Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year's, Y'all!

From the Guardian (UK):

Q: "What's your favourite New Year's Eve song?"

Asked of Gaz Mayall, DJ, Gaz's Rockin' Blues (appearing at the Tabernacle, London on New Year's Eve)...

"Aulde Lang Syne," The Trojans
"We recorded it in 1994 because I thought if the day comes when I'm not playing with my band [British ska outfit the Trojans] I need to have that one up my sleeve. I can't imagine Hogmanay without bagpipes. It starts slow and I like to stop the music when I play it and then everyone sings along – it's completely chaotic and nuts."

The Best Ska Albums of 2010!

Editor's note: Here is The Duff Guide to Ska's "Best Ska Albums of 2010" list, such as it is. In all honesty, there were several albums that we weren't able to get our mitts on before the clock ran out (here's our shout-out of love to Babyhead and Pama Intl who probably should be on this list, too!)--and, no doubt, there were many others out there that we never even knew about. So here is our less-than-definitive "Best of List" in all of its flawed glory...

1592: This One's for You All (self-released). Read The Duff Guide to Ska Review here.

Babayaga: Funky Drop (Skanky 'Lil Records). Read The Duff Guide to Ska review here.

Babylove and the van Dangos: The Money and the Time (Jump Up Records)

The Beatdown: The Beatdown (Stomp Records). Read The Duff Guide to Ska review here.

Bigger Thomas: Steal My Sound (self-released). Read The Duff Guide to Ska review here.

The Bullets: Sweet Misery (Jump Up Records). Read The Duff Guide to Ska review here.

The Caroloregians: Funkify Your Reggae (Grover Records)

Jimmy the Squirrel: Whatever the Weather (Do the Dog Music). Read The Duff Guide to Ska review here.

King Hammond: Jacuzzi (N.1. Records)

King Hammond: The King and I (N.1. Records). Read The Duff Guide to Ska Review here.

Mark Foggo: MAD (V2 Records). Read The Duff Guide to Ska review here.

The Moon Invaders vs. The Caroloregians: Hot Blood Cold Weather (Jump Up Records)

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Bonus "Best of" Lists!

Best Live Ska Records:

King Django Quintet: Brooklyn Hangover (Stubborn Records). Read The Duff Guide to Ska review here.

The Moon Invaders: Live at the Ancienne Belgique (Grover Records)

Best Ska Reissue:

Laurel Aitken: Everybody Ska! Rudi Got Married 1980 to 1992 (Pressure Drop). Read The Duff Guide to Ska Review here.

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Also, check our "Best Ska Singles of 2010" and "Best Ska 10" and 12" Platters of 2010"!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Best Ska 10" and 12" Platters of 2010

Editor's note: Despite what our admirers might say about us, The Duff Guide to Ska wasn't able to acquire and listen to every ska 7", 10", 12", LP, CD, and digital track released in 2010. So with this confession/caveat in mind, below please find our thoroughly unscientific, highly biased, and most incomplete "Best Ska 10" and 12" Platters of 2010" list:

Heavy Manners: "Get Me Outta Debt" b/w "Fight the Good Fight" (three track 12" record; Jump Up Records). Read The Duff Guide to Ska review here.

King Django: Avenue A (four track 10" record; Stubborn Records). Read The Duff Guide to Ska review here.

The Revivers: The Revivers (five track 10" record; Jump Up Records).

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Up next: "Best Ska Albums of 2010"!

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Don't miss our list of "Best Ska Singles of 2010"!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Best Ska Singles of 2010

Editor's note: Despite what our fans and boosters may say about us, The Duff Guide to Ska is not omniscient (we're quite imperfect and fallible, trust us!). We're ashamed to admit that didn't get our sweaty hands on every ska 7", 10", 12", LP, CD, and digital track released in 2010 (though we wish we had!). So, despite our shortcomings, below please find our thoroughly unscientific, highly biased, and most incomplete "Best Ska Singles of 2010" list:

- Babyhead: "Jungle Law" b/w "Jungle Lore" (two track vinyl single; Rockers Revolt Records). Read The Duff Guide to Ska review here.

