Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Duff Guide to Ska Fast Takes: King Kong 4 "There's Not Much That You or I Can Do About It," Jackie Mittoo "Striker Showcase"

(Reviews by Steve Shafer)

King Kong 4 There's Not Much That You or I Can Do About It (Five-track digital EP, Winterbeard Records, 2017): I saw the harrowing movie version of Nevil Shute's post-World War III/doomsday novel "On the Beach" (where the last bits of humanity in Melbourne, Australia wait for the the nuclear fallout to reach and kill them--though most of the characters opt out via suicide pills, rather than suffering an agonizing death due to radiation poisoning) while in middle school at the end of the 1970s, when nuclear armageddon was a terrifyingly real possibility (and kept me up at nights). While King Kong 4's There's Not Much That You or I Can Do About It EP and its song titles are all taken from Shute's bleak novel (note the mushroom clouds in the EP cover art), all of their instrumental tracks are actually pleasantly bright and cheery. "Going a Bit Mad in Our Own Way" (with its incredible ice rink organ line), "To Lose Before You Start" (which features samples of President Harry Truman talking about bombing Hiroshima), and "Sitting Behind the Wheel of Her Car" (plus two dub versions) are fantastic spaghetti Western ska tracks (appropriate, given America's cowboy image/mythology and notoriety as the only country to have used nuclear weapons in war). One imagines the KK4 up in Toronto, watching in resigned horror as its destabilized and unpredictable superpower neighbor wreaks havoc on the world, but opting to keep on creating (life-affirming) music rather than giving into helplessness and despair.

Jackie Mittoo Striker Showcase (2xCD, 17 North Parade/VP Records, 2017): Back in the latter half of the 70s, producer Bunny "Striker" Lee arranged for Studio One's former musical director, arranger, and master keyboardist Jackie Mittoo (Skatalites, Soul Vendors/Brothers, Sound Dimension) to depart his adopted Toronto for the UK and JA to re-record/re-interpret many of his seminal ridders that he created for Coxsone Dodd in the 1960s ("Hot Milk," "Ram Jam," and dozens more) for a series of albums: The Keyboard King (1977), Hot Blood (1977), Showcase (1978), and In Cold Blood (1978). For these wonderfully loose, warm, and funky recordings, Mittoo was backed by a stellar band that included Sly Dunbar on drums, Robbie Shakespeare on bass, Winston Wright and Ansel Collins on piano, Earl "Chinna" Smith on guitar, and Tony Chin, Winston "Bo Pee" Bowen, Geoffrey Chung, and Carl Harvey on rhythm guitar--all providing Mittoo with the rock solid roots foundation for him to work his extraordinary keyboard magic. Even if you picked up Blood and Fire's Champion in the Arena, 1976-1977 back in 2003, which contains most of what's on the first half of this release, you'll want this comp for its second CD. You can never have enough Jackie Mittoo in your collection.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

The Duff Guide to Ska NYC Summer/Fall 2017 Ska Calendar #48

Photo by Janette Beckman
Friday, June 9, 2017 @ 7:00 pm

The Specials, The Far East

Brooklyn Steel
319 Frost Street
Brooklyn, NY
$50/16+

+ + + +

Saturday, June 10, 2017 @ 9:00 pm (2 sets!)

Larry McDonald's 80th Birthday Party w/Dave Hillyard and the Rocksteady 7, plus DJ One Hundred Decibels

Hank's Saloon
46 Third Avenue
Brooklyn, NY
$8

+ + + +

Saturday, June 10, 2017 @ 9:00 pm

Alla Spina, Beat Brigade, The Screw Ups, The Oneness

Legion Bar
790 Metropolitan Avenue
Brooklyn, NY
$5

+ + + +

Sunday, June 18, 2017 @ 8:00 pm

Protoje

Highline Ballroom
431 West 16th Street
New York, NY
$25-$28

+ + + +

Friday, June 23, 2017 @ 7:00 pm

The Slackers

Rocks Off Concert Cruise
The Liberty Belle
299 South Street
New York, NY
$30/21+

+ + + +

Friday, June 23, 2017 @ 7:00 pm

Hub City Stompers, 45 Adapters, Hardknocks, Vinny and the Hooligans

Cape House
2 Knickerbocker Avenue
Brooklyn, NY
$10/21+

+ + + +

Saturday, July 1, 2017 @ 1:00 pm

Reggay Lords

Riis Park Beach Bazaar
16702 Rockaway Beach Boulevard
Rockaway Park
Free!

