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Wheat Loaf
Feb 13, 2012

by FactsAreUseless


I'm less of a ska fan than I used to be, but when I was younger I was very keen on 2 Tone groups like Madness, the Specials and the Selecter. Those were some of the first bands that really caught my attention; Madness in particular appealed to me because I discovered them when I was learning to play the saxophone.

I think the first American ska album I listened to was Dub 56 by the Toasters. It was great. They're probably one of the jazzier Third Wave bands, and there's was some really fantastic horn playing on that record (I might mention the sax solo on the track "Sweet Cherie", which is fairly simple but nevertheless very effective).

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Wheat Loaf
Feb 13, 2012

by FactsAreUseless


Recently I went out and got myself a book called House of Fun: The Story of Madness. It's pretty comprehensive, I'd say it's definitely up there with Horace Panter's Ska'd For Life memoir as far as accounts of the 2 Tone years go.

Does anybody else like 2 Tone? I prefer it the third wave stuff. Madness and the Specials were probably the first bands I was ever into, and after that I became a fan of Laurel Aitken and the Skatalites.

Wheat Loaf
Feb 13, 2012

by FactsAreUseless


guppy posted:

Is there anything else on the release radar?

I think the new Madness album might be coming out this year but it doesn't have a date yet. However, they've recently brought out a new compilation album called Forever Young: The Ska Compilation, which covers most of the songs they've recorded which have the most pronounced ska/reggae influences.

Wheat Loaf
Feb 13, 2012

by FactsAreUseless


I've been so distracted with work and overtime lately, I've neglected my playing. I picked up my saxophone, and I feel like I've lost it. I've decided it's time to get back into the swing of things. I'm getting rid of the eighties corporate rock I've accumulated (via eBay, maybe, though I've been thinking of doing an SA Mart thread as well) because the time for a wank is over. I'm getting back into the music that got me started as a musician; the first music that really meant something to me.

This means, among other things, getting back into ska again!

So, I dusted off my copy of The Specials and put it in the CD tray.

"A Message to You, Rudy" starts up, Rico and Dick on horns, and I'm blown away. "Nite Klub" with that great bass line, and all the rest I had forgotten how good this was. This entire album is amazing. I know Elvis Costello's production gets slagged off a lot but I think it's great. It's got a real sixties beat group vibe to it and I love it.

I don't know why I ever left this.

Next on the agenda, One Step Beyond (because Madness - specifically the song "The Prince" - is what really got me taking saxophone seriously in the first place), then switching over to my favourite American ska album, Dub 56.

Of course, I need to dig out my old soul and reggae and R&B albums, start getting some more of them. I've got Searching for the Young Soul Rebels on my listen list after those two. Then I need to get back into the jazz. Seriously.

Wheat Loaf fucked around with this message at Mar 15, 2015 around 00:02

Wheat Loaf
Feb 13, 2012

by FactsAreUseless


I've been listening to a lot of Toasters stuff lately. Can anybody recommend any American ska that's closer to the 2 Tone stuff or more jazz/soul than rock-influenced (i.e. closer to the Toasters than, say, Reel Big Fish or Less Than Jake)?

Wheat Loaf
Feb 13, 2012

by FactsAreUseless


Probably shouldn't have specified American! It's more non-Jamaican/non-British ska that isn't just "punk/rock with horns".

Heh. I'm reminded of how, about three or four years ago, I found an old web page which had a 10-year old interview with the guy who played trumpet in Save Ferris (I liked the one album they did with "The World Is New" and "Come On Eileen" though I'm not sure whether I'd have called it ska), who, when asked how he got into the band, explains that one of the other guys in the band was a high school classmate who invited him to join a ska band, and when he asked, "What's ska?" he received the answer, "It's like rock with horns."

Wheat Loaf
Feb 13, 2012

by FactsAreUseless


Thanks for all the suggestions, everyone. I've heard some of these names, so it'll be fun finding out what they sound like.