- Club Moonstomp, featuring Roy Ellis, Eastern Standard Time, Mr. T Bone, and Green Room Rockers (four track color vinyl single, Jump Up Records).

- The Crabs Corporation Meets King Hammond: "Bring Down the Birds" (one track vinyl single; Record Kicks). Read The Duff Guide to Ska review here.

- King Hammond: "Riot in London Town" (four track vinyl single; N.1. Records). Read The Duff Guide to Ska review here.

- The Hard Times: "Two Bucks for Bob" (three track digital EP; Whatevski Records). Read The Duff Guide to Ska review here.

- Buford O'Sullivan: L.R.T.R. (three track vinyl single and eight track digital EP; Megalith Records). Read The Duff Guide to Ska review here.

- Tin Roots: Set Sail (four track digital EP; self-released). Read The Duff Guide to Ska review here.

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Up next: The Best Ska 10" and 12" Records!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Decade Without Moon, Part 2

Jeremy Patton--who runs Megalith Records and has most of the Moon Records archive in his possession--just posted some pictures from the end of days at the East 10th Street store, as well as some photos from the Moon promo office (in happier days, circa 1997), when it was operating out of my apartment (check out the pix here).

It was kind of chaotic and cramped--two desks complete with now ancient Macs (and a folding card table for our intern's use); steel shelves jammed with promo CDs, one-sheets, posters, padded mailers, Moon Skazettes, press clippings, and a well-used postage meter--but we serviced countless college radio stations, skazines, local and music press, clubs, and indie record stores with everything they needed to help promote our bands and their releases/tours.

Wish I still had that "Skalapalooza" poster (it was ruined in a flood in my parent's basement a few years ago--still not sure how the water made its way into that Rubbermaid bin)...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Obey the Ska!

I now completely forget what image I was searching for when I came across this crazy mash up of OBEY's Andre the Giant, The Beat's logo font, and "Dance Craze's" iconic loafer, checkered sock, and houndstooth trouser combo. (Don't know if this t-shirt is even available anymore--I couldn't find it on eBay or through a Google search--the image was posted on a turntablist's blog, which noted that the shirt came out in 2009.)

Shepard Fairey knows good design (the "Dance Craze" LP cover and poster was created by John "Teflon" Sims) to "appropriate" when he sees it.

Anyone ever seen this shirt in person?

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Toasters' Christma-ska

Looking for a last-minute gift for the ska fan on your Xmas list--or need some non-saccharine holiday music to lift your spirits? Well, The Toasters have you covered!

Bucket and the boys have now made the eleven Christmas/holiday themed tunes they originally recorded for the 1997 Japan-only Moon Ska Tokyo/Tachyon Records Christma-ska CD available for digital download through Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby (you can also hear samples of all these tunes at each of these sites).

Unless you were one of the lucky people that snapped up one of the few copies of Christma-ska that Moon Ska Records imported for sale through the East 10th Street store in the late 90s, these tracks have been unavailable outside of Japan for almost 13 years. (In addition to The Toasters' cuts, the Japanese Christma-ska also featured songs by The Bluebeats, NY Ska Jazz Ensemble, The Allstonians, Buford O'Sullivan Experience, and Skinnerbox.) It also should be noted that three of The Toasters' tracks ("Happy Christmas," "Christmas Time Again," and "Rudy Christmas A Jail") are original compositions.

And check out the "vintage," mid-80s Bob Fingerman illustration used on the cover--a very nice touch for a great collection of tunes!

Holiday Gifts from Madness!