+ + + +

Wednesday, July 4, 2017 @ 9:00 pm

The Wailing Souls

B.B. King's
237 West 42nd Street
New York, NY
$25 in advance/$30 day of show
All ages!

+ + + +

Saturday, July 8, 2017 @ 8:00 pm

Desorden Publico, Los Mesoneros

SOB's
204 Varick Street
New York, NY
$30-$35/21+

+ + + +

Thursday, July 13, 2017 @ 8:00 pm

The Dirty Notion, The Applecores, Barbicide, plus DJ Duff

Otto's Shrunken Head
538 East 14th Street (close to Avenue B)
New York, NY
No cover, but bring $ for when we pass the bucket.
21+

+ + + +

Thursday, July 13, 2017 @ 6:00 pm

Brown Rice Family, DJ Duct Tape

Archway Under the Manhattan Bridge
155 Water Street
Dumbo, Brooklyn
Free!

+ + + +

Saturday, July 15, 2017 @ 9:00 pm

Beres Hammond, Marcia Griffiths, Third World

Ford Amphitheater at the Coney Island Boardwalk
3052 West 21st Street
Brooklyn, NY
$108

+ + + +

Sunday, July 16, 2017 @ 4:00 pm

NYC Ska Orchestra

Queens Botanical Garden
43-50 Main Street
Queens, NY
FREE with Garden Admission: Adults – $6; Seniors (age 62+) – $4; Students with ID – $4; Children (ages 4 to 12) – $2; Children (3 and under) – FREE; Members – FREE.

+ + + +

Wednesday, July 19, 2017 @ 7:00 pm

The Aquabats

Highline Ballroom
431 West 16th Street
New York, NY
$25-$125

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Tuesday, July 25, 2017 @ 8:00 pm

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones

Webster Hall
125 East 11th Street
New York, NY
$25.50-$35.00
18+

+ + + +

Saturday, July 29, 2017 @ 1:00 pm

Beat Brigade

Riis Park Beach Bazaar
16702 Rockaway Beach Boulevard
Rockaway Park
Free!

+ + + +

Wednesday, August 9, 2017 @ 7:30 pm

The Selecter, Rude Boy George, The Pandemics

Knitting Factory Brooklyn
361 Metropolitan Avenue
Brooklyn, NY
$30 in advance/$35 day of show
All ages!

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Tuesday, October 3, 2017 @ 9:00 pm

Black Uhuru

B.B. King's
237 West 42nd Street,
New York, NY
$25 in advance/$30 day of show
All ages!

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Thursday, June 1, 2017

Duff Guide to Ska Fast Takes: Hopeton Lewis "There She Goes" b/w Vin Gordon and The Supersonics "Reggay Trombone," Johnny Clarke and the Flying Vipers "Highest Region" b/w "Highest Version," Mungo's Hi Fi featuring Johnny Clarke "Rain Keeps Falling" b/w "Spring Shower Dub"

(Reviews by Steve Shafer)

Hopeton Lewis "There She Goes" b/w Vin Gordon and The Supersonics "Reggay Trombone" (heavyweight 7" vinyl single, Trojan Records, 2017): This limited edition Record Store Day 2017 release boasts two unreleased Duke Reid productions from Treasure Island's archives. As both cuts are fantastic, one wonders why they lay hidden until now (perhaps the almost ridiculous abundance of incredible music in JA at the time made it difficult to choose what to release?). Lewis' sprightly rocksteady track (love the combination of flute and sax here) masks the heartache of the lyrics: "There she goes/And I'm lonely once again/There she goes/And I don't know where she's going/But she's gone, gone, gone." "Reggay Trombone" spotlights Vin Gordon's t-bone chops as he's backed by Tommy McCook's Supersonics on this cheerful and lively early/skinhead reggae instrumental. (Copies are still out there to be had at reasonable prices.)