Side note: I've tried Streetlight Manifesto before, but for whatever reason I couldn't really get into them. I'll have to give them another go sometime. Honestly, though, the first time around, I wasn't really into the ska punk stuff. I thought the Toasters were great when I heard Dub 56 (I bought it on iTunes solely because of its album art), the Save Ferris cover of "Come On Eileen" led me to the It Means Everything album, which I liked, and I thought Reel Big Fish were fun, but beyond that I didn't really get into a lot of it. Now that I'm trying to get back into all my old music, I might give it another spin, though as I mentioned I'm keen to try stuff that's a little closer to what I enjoyed before.

Thing is, I'm not entirely sure what put me off. I was big into 2 Tone* for a good long time (Madness was my gateway drug; I used to know all the Madness songs on piano), then I got into soul music, Searching For the Young Soul Rebels and all the mod revival stuff (the Jam, obviously, though I think it goes without saying that Secret Affair were the best group in that scene) and even some of the Britpop for a little while. It may very well have been the old "it's just rock with horns" stereotype.



*On which note, I've recently found this website that does these "ska EP" 7-inch vinyl releases in full-on Walt Jabsco colours, collecting ska tracks recorded by otherwise non-ska artists. They look to be mostly out of print, and I have most of these songs in one format or another anyway, but they'd be nice for a collection. There's one for Lily Allen, one for Amy Winehouse (), Wilko Johnson (), Ian Dury and the Blockheads (), Billy Bragg, a "Celtic ska" one for the Pogues, one with some very early No Doubt, and three Jools Hollands.


Boy, this was a long post. Sorry.

Wheat Loaf
Feb 13, 2012

by FactsAreUseless


Can I get some help identifying a band? I'm fairly sure they were Californian, and pretty obscure; started in the 1980s and recorded through to the 1990s before they split. There's one album cover of theirs which I distinctly remember as having either a red or orange background with these kind of line-drawing, political cartoon caricatures of Carter, Reagan, Bush and possibly Clinton all dressed as cowboys with ten-gallon hats and six-shooters. Name might have started with an "L"?

Not sure if they're necessarily even ska, to be honest. Ring any bells for anyone?

Wheat Loaf
Feb 13, 2012

by FactsAreUseless


I've been listening to Bad Manners lately. I never really got into them when I got into 2 Tone the first time, but I think they might actually have been the most "authentic" in relation to Jamaican ska. I mean, you listen to the Skatalites or Prince Buster or the old Blues Busters records, and they all have horns. The other 2 Tone bands didn't really have horns,even though they might have had a saxophone as a featured instrument; Bad Manners had a full horn section and that added something distinct to their sound. It let them do all the horn-driven numbers. I think the only contemporary band, performing at the same time to a mostly similar audience, that had a horn section to equal them might have been Dexys Midnight Runners.

Wheat Loaf
Feb 13, 2012

by FactsAreUseless


I'm unfamiliar with the musician you're all talking about, so I must ask a) what sort of style does he have; and b) where would be a good place to start if I wanted to listen to him?

Wheat Loaf
Feb 13, 2012

by FactsAreUseless


Dandy Kaiser posted:

Get Warmer is the most "ska", TLODOLI and AMB are the most because they are raw as gently caress. Scrambles is the most badassed, Vacation is the most polished, Adults is a combo of the two.

So, is he more on the punk end of the spectrum? I'm cool with that. Who does he most sound like?

Wheat Loaf
Feb 13, 2012

by FactsAreUseless


I've been listening to the Scofflaws recently. I think they're pretty good; like the Toasters, they have a kind of 2 Tone sound which I really enjoy. What is there that's similar? The Pietasters were recommended to me previously, so I've been thinking about trying them. How about Bim Skala Bim? They seem to be the right sort of age to be a similar thing.

Wheat Loaf
Feb 13, 2012

by FactsAreUseless


I've heard of Skavoovie and the Epitones; I've heard a couple of their songs via YouTube and they seem like the sort of band I'd like. At the same time, though, I think they have a euphonium player, and euphoniums piss me off. Still, I reckon they merit a closer look.