The Nutty Boys just wrapped up their "Do Not Adjust Your Nut" tour of the UK and are graciously offering some free downloads of live recordings from various stops along the way:

Blackpool: "Lovestruck"

Glasgow: "One Step Beyond"

Newcastle: "Forever Young" and "Madness"

Manchester: "Shut Up" and "Clerkenwell Polka"

Leicester: "Embarrassment"

Leeds: "My Girl"

Nottingham: "The Sun & The Rain" and "Tomorrow's Just Another Day"

Bournemouth: "Bed & Breakfast Man" and "The Young & The Old"

Reading: "Driving In My Car" and "The Prince"

Birmingham: "Wings Of a Dove"

Cardiff: "House Of Fun" and "Tarzan’s Nuts"

Plymouth: "NW5" and "Our House"

Brighton: "Baggy Trousers"

London: "It Must Be Love" and "Night Boat To Cairo"

Friday, December 17, 2010

A Decade Without Moon

Thanks to John at Hoi Polloi Skazine for pointing out today's significance in the ska world. It's been 10 long years since Bucket sent out this terrible news.

The US ska scene still hasn't yet recovered from this body blow. (Will it ever?)

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On a related, and decidedly happier note, check out Kames Jelly's New Jersey Noise blog for a look back at some of Moon Records' early singles...

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And to cheer you up, check out the HP Ska "Rudy Christmas" holiday playlist!

Duff Review: V/A Live in London (The London International Ska Festival)

Blue Beat Records

With the forthcoming 2011 London International Ska Festival in mind, I thought it might be timely to turn back the clock about 23 years to check out Live in London, the record that documented the very first ska fest Sean Flowerdew organized back in 1988, when he was still a teenager (seventeen, to be exact!).

Apart from the 1988 Bad Manners fan-club only Eat the Beat LP, Live in London was the auspicious debut commercial release from Buster Bloodvessel's then newly revived Blue Beat Records--he licensed the name and logo, and then proceeded to issue a string of top-notch records, including Bad Manners' Return of the Ugly, Buster's All-Stars' Skinhead Luv-A-Fair, and Napoleon Solo's Shot! before the label folded in 1990. As an historic recording, Live in London captured 12 phenomenal bands (with lots of spirited noise and chanting from the crowd) at the height of the late 80s Euro ska scene (England, in particular, was a hotbed of post-2 Tone activity); and as for its merits as a ska record, you'll be hard-pressed to find a collection of tunes and live performances as consistently good as this.

Night one, December 20, 1988 at The Sir George Robey (an elegant name for a shambles of a venue), featured Capone and the Bullets (UK), The Braces (West Germany--this was before the fall of the Berlin Wall!), Bim Skala Bim (USA), Skaos (West Germany), and Prince Buster (JA) backed by The Trojans (UK). Night two, December 21, 1988 at the larger and more glam Brixton Fridge, included Napoleon Solo (Denmark), The Deltones (UK), The Loafers (UK), The Potato 5 (UK), Laurel Aitken (UK), and Bad Manners (UK).

Glasgow's Capone and the Bullets open side one with their light-hearted "Paranoid Zone," offering up a great example of why they were wildly popular throughout the British Isles (as an intro to this tune, the singer deadpans that he gets paranoid "whenever we do a gig, I get this sort of feeling that everyone is looking at me"). The Braces' demonstrate why they were one of the top German acts at the time with a boisterous rendition of their signature tune "Julie Julie". On every live recording I've ever heard them do, Boston's Bim Skala Bim always sound incredible--they were simply a powerhouse live act, a key ingredient of which was the fantastic vocal interplay between Dan Vitale and Jackie Starr (certainly rivaling the spot-on vocal stylings of a Recriminations-era Bucket and Vicky Rose). "Jah Laundromat" is Bim's amusingly surreal take on Rastafarianism immersed in Christian baptism ("We'll wash all our sins away/down at Jah laundromat today"). Skaos exhumes and re-animates an appropriately sinister, revved-up ska-billy version of "The Munsters" TV theme song (with a nice thermin-sounding guitar effect)--and, like several other songs during the 80s (such as "Baby Elephant Walk"), it was covered by more than one ska band: The Forest Hillbillies recorded it for Gaz in 1986, swapping out the guitar for a violin on the melody for a touch of that hoedown-ska sound.

