Chew on this. Records that’re 30+ years old. Let’s get it.
The Allied: This one is from approximately 1982. That’s a best guess date for a demo recording that’s lost to time. These 4 tracks were pulled from some comp I forget the name of. Very early US Oi!
There’s no known cover art for The Allied‘s demo, but you may recognize this artwork from one version that made it to tape.
Peter & The Wolf: A compilation of demo recordings from a British Oi!/RAC band that existed from 1981 to 1984. There’s a few repeats, but it’s a comprehensive collection.
Excellent, gritty, early skinhead sounds here. Punk tracks like Glue Sniffer and E.T. matched with political tunes like Raped and The Ovaltinees’ Joe Public.
The Ovaltinees: The aforementioned band bears the distinction of being the earliest known RAC band. While Skrewdriver may have formed prior, The Ovaltinees were a political band right from their start in 1979.
The band was originally named White Youth, but at that time (much like our time) such a moniker caused them problems. So they changed it to the much more hilarious Ovaltinees (oval-teen-ees). A rip on the children’s club created to promote the chocolate beverage. This record compiles their 1982 Demo and 1983 EP British Justice. Jam on Argentina, Kicked to Shit, Seek and Destroy, their best known song Joe Public, and then close it out with what has to be the earliest RAC ballad, track 14: Words.
Negative Approach: Back to America and back to 1982. Detroit’s NA wasn’t really a skinhead band and they weren’t Oi! either. But they had shaven heads, heavy boots, and they were extremely pissed off.
They were massively influential to American hardcore music, and very few other bands delivered such a barrage of hatred and aggression in 1982. This is the self titled / Linda Blair record featuring the ferocious Can’t Tell No One, Why Be Something That You’re Not, and the immortal Ready To Fight.
London Branch: Back to England once more, and it’s the first of three from 1983. Another re-release of some very early RAC demo recordings. You may by now recognize the similarities in these photos which were all taken at one epic RAC gig at the 100 Club in 1983.
Never officially released in their day, these 5 tracks resurfaced in 2008 or thereabouts and they sound pretty damn good. London Branch had a great classic Oi! sound, but keeping it more strictly political, they may have been eclipsed by more punk stage-mates like the The 4-Skins and Combat 84.
The Die-Hards: Recorded live December 16, 1983. You’ve got some rough sounds here but great energy and attitude. The Die-Hards actually recorded quite a few songs, but its seems that they all survive as semi-official releases and demos of varying qualitites.
Another recording with no real artwork, so you get a photo from the gig. There’s the essential Razorblade Nightmare and Skinheads Go Marching On for starters, a 4-Skins cover, a Sham 69 cover, two songs with no known titles and a bunch of rowdy noise. It’s a mess and you’ll wish you were there.
R.A.S.: Now we jump over to France for the last of the three from ’83. French Oi! pioneers R.A.S. with their eponymous 5 track debut EP Rien A Signaler.
Probably better known for their follow up record, 1984’s iconic 84, R.A.S. demonstrate the French take on the very early Oi! sound. It’s slow but boisterous, and would probably inspire me to sing along if I could pick up the French. Rien A Signaler is supposedly French military lingo for “nothing to report” or something to that effect. So aside from being founding fathers of French Oi!, you can see this band was always out to have a laugh.
Anti-Heros: Bringing it back stateside to close this edition out. Atlanta’s infamous Anti-Heros were widely influential for American Oi! Fast and ugly with a bare bones sound that sometimes veers into rockabilly riffage, on the earliest records particularly.
That’s Right! from 1986. The phrase is a Southern idiom that’s difficult to explain without context. So just pay attention to the title track (a.k.a. The Anti-Heros Are Here). It seems that this record only exists in combination with the 1988 sequel Don’t Tread On Me. Although that record is also a classic, and the double album is really the definitive collection for the Anti-Heros, I’m serving up this record on its own because it marks an important milestone in the history of American skinhead music. That’s Right! Featuring the true urban legend Disco Riot, essential US Oi! tracks like The Young Loner, He’s A Skin, What’s A Skin, and raucous stompers such as Some Fun and Smash A Window, this album delivers the goods from start to finish.
The Bully Boys: This one is another compilation, and it bears the title The Best Of: 1984-1999. So while ’99 is obviously outside the bounds of this C2C Volume’s theme, this record contains the earliest of the The Bully Boys‘ songs.
And besides, I always play it fast and loose with the theme anyhow. Texas’s Bully Boys have rightfully earned their place here among the deep cuts by being one of the earliest and most legendary American RAC bands. They have a storied history, quite a few records, and uncommon longevity having put out a new record less than a decade ago. But this is the dawn era stuff. There are admittedly a few real stinkers on here, but they make up for it with kickers like Hammerskins and Keep Fighting. It may not in fact be The Best Of the Bully Boys, but it’s deep US skinhead history and a must have.