Another band I've listened to recently - who I suppose might be a little more obscure - is Skankin' Pickle. I've only heard their first album but I'm unsure what to make of it or them. They have one song on said album called "How Funk" which I like, but it reminds me (and this is probably a bit of a left-field comparison) of something that wouldn't be out of place on the second RHCP album (just throw in a few more references to California). Haha!

Wheat Loaf
Feb 13, 2012

by FactsAreUseless


Streetlight Manifesto has been recommended to me time and time again, but for whatever reason I've quite been able to get into them. I guess it's just that they're so hyped I inflated my expectations too much going in and ended up disappointed.

Wheat Loaf
Feb 13, 2012

by FactsAreUseless



I like the singer's voice. There's a sort of Dave Prater or Levi Stubbs type quality to it.

Wheat Loaf
Feb 13, 2012

by FactsAreUseless


I was in a music shop recently and found, of all things, a copy of the Save Ferris album (It Means Everything) in the used CDs section, and got it because it was cheap. It's an odd thing. It isn't really ska, is it? Probably owes more to the swing revival than ska. I actually remember reading this pretty old (maybe around 2000-2001) online interview the band's trumpeter did around the time their last studio album was coming out, and he reminisced about how when was invited to join a ska band in school and asked, "What's ska?" the answer he was given was, "It's rock with horns."

Still, Save Ferris was a band I sort of liked when I first discovered American ska, and I have somehow managed to develop a sort of faux-nostalgia for it despite discovering them a year or two after they'd actually broken up.

Wheat Loaf
Feb 13, 2012

by FactsAreUseless


Battle Rockers posted:

I still enjoy their cover of Come on, Eileen.

See, when I was in school, I was into music that was popular a decade before I was born (I still am, but now I've added music that was popular three decades before I was born as well ) and one of the bands I was really into was Dexys Midnight Runners. Of course, I knew "Come On Eileen", but what I really liked was the Searching For the Young Soul Rebels album and the stuff with the horns out in front. In fact, it was this fansite that helped me discover a lot of 1960s bands which are now among my favourites - Geno Washington & the Ram Jam Band, obviously, as well as Cliff Bennett & the Rebel Rousers and Zoot Money's Big Roll Band.

So, of course, I ended up running across the Save Ferris version of "Come On Eileen" on YouTube, but it wasn't until later that I realised this was third-wave ska (I'd gotten into Reel Big Fish in the meantime and loved that one stupid song from Turn the Radio Off where Monique Powell does the female vocal part) and gave their album a try. There's one song on it called "Superspy" which I really like. There's another one called "Spam" which is ludicrous in the extreme but still sort of charming, in that sort of inimitably optimistic pre-9/11 way.

quote:

And that's a terrible description for ska.

It is indeed.

Wheat Loaf
Feb 13, 2012

by FactsAreUseless


Action Tortoise posted:

I saw America live with my family a year or two ago and the drummer used to play with Reel Big Fish. I was waiting to get a pic with him and a crowd of younger guys were reminiscing about how great it was to see RBF live while some older folks were asking what ska was and he described it as "fast reggae."

Well, at least that sort of acknowledges the Jamaican roots! ()

Wheat Loaf
Feb 13, 2012

by FactsAreUseless


Battle Rockers posted:

What the hell genre are they anyway? I was only familiar with them being the originators of Come On, Eileen and didn't realize they had a horn section like in that video. Sounds pretty decent, could almost mistake them for a two-tone ska band if you had it on mute.