If happen to come across a vinyl copy of this album, check out the significant number of vinyl grooves allotted to Prince Buster's "Dance Cleopatra" (it's practically a third of side one!). While I have major respect for The Prince--and The Trojans are truly nothing short of stellar as his backing band here--this strikes me a bit of an odd choice for showcasing Buster's talents. As The Trojans perform a deadly cool extended take on this instrumental cut, Prince Buster spends most of the track shouting out the titles of his hit songs or signature lyrics like "Al Capone's guns don't argue!" and "This is a punch designed by Cassius Clay to cripple every fighter living today!" A minor quibble, but it would have been nice to actually hear him sing a tune like "Take it Easy" or "Shaking Up Orange Street."

On side two, Napoleon Solo practically burst out of the speakers on their burningly lusty and almost cinematic soul-ska romp, "Drive Me Wild" ("It's kind of strange what a woman can do to a man/Break me down and build me up now/Don't you understand?/She drives me wild!"). Criminally unknown in the States (imagine a 60s girl group like The Angels or Ronnettes transported to JA to exclusively perform ska and rocksteady tunes), The Deltones' breezy warning "Don't Fall in Love" (...with me) wasn't enough to keep the UK rude boys away (and this sweet cut lets you know why). Sean Flowerdew's own much beloved band The Loafers turn in a blistering performance of their frantic "Too Late Rudy". The premier instrumental ska act in the UK of that time, The Potato 5 play a rollicking cover of The Skatalites' foundational rhythm track "Shockers Rock" (which in itself is a version of Roland Alphonso's "Cleopatra"). Laurel Aitken, one of the most natural and gifted performers I've ever seen, is backed by the Pressure Tenants on this jaunty reading of his 1980 hit "Rudi Got Married." While they were poised to release Return of the Ugly, one of the finest records of their career (largely due to the superb songwriting of King Hammond himself, Nick Welsh), Bad Manners relive the glory days with their sanguine 1981 top 10 hit "Walking in the Sunshine".

Back in the day, the readers of George Marshall's amazing "Zoot" skazine (he's written some of the most accurately succinct ska reviews I've ever had the pleasure to read) voted the London International Ska Fest the #1 ska event of 1988--and Live in London as the #2 live record in 1989. How's that for an endorsement? (George also provides boosterish liner notes on the back of the LP sleeve.)

No doubt there are pirated copies of Live in London orbiting in cyberspace, but of the many out-of-print treasures from the late 80s ska scene deserving a proper "real world" re-release, this is an absolute must.

Duff Guide to Ska Grade: A

Thursday, December 16, 2010

New Ska Doc: "Gaz's Rockin' Blues: A Brief History"

Directors Leo Leigh and Zaid Mudhaffer have put together an excellent short documentary film (17+ minutes) for Spine Television about Gaz Mayall's long-running club night titled "Gaz's Rockin' Blues: A Brief History." Filmed during the release of Gaz's book, "Gaz's Rockin' Blues: The First 30 Years" (read The Duff Guide to Ska review here) and an exhibit of his club posters and related paraphernalia at London's Subway Gallery, this doc features interviews with Gaz, one of his main DJs Natty Bo (Top Cats, Ska Cubano), and assorted friends and fans. (An added bonus is a soundtrack featuring cuts from The Ska Flames and Potato 5!)