Johnny Clarke "Highest Region" b/w Flying Vipers "Highest Version" (green 7" vinyl single, Jump Up Records, 2017): Phenomenal roots singer Johnny Clarke is supported by Boston's reggae/dub masters Flying Vipers on this excellent single (unofficially titled Johnny Clarke Meets Flying Vipers). The atypical and unsettling beat and stripped-to-the-bone dubby instrumental backing on "Highest Region" provides a sharp contrast to Clarke's plaintive chant of "We want, we want, we want to go home/To Zion, away from Babylon" (the restlessness and unease in the music won't be calmed until there's deliverance from evil). Its dub "Highest Version" is even further deconstructed to great effect. This is definitely one of the more unusual dub releases you'll find this year and very much worth owning.

Mungo's Hi Fi featuring Johnny Clarke "Rain Keeps Falling" b/w "Spring Shower Dub" (7" vinyl single, Scotch Bonnet Records, 2017): For Record Store Day 2017, Glasgow-based Mungo's Hi Fi created a fantastically spare and seductive new roots riddim track for Johnny Clarke to sing his message of love over ("Rain keeps falling/And my body is calling/You're my one and only/I don't want to be lonely/You're my pride and joy/We were meant to be/Life is just for living/Love is what I'm giving"). Notably, this cut and its great dub version feature the "flying cymbals" that harken back to Clarke's first hit in 1974 with Bunny Lee, Earl Zero's "None Shall Escape the Judgement." As to be expected, Mungo's Hi Fi and Clarke deliver nothing short of the best.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Memorial Day Weekend: Supernova International Ska Festival!

As many of you are already aware, there is a big, two-day ska fest coming up over the Memorial Day weekend--the Supernova International Ska Festival in Fredericksburg, VA (which is about an hour or so south of Washington, DC). There are many top acts that don't make to the East Coast with much frequency (if at all), like Derrick Morgan, The Aggrolites (with Greg Lee of Hepcat), Sonic Boom Six, The Skints, Monty Neysmith--and there are tons of amazing acts always worth seeing, including The Toasters, The Piestasters, Pilfers, Askultura, Chris Murray, Hub City Stompers, J. Navarro and the Traitors, Eastern Standard Time, The Scotch Bonnets, The Ladrones, The Bishops, The Snails, Sammy Kay, and more! Check out who's playing which day of the festival on the graphic below. All other details are on the festival website, which includes a handy festival FAQ page. There's also a (now sold-out) Friday night pre-festival party with Jump Up Records at the Spencer Devon Brewery, where they'll be screening the Legends of Ska movie (with filmmaker Brad Klein present), a CHema Skandal poster show, a Jump Up Records pop up shop, and DJ sets by Chuck Wren, Sonido Triton, and Darren Reggae! 


Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Duff Guide to Ska NYC Summer 2017 Ska Calendar #47

The great Laurel Aitken!
Tuesday, May 23, 2017 @ 7:00 pm

J. Navarro and The Traitors, Fuck It I Quit, Public Serpents

Cape House
2 Knickerbocker Avenue
Brooklyn, NY
$12/21+

+ + + +

Thursday, May 25, 2017 @ 8:00 pm

Sister Nancy and Friends, Rice and Peas, Queen Majesty

Brooklyn Bowl
61 Wythe Avenue
Brooklyn, NY
$15/21+
+ + + +

Friday, May 26, 2017 @ 7:00 pm

Monty Neysmith Montgomery of Symarip, Consumata, The Bishops

Cape House
2 Knickerbocker Avenue
Brooklyn, NY
$15/21+

+ + + +

Saturday, June 3, 2017 @ 8:00 pm

Ska/Punky/Reggae Party II w/The Rudie Crew, The Omega Men, Super Hi-Fi, Necrotic Society, Skum City, Curb Ya Horse, plus DJ Gorilla

Pista bandas unidas oficial
96-11 Roosevelt Avenue
Queens, NY
All ages

+ + + +

Friday, June 9, 2017 @ 7:00 pm

The Specials, The Far East

Brooklyn Steel
319 Frost Street
Brooklyn, NY
$50/16+

+ + + +

Saturday, June 10, 2017 @ 9:00 pm (2 sets!)

Larry McDonald's 80th Birthday Party w/Dave Hillyard and the Rocksteady 7, plus DJ One Hundred Decibels

Hank's Saloon
46 Third Avenue
Brooklyn, NY
$8

+ + + +

Sunday, June 18, 2017 @ 8:00 pm

Protoje

Highline Ballroom
431 West 16th Street
New York, NY
$25-$28

+ + + +

Friday, June 23, 2017 @ 7:00 pm

The Slackers

Rocks Off Concert Cruise
The Liberty Belle
299 South Street
New York, NY
$30/21+

+ + + +

Saturday, July 1, 2017 @ 1:00 pm

Reggay Lords

Riis Park Beach Bazaar
16702 Rockaway Beach Boulevard
Rockaway Park
Free!

