Thursday, January 27, 2011

Reggae 69 Fan Club Rewind--Pledge Now (or Again)!

Since the first effort at establishing the Reggae 69 Fan Club didn't quite reach its goal, Jason Lawless has reworked things a bit (the goal is now $3,000 in pledges instead of $5,000) and re-launched this extremely cool project. As you can see from the widget in our sidebar, things are going well and I am very hopeful that this version will make it into orbit!

The video below will give you a good overview of the Reggae 69 Fan Club, but essentially it is a early reggae-skinhead reggae-dirty-reggae 7" vinyl record club: if you subscribe at the $45 level, you will receive six exclusive vintage reggae style vinyl singles featuring Ocean 11 w/Queen P & Malik (of The Bullets and The Lions), Queen P & The Apologies, the Irie Beats, The Bullets, Roger Rivas, The Revivers, and The Impalers (plus some other fan club goodies, like a sticker, patch, pin, digital downloads, a poster, and much more). Of course, pledging at higher levels entitles you to even more swag (and if you're strapped for cash, you can still have a piece of the action at lower levels, too).

Visit the Reggae 69 Fan Club Kickstarter page for all of the details and to make your pledge!

I've pledged--will you?

The deadline for the Reggae 69 Fan Club is Tuesday, February 15, 2011 at 3:08am EST. (If the pledge goal is met by then, the project goes forward!)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Tribute to Glen Adams

At the time of his passing on 12/17/10, I wasn't able to put together a piece on Upsetter Glen Adams, so I'm thankful for this pretty amazing tribute to him by Mick Sleeper posted at United Reggae. This is definitely worth a read--he collaborated with a who's who of Jamaican musicians and producers from the 1960s onward (Lee Perry, Bob Marley, Max Romeo, The Pioneers, Slim Smith, Ken Boothe, Stranger Cole, Coxsone Dodd, Duke Reid, Bunny Lee, Joe Gibbs, Sonia Pottinger, Lloyd "Bullwackie" Barnes, and many more--plus he toured with The Slackers in the 2000s) and should be remembered for his very significant contributions to Jamaican music in its many forms.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Video Interview with Bucket of The Toasters

Here's an insightful interview with Bucket of The Toasters conducted by Dave Sharp that was recorded after their recent 30th Anniversary tour gig at the Muse in Nashville, TN. Buck doesn't like the current state of hip hop (too misogynistic), but loves him some Buddy Holly and Chuck Berry (plus 5,000+ gigs on, find out where in the world he hasn't been yet!). This video comes to us courtesy of

Duff Gig Review: The Bluebeats and The Hard Times at the Punky Reggae Fest Day 2/The Forthrights Record Release Party at The Lake!

(Review by Steve Shafer)

The e-mail sent out to The Bluebeats' mailing list in advance of their gig at the Punky Reggae Fest 2 at The Lake advised us not to look for a club, but a metal door with the street number on it--and then to go up the long flight of stairs (which, when we got there, were littered with crushed cans of PBR). If you've never been to this space, it's in a warehouse/industrial section of Brooklyn, about five stops out on the L train from Manhattan (where we--Marc and Steve from Bigger Thomas, their friend Edward, my friend Joe, and yours truly--were coming from). To be honest, if we hadn't seen the guy chugging a beer just before opening The Lake's door, we might have missed it. The street was dark and the area deserted (it turns out we were ridiculously early and amongst the first 20 people there--and since all of us were about 20 freakin' years older than everyone else present, someone commented that we were probably being mistaken for undercover cops at first--until we started downing the $1 Keystone Ice beers!).

What's wild about this underground venue/arts space is that it looks and feels pretty much like the way it was at an illegal loft party/squat back in the 80s (but instead of Williamsburg, it was Manhattan's East Village/Lower East Side)...and the mix of punks (yes, there were impressive mohawks), skins, and everyone else in black was pretty much the same then as now. The black box performance space (which could fit 150--maybe--was up front with a small stage, great sound system, dance floor, and two raised platforms lining part of the room for sitting or standing on. The remainder of the venue consisted of a long, wide hall (just past the kitchen, where they sold beer); a room for lounging in the back; and a door leading to some outdoor metal stairs down to the snowy "backyard."