So much of what Gaz has done and accomplished with his club night is ephemeral (people came, drank, danced, socialized, fell in/out of love, caught a band, went home--then, repeat a week later) that it's really wonderful that at least some facets of it have been documented in his book--and now in this gem of a film.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

2011 London International Ska Fest Update: Randy's Clive Chin to DJ

Does it really mean anything to write "stop the presses" on a blog in this day and age? Anyway, the latest from Sean Flowerdew is that legendary reggae producer and record label owner Clive Chin will be joining the extraordinary ranks of DJs (Gaz Mayall, Tommy Rock-A-Shacka, Rhoda Dakar, Mark Lamarr, Felix Hall, etc.) at the 2011 London International Ska Festival. Here's some very relevant background from Sean:
Clive Chin ranks as one of Jamaican music's greatest & most prolific reggae producers. While working at the family business, Randy's Record Store and the crucial studio upstairs, Randy's Studio 17, Chin oversaw seminal recordings by the '70s top reggae performers and producers: The Wailers, Tommy McCook, Alton Ellis, Dennis Brown, Gregory Isaacs, Lee Perry and Black Uhuru. From 1969, when it opened, Randy's Studio 17 became a focal point of Jamaican music. Working with innovative engineer Errol Thompson, the teenage Clive Chin laid down thick bass and drum rhythms which became a signature of the roots reggae, dub and rebel rock/rockers sounds. Music personnel flocked to Randy's to get the rich bass sound and full sonic image on their songs.

Chin first rose to prominence by producing a record for a classmate Horace Swaby, a.k.a. Augustus Pablo. This record, "Java," became a slow burning international sensation with its Eastern motif played on the melodica. LPs followed, namely This Is Augustus Pablo and Java Java Dub, which elaborated on the rhythmic achievements of the single. Another of his biggest hits on the British National Chart was "Fatty Bum, Bum" by Carl Malcolm. Ultimately, these halcyon days came to an abrupt end in 1978, as the Chin family closed shop and relocated to New York, where the record operation was renamed V.P. Records, today, the largest reggae distributor in North America. In 2007 VP Records started an imprint 17 North Parade to reissue some of the historic Randy's releases.

Clive Chin is now celebrating Randy's Record label 50th anniversary, by taking his music to the world. He has recently completed tours of China, Japan, USA and we are honoured to now be bringing a true Jamaican legend to the UK for The London Intl Ska Festival.
Sean also has provided some excellent info about Tommy Rock-A-Shacka, who may be lesser-known to some Westerners:
Minoru Tomita better known as 'Tommy Rock-A-Shacka' is one of the founders of the legendary Rock-A-Shacka/ Far East Records label. Working closely with his partner in crime Masaya ‘PiratesChoice’ Hayashi (founder of Drum And Bass Records) in Japan, together have built a reputation collecting, releasing and also producing material for the masses.

Over the years, Tommy has collaborated with many Jamaican artists and producers, and as a team have released material from the likes of the late great Alton Ellis, Stranger Cole, Prince Buster, Sonia Pottinger, and Glen Brown, to name but a few.

Tommy is considered to be one of the biggest collectors of Jamaican music in Japan, and a leading figure amongst the Japanese revival scene. He has a frightening collection of rare singles and possibly the biggest Merritone, Top Deck, Prince Buster catalogue known to man. Having dj'd all over the world including the UK, Germany, Austria, Los Angeles, Mexico, we are delighted to be bring the man from Far East -Tommy Rock-A-Shacka to The London Intl Ska Festival.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Skavoovie Documentary Soundtrack

In "ant"-icipation of the forthcoming Duff Guide to Ska interview with Ans Purins (freelance illustrator--he did some work for Moon Records back in the day--and comic book artist, as well as frontman) of Skavoovie, check out this really quite compelling and informative video about ants titled "Ants! Rulers of the Insect World" by Adam Lazarus. What does a nature documentary have to do with ska, you may ask? Well, it features a ska/dubby/jazzy soundtrack composed mostly by Skavoovie members Eugene Cho and Ben Jaffe, which was then performed by the band. Very good stuff here.

Ants! Rulers of the Insect World from Adam Lazarus.

According to Ans, this video hasn't been available for about a decade, so it's nice to have it in circulation again...

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Also, I just received my review copy of Ans' awesome new comic book, "Zombre (#2), The Magic Forest," which I'll review when I post his interview.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Les Ejectes, Rhoda Dakar, and Tommy Rock-A-Shacka Join 2011 London Int'l Ska Fest!