+ + + +

Wednesday, July 4, 2017 @ 9:00 pm

The Wailing Souls

BB Kings
237 West 42nd Street
New York, NY
$25 in advance/$30 day of show
All ages!

+ + + +

Saturday, July 8, 2017 @ 8:00 pm

Desorden Publico, Los Mesoneros

SOB's
204 Varick Street
New York, NY
$30-$35/21+

+ + + +

Thursday, July 13, 2017 @ 8:00 pm

The Dirty Notion and Special Guests, plus DJ Duff

Otto's Shrunken Head
538 East 14th Street (close to Avenue B)
New York, NY
No cover, but bring $ for when we pass the bucket.
21+

+ + + +

Thursday, July 13, 2017 @ 6:00 pm

Brown Rice Family, DJ Duct Tape

Archway Under the Manhattan Bridge
155 Water Street
Dumbo, Brooklyn
Free!

+ + + +

Saturday, July 16, 2017 @ 9:00 pm

Beres Hammond, Marcia Griffiths, Third World

Ford Amphitheater at the Coney Island Boardwalk
3052 West 21st Street
Brooklyn, NY
$108

+ + + +

Wednesday, July 19, 2017 @ 7:00 pm

The Aquabats

Highline Ballroom
431 West 16th Street
New York, NY
$25-$125

+ + + +

Saturday, July 29, 2017 @ 1:00 pm

Beat Brigade

Riis Park Beach Bazaar
16702 Rockaway Beach Boulevard
Rockaway Park
Free!

+ + + +

Wednesday, August 9, 2017 @ 7:30 pm

The Selecter

Knitting Factory Brooklyn
361 Metropolitan Avenue
Brooklyn, NY
$30 in advance/$35 day of show
All ages!

+ + + +

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Help Save the London International Ska Festival!

Here's a guest post from Sean Flowerdew of Pama International and the London International Ska Festival. Please consider becoming a patron of this amazing and venerable ska festival (I have!)...

Save The London Intl Ska Festival - Become a patron today!

My name is Sean Flowerdew. I founded and run The London Int’l Ska Festival. Since it's launch in 1988, I have strived to create an unique and world class event, that does justice to the world of ska, rocksteady, reggae, 2 Tone and beyond. I’m honoured to have hosted hundreds of bands and DJs at some of the best venues London has to offer for 29 years!

Year on year, the festival grows and attracts more people from all over the world. It has always astonished me that someone would fly from another continent for a weekend. It is truly fantastic to see so many international friendships, relationships, marriages and even families be born out of our festival.

Sadly, it has become increasingly difficult to single handedly maintain the festival. A couple of bad financial years for the festival in 2011 and 2012 set me back personally by tens of thousands of pounds. Since then any profit just pays off past years debts. To make matters worse, what is a full time job can never provide a wage.

I love the festival. I love programming it. More then anything I want to keep the festival going and want it to grow in the way I know it can, but personally carrying debts year to year, which are now in excess of £79,000, has taken it’s toll. It has become impossible to fund the festival solely by myself.

To keep the London Intl Ska Festival not only alive, but continuing to thrive, I need to clear the debts. I have thought long and hard about seeking companies to invest or getting sponsorship but I know this would change the nature and integrity of what is a truly independent festival.

So, I’m reaching out to you, friends of the festival and fans of all things ska. I need your help. Today I am launching a patron scheme, whereby you can support the festival and ensure it’s survival and growth.

I'm not asking for donations (although anything helps). I'm asking you to become part of the festival and invest in it. For now, we’ve come up with four ways of supporting our festival, all based around becoming a patron.

Not only do your your money, but you can sleep happy in the knowledge that you've become part of, and supported what is a vital and historical festival.

Become a patron of The London Intl Ska Festival

Become of patron for as little as £3 
Every little bit helps--a this level you will receive the newly launched Help Save LISF pin badge. Price includes postage anywhere in the world.

Become a patron for £25

For this your name will be listed in the 2018/30th Anniversary Ska Festival book & you will receive a set of our 6 exclusive football team postcards.

