Specials, Skatalites, Madness Bring Back Old School Ska

September 17 [16:00 EDT] -- Fans of No Doubt, the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Reel Big Fish, Buck-O-Nine, or any of the current wave of ska-punk hybrids will have plenty of opportunities to trace the roots of the genre through a string of upcoming releases.

Fans can check out one a major influence on the current wave of ska bands on "Total Madness," a new best-of on the 80's British ska-rock outfit Madness (who did a good deal more than "Our House").

To hear the sounds Madness grew up on, fans can try a pair of new Island Records compilations: "Ska's The Limit" featuring early 60's tracks by such giants as Prince Buster and the Skatalites...and "Ska Island" which boasts newly recorded tracks by some of those same artists, as well as modern acts like Fishbone and the Toasters.

Meanwhile, the Specials (the cornerstone of the English 2-Tone ska movement of the late 70s and early 80s) have a new deal with the MCA-distributed Way Cool Records and should have a new album

out in January. The seminal outfit will precede the album with a single in October.

If you'd like to start your ska education a little closer to the punk-driven sound you're used to, you might want to check out "Take Warning," a tribute to the band many credit with bringing together the sounds of ska and punk, Operation Ivy. As we reported in August, you can find Reel Big Fish, Long Beach Dub All-Stars, the Blue Meanies, and others paying tribute to Op Ivy on the disc, which is in stores now.