Things are moving at so fast and furious a pace at the 2011 London International Ska Festival, we can barely keep up. French act Les Ejectes (you might remember them from Unicorn's 1989 Vive le Ska comp?) are now slated to perform at the fest:
Formed in 1988, Les Ejectes are one of the longest running, hardest working, and most loved French ska bands. From the outset the band stood on a politically charged crossroads of punk, ska, reggae and rhythm and blues. Equally inspired by the French artists Nino Ferrer and Serge Gainsbourg, they have released 10 albums, including mixes with Mad Professor.

Les Ejectes have toured Iceland, Italy, Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, Tunisia, Spain, Canada, Lithuania, USA, Serbia, Croatia, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Canada, Romania, Switzerland and of course their native France, with shows alongside Mano Negra, The Mescaleros, Murphys Law, Rita Marley, Maroon Town, Bob Dylan, Beastie Boys and Iggy Pop, in the process building a huge grassroots following. Their politically charged and socially aware stance has led them to active involvement on the anti-facist and anti-racist scenes, as well as backing ecological and youth enterprises, particularly supporting new musicians.

2010 has seen the release of their superb new album 'To The Roots.'

Also, Rhoda Dakar (Bodysnatchers and The Special AKA) and Tommy Rock-A-Shacka have signed on as DJs!

Here's the complete line-up as of right now (more to be added, of course):


Ken Boothe (Jamaica)*
The English Beat starring Dave Wakeling (US)
Bob Andy & Marcia Griffiths (Jamaica)*
James Hunter (UK)
The Ska Flames (Japan)*
Dub Pistols (UK)
The Trojans (UK)
The Loafers (UK, one-off reformation)*
The Hotknives (UK, original line-up)*
Bim skala Bim (USA)*
Maroon Town (UK)
Intensified (UK)
Napoleon Solo (Denmark)*
The Caroloregians (Belgium)
Les Ejectes (France)*
The Amphetameanies (Scotland)
The Sidewalk Doctors (UK)
Cartoon Violence (Wales)
Jimmy the Squirrel (UK)
(* denotes exclusive shows)


Mark Lamarr
Gaz Mayall
Rhoda Dakar
Tommy Rock-A-Shacka (Japan)
The Tighten Up Crew featuring Champian MC
Jim Cox (Reggae Train)
Greedy G
Felix Hall

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Amphetameanies Do "Christmas Wrapping" on the Beeb

The Amphetameanies--who are one of the featured acts at the upcoming 2011 London International Ska Festival--were kind enough to share this terrific video of them performing The Waitresses' now classic New Wave holiday track "Christmas Wrapping" for BBC Scotland back on Xmas Eve 2007. (Don't miss the great shot of Jane Chalmers wiping her brow in relief at the end...the lyric sheet for this cut is a monster!)

They also do a bang-up job of covering The Pogues' "Fairytale of New York."
The boys from the NYPD choir were singing Galway Bay
And the bells were ringing out for Christmas Day
Always gives me chills.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Duff Review: Babayaga Funky Drop

Skanky 'Lil Records

For the unfamiliar, the German ska band Babayaga is like the very gifted but hyperactive love child that would result if it were possible to mate The Toasters with The Busters. (For the non-Russians, Poles, and Hellboy fans out there, Baba Yaga is a witch-like character from Slavic folklore, who is sometimes depicted as a reluctant source of wisdom for those on quests, but in other tales is a kidnapper--and possible eater--of children.) Babayaga's brass-heavy, super-charged modern ska sound (with dashes of reggae, jazz, and Latin upping the amperage) is supremely infectious, highly-danceable, and all-out good fun. On their splendid third album Funky Drop, you'll find a mix of fine instrumentals (like "I Am A Train" and "Sweet") and a slew of cuts that will have you singing along loudly to their choruses.