Become a patron for £40
For this your name will be listed in the 2018/30th Anniversary Ska Festival book. You will also recieve a set of our 6 football team postcards and an exclusive screen printed t-shirt, designed by Peter O’Toole.

Become a patron for £147.50 (ska festival wristband ticket option)
For this your name will be listed in the 2018/30th Anniversary Ska Festival book. You will also recieve a set of our 6 football team postcards and an exclusive screen printed t-shirt, designed by Peter O’Toole. AND a wristband ticket to The London International Ska Festival 2018. The wristband ticket will get you into all the 2018 festival events.

The London Int’l Ska Festival 2018 will take place next Easter (29th March-1st April). If you can, please help us to celebrate our 30th Anniversary in the style we’ve all become accustomed to.

Thank you for reading and thank you for supporting!

Sean Flowerdew
The London Int’l Ska Festival

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Sunday, May 7, 2017

Duff Guide to Ska Fast Takes: Dub Natty Sessions and Dennis Bovell "DNS and Friends" and V/A: "White Man in Hammersmith Palais" E

(Reviews by Steve Shafer)

Ken Boothe, Dillinger, Leroy Smart, Delroy Wilson White Man in Hammersmith Palais EP (limited edition RSD 7" vinyl four-track EP with mini-poster, Greensleeves Records, 2017): This neat compilation EP features one song each from the reggae artists named-checked in the phenomenal Clash song of the same title (which, of course, was about Joe Strummer attending a concert at the Hammersmith Palais in London featuring these artists on June 5, 1977 and having his expectations dashed when it turned out that "...it was Four Tops all night...onstage they ain't got no roots rock rebel"). It's kind of surprising that no one's though of this cool concept previously, so hats off to Greensleeves for executing it so well. The EP features Dillinger's and Smart's fantastic 1976 UK hit tracks "Cokane in My Brain" and "Ballistic Affair," as well as Booth's 1973 cover of Detroit soul artist Sixto Rodriguez's "Silver Words," and a sweet rare cut from Delroy Wilson, "Rascal Man" (AKA "False Rasta"). The repro poster of the Hammersmith Palais bill advertises that the show ran from midnight to 6:00 am, which finally explains the first line of Strummer's song...

Dub Natty Sessions and Dennis Bovell featuring Matic Horns and Mad Professor DNS and Friends (CD/digital download, available through Bovell's Old School Records, 2017): This is the second release from this Venezuelan, now UK-based roots reggae act Dub Natty Sessions. Their debut was mixed and produced by Bovell who makes a repeat appearance, this time on bass and behind the boards at Mad Professor's Ariwa studios (the Professor mixed the album). DNS and Friends is filled with catchy and dubby reggae instrumentals (featuring all the expert touches one expects of Bovell and the Mad Professor) that achieve real brilliance on tracks like "Un Amor" (which sounds like it could have come off Rico's Jama Rico) and "Plantation" (that recalls Bovell's incredible work with The 4th Street Orchestra). While Dub Natty Sessions lay down some seriously good and enjoyable grooves, their secret weapon on this album is the majestic Matic Horns (Bovell's Matumbi bandmate Henry “Buttons” Tenyue on trombone and Aswad members Eddie "Tan Tan" Thornton on trumpet and Michael "Bami" Rose on sax), who are put to amazing use here.

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Thursday, May 4, 2017

RIP, Saxa of The Beat

The Beat were (left to right) Ranking Roger, David Steele, Saxa,
Andy Cox (behind Saxa), Dave Wakeling, and Everett Morton.
From the opening notes of The Beat's 1979 debut single for 2 Tone (their incredible cover of Smokey Robinson and the Miracles' "Tears of a Clown") through to the closing, lingering sounds of "Ackee 1-2-3" (from the last track on their third and final studio album, Special Beat Service, released in 1982), Saxa's exuberant, lush, and free-flowing tenor saxophone horn lines were integral to the band's music (providing a relaxed, improvisational contrast to the tightly wound, bullet train of a rhythm section)--giving The Beat a distinct and instantly recognizable trademark sound that managed to bridge the opposing energies of dubby reggae and punk-fired late '70s British ska.

