Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The Next Wave ... SKA!!!

I just read an article claiming that the next album by The Killers will feature 6 ska tracks. This is great news to me. I have always loved ska and reggae. I've already told how my mom would pull out her old Motown stuff for us to listen to while we cleaned house Saturday. Well, my mother had one of these old compilation albums. I remember distinctly putting it while cleaning one Saturday and I heard this great rhythm and voice. Desmond Dekker's "Israelites" and "My Precious World" grabbed and never let go. I would listen to that song from almost all the time until I wore out that side of the album!!

As I got older, ska began it's Second Wave. I heard Haircut 100 "Love Plus One". Wow; this was music that hit me deep and made me want to tap my toes and move my head with the rhythm. I kept thinking to myself, "How have I not heard this music before and where can I get more?" Then, it happened when I saw a music video. The English Beat "Save It For Later" captured me forever. I wanted to learn all I could about ska and reggae. All through my teen years, I listened to The English Beat, The Specials, and any other ska or reggae I could get my hands on in that podunk town I grew up in.

Enter college and after a bit of treading water there, I joined the Army. I met my ex-fiance who introduced me to the whole ska-punk movement. She kept raving about this band in this Converse ad. She finally convinced me to go to a show at this small venue in St. Petersburg, Florida. The band showed up in a van with a U-Haul at the back. What an amateur setup I thought; these guys don't even have a tourbus!! How good can they really be? The Mighty Mighty Bosstones blew me away; I couldn't get enough of this sound of punk/hard care mixed with ska. I spent the next few years decked out in plaid gear and a flatcap (until I heard Blink 182, of course).

I always like the idea behind the ska movement in the UK. The very colors and pattern
associated with ska
, the black and white checkerboard, shows a racial harmony unseen in most musical genres. In the 1970's UK, the black and white clothes of the ska movement were in stark contrast to the National Front, which is pretty much a racist group from all I've read or seen. UK bands of the time sought to bring some unity to a torn nation. Bands like Madness, the Specials (try "Message To You Rudy"), and the Selecter revitalized that early Jamaican ska sound that came across the pond in the early 1960's. Ska and reggae led to the development of punk, which is ironic considering that there are some racist punk bands who have conveniently overlooked this. I've been a fan of all 3 waves of ska (the 60's, the late 70's/early 80's, and the 90's. All I can say is that if ska is going to make a come back, it's about fucking time!!! The world needs some music that isn't manufactured by some conglomerate; music that doesn't sound like every "alt" rock band (i.e. Nickelback); and music that combines different genres, grooves, and styles into one amazing product.


Alan said...

Bizarrly, even though I grew up in the UK in that whole punk/ska era, and I was a total punk, I never made the connection until much later. When The Clash (always my favourite punk band) released Magnificent Seven, which confused me, it was only then that I looked back at their earlier albums and realised that every one of them had contained at least one or two ska/reggae numbers.

(ps. In Britain, The English Beat were just called The Beat)

Cincysundevil said...

I was so stoked when VH1 tried to reunite the Beat and I was crushed when they didn't get back together. Such a shame what greed can do to a great band putting out such great music. I would've loved growing up during that time in the UK with all of that amazing music coming out at the same time.

Pirate Bride said...

Hey there,

For something fun & different, try www.radioparadise.com. Good variety with a little of everything--plus you can rate the songs, chat with other folks, etc. I got turned on to it by a fellow music nut with similarly eclectic tastes--it rocks through iTunes @ 128.

Ska = so upbeat, hard to feel down to it. Definitely good for a Friday!

Enjoy your weekend now, k?