Originally posted 12/08/2008
The Specials released their first single in July 1979 which is considered the spark that caused the ska-punk fire. Though they get credit with being the ones to make it more well known they were not the only ones to mix punk and new wave with ska and reggae. Aside from Arthur Kay having already released records with the 2 Tone sound before the Specials, The Slits, United Balls, and Plastic Bertrand were incorporating ska into their music as were many bands in the UK and throughout Europe.
But in the US there were a few bands playing reggae and those that were were not mixing it with punk or new wave. Not yet anyway. But in California in 1978 there was a band called The Offs.
They mixed their punk music with r&b, soul, reggae, dub, and even German experimental music.
They later moved from the West Coast to New York but continued going back frequently to play shows in San Francisco and L.A.
Here's just about everything they ever recorded before lead vocalist Don Vinil died in New York in 1983.
"624803 / Johnny Too Bad" 7"
"Zero Degrees / Everyone's a Bigot" 7"
"I've Got the Handle" alt. version from a 415 Records Compilation
"My World / You Fascinate Me" 7"
3 tracks from a live compilation called "Can You Hear me? - Music From the Deaf Club"
DOWNLOAD THE SINGLES AND LIVE TRACKS
"The Offs First Record" (Their first, last, and only full length. The cover was designed by famed New York artist Basquiat and the original was sold on eBay IN 2008. I don't remember what it sold for but it wasn't much.)
1 You Fascinate Me
2 Cool Down
3 True Story
4 Why Boy
5 Body Hesitation
6 I've Got the Handle
7 One More Shot
8 Bye Bye Baby
DOWNLOAD THE OFFS' FIRST ALBUM
Live at The Mubuhay Gardens Nov. 7, 1980
This live show is actually a compilation of 3 live shows:
There are 20 tracks. The song "624803" was recorded July 5, 1980 and the songs "100 Dollar Limosine", "Johnny Too Bad", and the 2 Lou Reed covers "Sweet Jane", and "Heroin" were recorded March 1, 1980.
DOWNLOAD THE LIVE ALBUM
The only thing missing is
"Why Boy? / Why Boy Dub" 7" on Epiphany Records