Born Lionel Augustus Martin in Jamaica on January 5, 1930, Saxa performed with fellow JA ska superstars like Prince Buster, Desmond Dekker, and Laurel Aitken (and later backed Elvis and The Beatles). Already 50 by the time he was recruited to join The Beat (having emigrated to England 25 years earlier), Saxa not only contributed his prodigious musical talents to the band, but lent the upstart ska revivalists immediate legitimacy through his participation in the first wave of ska with the aforementioned '60s ska originators.

In Daniel Rachel's brilliant "Walls Come Tumbling Down: The Music and Politics of Rock Against Racism, 2 Tone and Red Wedge" (the best history of 2 Tone that you'll ever read), Ranking Roger recalled: "Days before we went into the studio [to record "Tears of a Clown"] we found Saxa. He was this old, loud Jamaican man that just got drunk all the time and was always aggressive and cussing and swearing. There must have been a good thirty-five years' difference between us but as soon as he blew that saxophone, baby, you'd shut up."

Dave Wakeling added: "Everett [Morton] used to take us to the Crompton in Handsworth where Saxa played. He was the most mesmerizing saxophone player we'd ever heard. He played a couple of gigs with us and then said, 'I've been waiting all my life for you boys.'"

After three phenomenal albums, The Beat split into General Public and Fine Young Cannibals, but Saxa continued working with both factions, appearing on studio recordings for both acts (and later recording and touring with the The International Beat and Special Beat).

Saxa passed away on May 3, 2017 at age 87.

+ + + +

The Beat's Special Beat Service was released in 1982 when I was 16 and was on heavy rotation throughout my high school and college years (it still remains an all-time favorite, along with all of the other original Beat albums). Saxa's riffs on all of these tunes are permanently engrained in my mind and I'm forever grateful for his extraordinary music and life.

I offer my deepest condolences to his family, friends, colleagues, and fans.

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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Duff Guide to Ska Fast Takes: Hollie Cook's "Superstar," Pama International's "Man Next Door" b/w "Austerity Skank," and Neville Staple's "Return of Judge Roughneck"

(Reviews by Steve Shafer)

Hollie Cook "Superstar" b/w "Superdub" (free Record Store Day 7"/digital download, Merge Records, 2017): The physical release of this single was a last minute addition to the 2017 Record Store Day line-up and was said to given out for free at select indie shops in celebration of Cook's joining the Merge Records line-up in the USA (did anyone receive one?). The choice of cover here--The Carpenters' AM pop staple "Superstar"--is definitely inspired, continues to fulfill Cook's mission to create "tropical pop," and is well matched to her wonderfully pure voice. And while this is no slight to producer/drummer Ben Mckone (who does a very fine job here), I have to admit to kind of missing the Prince Fatty touch. No word on the new album yet, but it bodes well, based on this teaser...

Pama International "Man Next Door" b/w "Austerity Skank" (clear vinyl 7" single/digital download, Record Kicks, 2017): Following their fantastic cover of Martha and the Vandellas' "Heatwave" comes Pama International's second single off their forthcoming Love and Austerity album (to be released any time now via Record Kicks and featuring the amazing co-lead vocals of Jewels Vass and Anna Uhuru). John Holt's rocksteady urban living lament (most memorably versioned/deconstructed by The Slits) is beautifully rendered here. Even better is Pama International's original tune "Austerity Skank," which tries to shake off the gray of the punishing Cameron (now May/Brexit) years through PMA: "Hard times have come/Now, hard times be gone/No more illusions/System delusions/Our hard times are done...I'm stepping out to a better place/Tired of all of the lies getting in the way/I just want to be free/With no austerity..."

