and of course (as I always do) immediately started sending random texts to Iman.. "hey remember stereotype?", the poor guy is used to this with me but now I ask you DO YOU remember 'Stereotype'? These songs of trouble making roust abouts were used to make you dance but most of them are about street violence and booze. What a great contrast.
Each song is a story from "Too Much Too Young", about getting a girl knocked up to "Rat Race" each song means so much more than the music allows. When I was a teenager it was rebellious and bad ass, as an adult its pretty profound stuff. 'Stereotype" is really serious shit no longer a snappy ditty.
"Friday Night/Saturday Morning", now that was my tune. I can clearly remember singing this song in the car I stole from our driveway. At age 13 I was already good at stealing the family car for a cruise. I even knew how to park it just right so no one was the wiser. Crazy now, but perfectly Helen back then. The slow thrust beat on this one was a fantastic pull up song. That is- you have your windows down and the 'tape deck' full blast so when you pull up to any destination you sound cool. Now its all ghetto crap, 1982 not many teenaged girls with spiked hair and a nose ring around suburbia let alone driving a car.
"International Jet Set", is really pretty scary. Just vocally let alone the mock plane crash at the end. What the hell is that song really about anyway? I had a massive crush on Terry- the photo for this post actually hung over my dressing table mirror. To the young hell these were some sexy beasts…. now..not so much!