Album #1 (Searching for the Young Soul Rebels) was blue-eyed soul through the prism of punk. Not exactly mod revival, but part of that same zeitgeist. In this incarnation, Dexys were actually on the 2 Tone Tour when Madness left and there was some talk about the possibility of them signing to the label. Horace Panter's autobiography (Ska'd For Life, which I would recommend to anyone who's interested in an inside story on 2 Tone) has this story about how Jerry Dammers had been sent a demo tape of a song called "Mirror In the Bathroom" from a then-unsigned (English) Beat, and every time it was played on the tour bus there'd be this chorus of boos from the Dexys contingent, because they were apparently rivals back in Birmingham.

There's an Album #1.5 called The Projected Passion Revue which came out in 2008 or so and compiles recordings from 1981, including a full live show (the eponymous Project Passion Revue - they called all their tours revues because they were big into Stax and Motown and so on).

Album #2 (Too-Rye-Aye) is the one with "Come On Eileen". The original guitarist left between albums and set up his own band (the Blue Ox Babes) which incorporated strings into the Dexys sound, but he played a demo tape to Kevin Rowland, who promptly lured away his violinists (the Emerald Express, who are credited as featured artists on some releases of "Come On Eileen") and brought them into the Dexys line-up. I think the biggest influence on the album here is actually Van Morrison; sort of "Celtic soul", I suppose (there's a cover of "Jackie Wilson Said (I'm In Heaven When You Smile)" on this one).

Album #3 (Don't Stand Me Down) was the expansive, experimental album. It's usually ranked as their best (though my own favourite is Album #1) but it's hard to categorise. Very much Kevin Rowland's passion project. Infamously failed because Rowland refused to release a single, then when he did relent and let them put out a single (too late to save the album), chose "This Is What She's Like", which was 12 minutes long.

Album #4 (One Day I'm Going To Soar) came out a couple of years ago. I have not listened to it (I tend to shy away from "comeback" albums by bands who were popular 30 years ago; the only example of such I can think of that equals or even betters the band in question's heyday is The Liberty of Norton Folgate by Madness) so I cannot comment on its songs.

Wheat Loaf
Feb 13, 2012

by FactsAreUseless


guppy posted:

If you are deliberately trolling me, it's working.

Elvis Costello rules but if you can't get past the voice you'll never like him. He writes a hell of a catchy hook. Give any of his first three albums a listen -- they're My Aim Is True, This Year's Model, and Armed Forces -- and if you don't like it you can ignore the rest of his output. For that matter, you can probably just listen to the first track on My Aim Is True and judge based on that. ("Tramp The Dirt Down" is on Spike, much later. That's the Thatcher death song.)

My favourite is Get Happy!! I also like Punch the Clock because the horns on the album (the TKO Horns) had previously been the horn section in Dexys Midnight Runners. Paul Speare, who was the tenor man on the latter album, used to have an entertaining write-up about his experience recording and touring the album, which is still available to read (but only as a web archive).

Overall, I think I might like Ian Dury just slightly more than Elvis Costello but it's really six of one - I'm not sure if Elvis Costello ever had an album quite as good as New Boots and Panties!!, but he had a lot more albums that I think are worthwhile.

Wheat Loaf fucked around with this message at Dec 2, 2015 around 21:49

Wheat Loaf
Feb 13, 2012

by FactsAreUseless


The only Bosstones album I have is Let's Face it. Which other ones are especially good?

Wheat Loaf
Feb 13, 2012

by FactsAreUseless


Ferrule posted:

John Bradbury died.

Great, great musician; Horace Panter had nothing but good things to say about him in Ska'd For Life. RIP.

All the 2 Tone guys are getting on a bit now. I went and looked up the announcement on the BBC and learned Rico died a couple of months ago. I can't believe I didn't hear it until today. Another giant of the genre, though he had a good long life and a distinguished career.

He'd been playing with Jools Holland's Rhythm & Blues Orchestra toward the end of his life - I saw them when they did a show in Belfast a couple of years ago, and he had Rico out to sing "What A Wonderful World" (the Louis Armstrong one) and he got lost between verses. I reckon it was just his age. I felt sorry for him; I imagine Jools had nothing but the best intentions keeping him working, but maybe he was getting a bit old for the road. He came out and did a verse of "Enjoy Yourself" at the end - it closed the set - and he really went for it.