Despite their country's often harsh and dreary climate--and like so many of their German ska predecessors (No Sports, Dr. Ring Ding & The Senior Allstars, El Bosso und die Ping Pongs, Blechreiz, The Frits, The Braces, The Butlers, etc.)--Babayaga write what seems like a surprising number of upbeat, carefree, good times songs (don't they have seasonal affective disorder there?). A prime example of this is the sunshine-y and catchy "Mellow Mood" ("I'm in a mellow mood/that I can dance and touch your face"), with its lovely three-part harmonies. "Funky Drop" isn't funky reggae, but a great ska tune, nonetheless ("You don't have to do anything/except dance and sing to the Funky Drop"). "Yesterday Night" is a driving ska-soul tune that has the singer urging his girlfriend not to ruin the good thing they have going--and to "forget what happened yesterday night." Babayaga's jazzier roots show on the smooth, non-Sicilian sounding instrumental "Mafia."

The tone of the album shifts a little with the more aggro, frenzied, and insistent kiss off "You Better Go" (the object of their scorn is even ejected from their gig!), as well as their public disdain for flower children in "Hippie." The mournful reggae cut "Motherless Child" references Joe Higgs' extraordinary "There's a Reward" (found on Life of Contradiction--read The Duff Guide to Ska review here); this is the original lyric: "Sometimes I feel like a motherless child/You know no one cares for me/I've never known sympathy." While most of the tracks on Funky Drop are in English, there is the salsa tune "Dos Alemanes Muertos" (Spanish for "Two Dead Germans") and two ska songs in German, "Der Traurige Clown" ("The Sad Clown") and "Sommawaso."

Those seeking ska's musical enlightenment should definitely stop by Babayaga's chicken leg cabin for the fantastic sounds found on their Funky Drop.

The Duff Guide to Ska Grade: A

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Bob and Marcia Added to 2011 London International Ska Festival!

It just keeps on getting better:
Following the announcement of Ken Boothe, we are honoured to announce the next acts added to The London International Ska Festival are two more Jamaican legends. One of reggae's most influential songwriters and singers, Bob Andy and the 'Queen of Reggae' Marcia Griffiths will be reuniting for a very special evening, and once again performing together again as Bob & Marcia.

The duo met whilst recording for Jamaica's premier label of the day Studio One, but it was on the move to the Harry J Label that their international recognition came. In 1970 and 71 they hit the British, as well as the International charts with their version of Nina Simone's 'Young, Gifted and Black', which peaked at No.5 and 'The Pied Piper' (reaching No.11).

Bob Andy was one of the founding members of The Paragons, along with Tyrone Evans and Howard Barrett, and later joined by John Holt. As one of Studio One's leading lights, Bob worked closely with Jackie Mittoo on many of the label's seminal sounds. Besides writing songs for himself which have become reggae standards 'Feeling Soul', 'My Time', 'Going Home' and 'Too Experienced', to name just a few, Bob contributed hits for many of the other artists there. His album 'Songbook' is quite rightly referred to as "a masterpiece".

Marcia Griffiths, discovered by Philip “Boasie” James lead singer of the Blues Busters, started her singing career performing with Byron Lee & The Dragonaires. Her recording years started soon after, at Coxsone Dodd's Studio One where she recorded her first hit, the Bob Andy composition 'Feel Like Jumping'. Upon Bob & Marcia's split in 1974, Marcia united with Judy Mowatt and Rita Marley to form the I-Threes, Bob Marley's sublime vocal trio.

For over 40 years Bob Andy and Marcia Griffiths have continued to record and tour all over the world, establishing themselves as true legends of Jamaica’s musical history. In recent years the Jamaican government conferred the Order of Distinction on both of them. We are delighted to have Bob and Marcia performing not only their timeless duets but also their classic solo hits at The London Intl Ska Festival.
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Also, the schedule of appearances is starting to firm up:
Thursday 21 April 2011
Ken Boothe and James Hunter

Friday 22 April 2011
The Loafers and Hotknives

Saturday 23 April 2011
The English Beat starring Dave Wakeling and The Caroloregians

Sunday 24 April 2011
Bob & Marcia