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Is it time for a bold new direction for 23min of Ska? Maybe, or maybe not… I dunno. I think the show’s going pretty well as it is! As always, I hope you enjoy this episode, and if you have any ideas for me, hit up the facebook page or twitter (information below) and let me know. I love my listeners as much as I love ska, and we can all see how much I dig ska music!
At the end of the last episode it should be no surprise how I kicked this one off. Yeah, I was in the mood for some 2Tone bands, which then lead me into a listening session of other more traditional ska bands from the era I like to call “before I got into the ska music”. One of the things about ska is that it has so much riches in it, a lot of people focus on the early days with what was coming out of Jamaica, and some even on the British bands of the late ’70s/early ’80s, but there seems to be a lack of love for the late ’80s/early ’90s ska that isn’t ska/punk. As everything else that has to do w/ ska music, I still need to learn a lot more about it! I hope that mixing that sound along w/ some of the UK’s top acts doesn’t offend your listening sensibilities.
I’ve never really thought about centering a whole show around a single label before, but if any record label deserves the honor of being the first, it has got to be the UK’s 2 Tone Records run by the Specials’ Jerry Dammers. This episode is also heavily influenced by a book my wife recently got for me for my birthday, “the Two Tone Story” by George Marshall. This book is a history of the label and the bands on the label. As I was reading it, it made me more and more want to go back and listen to those band and their early songs. I won’t lie, I don’t too much experience with a few of these bands, like the Bodysnatchers and the Selecter so it was nice to hear a little more from each of them. Also, the Swinging Cats are totally new to me and I can’t believe I hadn’t even heard of them before! Rico was a honorary member of the Specials and had studied under Don Drummond before moving to England. He is on a host of ska & rocksteady records from Jamaica and England from ’60s through the to the ’90s (playing with pretty much EVERYONE) and even played on both Dandy Livingstone & the Specials’ versions of “A Message to You, Rudy”. If that isn’t enough awesome we have some classics from the (English) Beat and Madness from their debut singles on 2 Tone. I couldn’t leave out a track from the Dance Craze comp so I went with one of the Bad Manners tracks. Even Bad Manners looks back and says it was a mistake for them to turn down a chance to do a 2 Tone single in their early years. I would be remiss if I didn’t include at least one track from the Specials/the Special AKA, so I went with my all time favorite, “Too Much Too Young” and went out and found a live version of it that I hadn’t heard before! I hope everyone enjoys this trip down memory lane/education type episode. I had a ball putting this together, so I hope it is also great for everyone to listen to.
the Bodysnatchers – Ruder Than You (Let’s Do Rock Steady / Ruder Than You ’80) the Special AKA – Too Much Too Young (Live) (Too Much Too Young ’80) Bad Manners – Lip Up Fatty (Live) (Dance Craze compilation ’81) the Beat – Tears of a Clown (Tears of a Clown / Ranking Full Stop ’79) Madness – the Prince (the Prince / Madness ’79)
Rico – Carolina (Sea Cruise / Carolina ’80)
the Swinging Cats – Away (Mantovani / Away ’80) the Selecter – Too Much Pressure (On My Radio / Too Much Pressure ’79)
I asked the listener base what their favorite ska songs were, just as a general curiosity. After seeing their answers, I knew this had to be an episode! So I got to mixing it late last night and here it is for all to enjoy. A program created by the 23min of Ska listners! Thanks to Kevin Lustrup, James Volpe, Evan Roy, Tracy Sandford, ‘Tracy Kedge, Salvador Rios, Paul Kerner and Clay Spires!
Fishbone – Skankin’ to the Beat (Party at Ground Zero ’85)
the Insteps – Shotgun Jimmy (Ska: the Thrid Wave ’95) the Pinstripes – Alright Girl (I ’12)
the Ethiopians – Train to Skaville (Train to Skaville/You are the Girl ’67) the English Beat – Can’t Get Used to Losing You (Just Can’t Stop It ’80) Goldfinger – Superman (Hang Ups ’97) the Planet Smashers – SK8 or Die! (No Self Control ’03) the Aquabats! – Pizza Day (Myths, Legends And Other Amazing Adventures Vol. 2 ’00)
Also thanks to Ryan Woolwine, Matt Flood, Cesar Alonso Sanchez and Kamil Krajewski who’s favorite songs have already been played on an episode of this podcast already. And to Dave Polk, who loves MU330 and Big D & the Kids Table but I just played them on the last episode, so he’ll have to wait.
If you’re in a ska band and would like to be interviewed or have a song featured, please email me at radjose[at]gmail[dot]com.
Back in my youth I was even less put together than I am now, and while I’ve never understood how people say “music saved my life,” I can without a doubt say that music kept me sane. Sane and out of trouble. And no genre more so than ska and ska/punk. It really is a lovable community! So once again I bring you listeners a bunch of songs that kept me from injecting bleach into my eyeballs or whatever the kids were doing back then. Bands like the English Beat and Sublime have been around for anyone who’s listened to the radio and had a bit of taste, but bands like the Step Lively and King Apparatus did a lot more for me personally. Like personally rocking me like Step Lively did at a basement show in Normal, IL and the Exceptions who where a super friendly group of guys who always had a handshake and a hug for any audience members. I also wanted to showcase an Exceptions song that was exclusive to the “Ska American Style” compilation that you may not’ve heard. The last song is from the Malcontents, a band so nice, that after driving for hours to attend their CD release they dedicated a song to me! See, these bands are all such lovable people that just seeing them and hanging out with them kept me from a life time of being a damn jerk all the time.
If you’re in a ska band and would like to be featured or if you know some music that you think I should hear for future inclusion, please email me at radjose[at]gmail[dot]com!