Neville Staple Return of Judge Roughneck (CD/2 x LP, Cleopatra Records, 2017): When I first put on Neville Staple's new record (after first seeing it on Chuck Wren's FB feed) and heard the opening notes of "Gangsters"/"Al Capone" in "Return of Judge Roughneck" (referencing his "Stupid Marriage" persona, natch), I braced myself for an album trading heavily on 2 Tone/Specials nostalgia (even note the use of The Specials' font on the back cover). After having listened to the LP several times through now, my initial impressions haven't been dispelled, but it's all done so winningly and well that any cynicism melts away at the sheer joy of it all. About half the tracks are safe but good covers (Stranger Cole's "Bangarang," Peter Tosh's "Maga Dog," The Melodians' "Sweet Sensation," and Sigman and Magidson's via Prince Buster/The Specials "Enjoy Yourself," among them)--though, the "Ghost Town"-like version of his own Fun Boy Three's "The Lunatics Have Taken Over the Asylum," an apt tune for the times if there ever was one, and gleeful rendition of Jimmy Soul's "If You Want to Be Happy" are truly ace; but think of them as warming you up for the really good stuff. Just about all of the new tracks--the Toasters-like modern ska of "Down My Street," the rocksteady rude boy anthem "Crime Don't Pay," the Madness-y sing-along music hall ska of "Gang Fever" ("Every time you read The Mirror or Star/Kids shot dead, rumours of war/It's a fever"), and "Politician Man"--are really good in their own right (more of these, please!). Oh, and there's a full album of inventive dubs included on the second LP or extended CD ("Crime Dub," Roadblock," "Dub Fever," "Bang Bang," "Dub Crazy," and "Legal Dub" in particular are fantastic!). This one is very much worth picking up.

+ + + +

Sunday, April 9, 2017

The Duff Guide to Ska NYC Winter/Spring 2017 Ska Calendar #46

The one and only Lee "Scratch" Perry.
Saturday, April 15, 2017 @ 7:00 pm

New Kingston, Rude Boy George

Highline Ballroom
431 West 16th Street
New York, NY
$15

+ + + +

Friday, April 21, 2017 @ 8:00 pm

DJ Gorilla presents The Last Ska Dance w/Beat Brigade, The Shipwrecks, Boomshot, The Damn Long Hairs, Changala Changala, plus DJ Miss Hap!

Don Pedro
90 Manhattan Avenue
Brooklyn, NY
$10/21+

+ + + +

Friday, April 21, 2017 @ 6:00 pm

100% Ska at Otto's Shrunken Head - Selections by DJ Ryan Midnight

Otto's Shrunken Head
538 East 14th Street (between Aves A and B)
New York, NY
No cover

+ + + +

Saturday, April 29, 2017 @ 5:30 pm - 9:30 pm

ReadJunk 20th Anniversary Party w/Rude Boy George (two sets) and DJ Duff

Otto's Shrunken Head
538 East 14th Street (between Aves A and B)
New York, NY
No cover

+ + + +

Saturday, April 29, 2017 @ 9:00 pm

The Ladrones Record Release Party w/The Applecores

Tobacco Road
355 West 41st Street
New York, NY

+ + + +

Tuesday, May 9, 2017 @ 7:00 pm

Lee "Scratch" Perry, Subatomic Sound System

Le Poisson Rouge
158 Bleecker Street
New York, NY
$25 in advance/$30 day of show
18+

+ + + +

Friday, May 12, 2017 @ 9:00 pm

Mephiskapheles, NYC Ska Orchestra

The Bell House
149 7th Street
Brooklyn, NY
$15/21+

+ + + +

Friday, May 19, 2017 @ 8:00 pm

Askultura and The Ladrones

Tobacco Road
354 West 41st Street
New York, NY

+ + + +

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

J. Navarro and The Traitors

Cape House
2 Knickerbocker Avenue
Brooklyn, NY

+ + + +

Friday, May 26, 2017 @ 7:00 pm

Monty Neysmith Montgomery of Symarip, The Bishops

Cape House
2 Knickerbocker Avenue
Brooklyn, NY
$15/21+

+ + + +

Saturday, June 3, 2017 @ 8:00 pm

Ska/Punky/Reggae Party II w/The Rudie Crew, The Omega Men, Super Hi-Fi, Necrotic Society, Skum City, Curb Ya Horse, plus DJ Gorilla

Pista bandas unidas oficial
96-11 Roosevelt Avenue
Queens, NY
All ages

+ + + +

Friday, June 9, 2017 @ 7:00 pm

The Specials, The Far East

Brooklyn Steel
319 Frost Street
Brooklyn, NY
$50/16+

+ + + +

Saturday, June 10, 2017 @ 9:00 pm (2 sets!)

Larry McDonald's 80th Birthday Party w/Dave Hillyard and the Rocksteady 7, plus DJ One Hundred Decibels
Hank's Saloon
46 Third Avenue
Brooklyn, NY
$8

+ + + +

Friday, June 23, 2017 @ 7:00 pm

The Slackers

Rocks Off Concert Cruise
The Liberty Belle
299 South Street
New York, NY
$30/21+

+ + + +