Wheat Loaf
Feb 13, 2012

by FactsAreUseless


I might try them. As I've said before, Streetlight is a band that consistently eludes me. There seems to be so much hype around them and I just don't get it.

Wheat Loaf
Feb 13, 2012

by FactsAreUseless


13 year old girls posted:

Also, this is a stupid rear end question probably, but does Sublime fit into the ska deal? I never could really settle on what genre that band was. They were a cover band, most definitely, but were they ska? Reggae? Some weird mix of the two?

Bit of reggae, bit of hip-hop, bit of dub, bit of punk, some ska. Probably a bit of douchebag as well, if their stereotypical hardcore fans are any indication.

Also, thanks to everyone who recommended the Pietasters. I've been listening to them and the Untouchables and I am quite enjoying them; maybe a bit more ska/soul-influenced mod revival than straight-up ska, but that's great, because I love that kind of thing: the Jam, Secret Affair, Lambrettas etc. Looking to expand my collection of Toasters albums next, but as far as 2 Tone-ish bands go, I've been recommended Let's Go Bowling, who I see are an earlier band. How are they?

Wheat Loaf fucked around with this message at Jan 7, 2016 around 22:55

Wheat Loaf
Feb 13, 2012

by FactsAreUseless


Baritone saxophones are great. I borrowed one from the school my mum teaches at back before Christmas and I just can't get enough of it. It's like playing a foghorn.

Anyway, re: horn arrangements, I listen to a lot of soul music and R&B from the 1960s and I guess I'm used to that kind of horn arranging. Never too busy - a place for everything and everything in its place. It's probably why I like the 2 Tone type bands the best. That being said, I'm dead keen on Gordon Goodwin. He has a terrific band. They really know how to swing. Also, when I was in the local youth jazz orchestra, we had loads of Gordon Goodwin arrangements. I couldn't always play them but they were always brilliant.

Zoot Money and Georgie Fame had bari sax players in their bands. I like them a lot as well.

Wheat Loaf
Feb 13, 2012

by FactsAreUseless


SkaAndScreenplays posted:

A wailing Bari-Sax is loving carnal. My girlfriend HATES Ska...but One Step Beyond puts her in the mood.

It's a tenor on that song, though, isn't it?

Wheat Loaf
Feb 13, 2012

by FactsAreUseless


Recent observation I've made - the Scofflaws are the best band for the treadmill ever.

They're a really tight band. A lot like an R&B band from the 1960s.

Wheat Loaf
Feb 13, 2012

by FactsAreUseless


I've tried his music and I'm not fussed.

Wheat Loaf
Feb 13, 2012

by FactsAreUseless


What, if anything, distinguishes "ska punk" from "third wave ska"? Are they the same thing or are they different subgenres?

Wheat Loaf
Feb 13, 2012

by FactsAreUseless


guppy posted:

"Third-wave" is, in theory, a descriptor of timing, as opposed to ska-punk, which describes a sound. It's the "third wave of ska," as in the third major period of its popularity (after traditional/trad and two-tone). In practice, there's a lot of overlap between "third-wave" and "ska-punk," but not all third-wave ska is ska-punk.

Right - I've just been noticing that a lot of bands get categorised as both and wondered how they were distinguished.

I remember a few years ago reading reviews and such suggesting that bands like Chase Long Beach could lead a fourth wave but I think they've been broken up a few years now.

Wheat Loaf
Feb 13, 2012

by FactsAreUseless


Hat Thoughts posted:

RIP Prince Buster

Towering genius of Jamaican music and popular music in general, really. RIP.

Wheat Loaf
Feb 13, 2012

by FactsAreUseless


Bird in a Blender posted:

In other sad, but nowhere near as sad as Prince Buster dying news, The Specials and The Skatalites are both playing in Chicago this week, except they're both playing Thursday night, so you have to pick one. I chose Skatalites even though I know there's only like two living members left. I guess I figure this is probably my last chance to see them, and The Specials might still come around one more time.

