The first album of the 7-man band from Coventry with the simple title "Specials" is also their best album. The fine mixture of ska, reggae and punk was an absolute hit in the post-punk era of 1979, when the album was released in England. The new Ska wave did not spill over onto the continent until a good year later.
The album was produced by Elvis Costello and contained versions of songs that came from artists like Dandy Livingstone, Prince Buster, Toots and the Maytals or the Skatalites or were made famous by them. The band was also a sign against the race riots that raged between blacks and whites in England at the time. Here black and white people played together an energetically charged mix of black ska and white punk. The "Specials" had an exceptional position, with Jerry Dammers as one of the best songwriters and Terry Hall as the coolest singer of the new ska-movement. Supported by Jamaica veterans like Rico Rodrigues on trombone or Dick Cuthell on horn, they released a brilliant debut album. Songs like "A Message to you..." or "Monkey Man" fill the dance floors to this day
After the sensational debut album the second (and last) LP is released in 1980 with the original line-up. They showed themselves to be very keen to experiment, left the now widely used ska path again and began to decorate the songs with all sorts of special effects, which didn't detract from the quality. For the first time female voices (Rhoda Dakar) can be heard. Other bands like the Bad Manners or The Selecter continue to play solid Ska, but the "Specials" develop further and surprise their fans with a new witty album. According to the intellectual spirit of the troupe, they obviously didn't want to rest on the laurels they had already earned, but instead went new musical ways. The song lyrics combine - as with the debut - social criticism and wit, the musical arrangement can hardly be surpassed. Still great, although a little weaker than the debut in retrospect.