The Specials are a bit of a skeleton nowadays, aren't they? I mean, Brad died at the start of this year (RIP), Jerry was never part of the reunion in 2009, and Roddy Radiation and Neville Staple have both left. So the Specials at this point are basically Terry, Horace and Lynval, aren't they?

Did anyone ever listen to any of the "Today's Specials" era stuff? I've only listened to the Guilty Til Proved Innocnet album (where they decided they might as well make a bit of money out of the ska punk craze in America), but has anyone any thoughts on the album they did with Desmond Dekker? Worth listening to?

Wheat Loaf fucked around with this message at Sep 12, 2016 around 22:46

Wheat Loaf
Feb 13, 2012

by FactsAreUseless


Did the Selecter ever have an album in the 1990s where they teamed up with an old Jamaican superstar? I feel like they might have done, but I'm not sure.

Honestly, I tend to assume all of the 2 Tone bands except Madness did that (they obviously had a lot of Blue Beat influence but I think their single biggest influence as artists was the late, great and inimitable Ian Dury, who they did record a song with).

Wheat Loaf
Feb 13, 2012

by FactsAreUseless


Geoj posted:

A bit late but saw the Slackers last Friday.

Goddamn how had I not been to one of their shows before? 2 hour set in a small venue for $12 with a band with a stage show that rivals the pre-hiatus Bosstones. They're now on my "go to any show within driving distance" list.

A band I'd like to get into (as I've said before, my taste in American ska music tends to run to Moon Ska rather than ska punk - they seem like they're on the right side of 1996 to me) but I'm not sure where to start with them.

quote:

e: although my wife and I were kind of when one of the opening acts asked the crowd if we'd like a Prince Buster song and we were two of maybe six people who cheered.

"Prince Buster? He's not ska. Everyone knows ska is punk with horns. "

()

Wheat Loaf
Feb 13, 2012

by FactsAreUseless


What type of ska band are Mustard Plug? Who would they be closest to musically?

Wheat Loaf
Feb 13, 2012

by FactsAreUseless


I believe ska attracted band geeks because it was the first time in decades that vaguely rock-ish sounding bands had room for trombone players; in much the same way, jam bands were popular with band geeks because the Dave Matthews Band demonstrated that there was a place for violinists as well.

Of course, my image of a stereotypical "ska fan" remains either a) skinheads in collarless white shirts, braces and Doc Marten boots; or b) mods who wear sunglasses indoors.

Wheat Loaf
Feb 13, 2012

by FactsAreUseless


Can anyone recommend any bands that use the baritone saxophone? I know the Scofflaws and think they're great; I know Streetlight Manifesto do as well but I've nevertheless been able to get into them.

I love the bari sax - love listening to it, love playing it when I get the chance. It's great.

Wheat Loaf
Feb 13, 2012

by FactsAreUseless


Nissin Cup Nudist posted:

Morphine is the gold standard for bari sax

Nah, it's either Gerry Mulligan or Lisa Simpson.

Wheat Loaf
Feb 13, 2012

by FactsAreUseless


Teemu Pokemon posted:

I can definitely see how she was better 15 years ago, but gently caress you if you don't think Monique Powell doesn't still have it. Also the bass player is a loving boss. The show was cool, but they didn't play Spam. The new stuff sounded okay also.

Save Ferris were the first American ska band I was ever aware of because I was huge into Dexys Midnight Runners and they obviously had their cover of "Come On Eileen".

To me, ska was the Specials and the Selecter and Madness (and I suppose I was at least aware of Prince Buster and the Skatalites then) so it didn't even occur to me that Save Ferris could be a ska band. Looking back, I think they're more of a cross between a swing revival band and a pop-punk band.

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Wheat Loaf
Feb 13, 2012

by FactsAreUseless


Madness had a new album but they haven't really been ska since 1980 or so.

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