Agent Jay (Slackers/Crazy Baldhead) was spinning a heady mix of ska, reggae, punk, and hardcore, which primed everyone for the first act up: the awesome New Jersey-based Latino hardcore act Desekilibrio. Their terrific rhythm section consisted of two young women and the band was reminiscent of Black Flag or Metal Circus-era Husker Du (sorry that I don't have as many punk/hardcore bands to reference--not my area of expertise!). Intense frontman Roman sang in Spanish and my friend Joe translated his inter-song comments, which were decrying police brutality, government corruption, the drug trade, and all of the drug cartel-related killings in Mexico. Very powerful stuff.

Up next, after more beers, banter, and great reggae music on pumping outta the sound system (at one point I looked up and saw the excellent DJ Grace of Spades at the turntables--she also suggested hitting the nearby Bushwick Pita Palace for some flautas, which we did on the way home, and they were incredibly good--thanks for the spot-on tip, Grace!) were The Bluebeats, who were stunning, as always. I shot several Flip videos of their performance (all posted below). What's interesting to note about their set was the inclusion of really choice (and sometimes very obscure) covers--they did "Gimme Some," which was a 1977 one hit wonder in the UK for a glam rocker named Brendon Dunning; Gregory Isaacs' "Love Disguise," and Justin Hinds' "Botheration"--and the fact that they played Toots and the Maytals' "Pressure Drop"--a cut that Mike Drance said that they rarely play in NYC (I've never seen them do it). As you can see from the video, it went down really well. The Bluebeats were on fire!

Before The Hard Times hit the stage, I ran into Coolie Ranx and caught up a bit (and should have figured then that he'd be toasting on stage before the evening was through). Due to dumb luck, I'd missed too many chances to see The Hard Times before--so I was psyched to finally catch them and was mightily impressed by their performance. As an instrumental dirty/skinhead reggae outfit, they are amongst the very best (check out their "Ricochet Rocket" video below or the incredible, crescendoing tension in "Samba Snake" before it shifts to a major key)--but they take it to a whole new level when they include guest vocalists: one who wants to remain nameless sang a crazy good version of the Lee "Scratch" Perry/Max Romeo classic "I Chase the Devil" and the aforementioned Coolie Ranx put his excellent imprint on The Hard Times' instrumental "Two Bucks for Bob" (the videos I took are below). The only odd note was the slam dancing that broke out toward the end of the set and threatened to overwhelm everything.

Major apologies to Sammy K. and The Forthrights for splitting before their set (read The Duff Guide to Ska review of their Camp Birdman EP here) was getting late and we had to catch the last L train out of Brooklyn. Next time, for sure.

If you're a fan of the ska/rocksteady/reggae scene, it's definitely worth the trip here to catch bands at this awesome underground venue!

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The next Dirty Reggae Party coming up is on Friday, Feb 25, 2011 at The Lake with Kofre, Jah Love & the Valentinians, The Hard Times, and The Rudie Crew (plus DJs Crazy Baldhead and 100 DB's)...more details to come!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Duff Review: Ska is Dead 7" of the Month Club -- Sonic Boom Six/The Nix 86 and Vic Ruggiero and Maddie Ruthless/The Forthrights

For ska fans who value and collect recorded music in tangible formats (particularly 7" vinyl singles!), these are once again becoming The Best of Times. Rebelling against the instant-gratification dominance of easily disposable-erasable-pirated digitally downloaded music, the fantastic Ska is Dead 7" of the Month Club has been issuing a series of limited edition split vinyl singles (on seriously thick black and white wax with cool, printed outer sleeves--love the tattered Walt Jabsco zombie!) from top shelf ska bands of all stripes (i.e.: vintage ska, 2 Tone, ska-punk, etc.). All of the featured cuts by these bands are new or unreleased--and this is the only place to find 'em, as they will not be released in any other form! (The Ska is Dead 7″ Club is a joint effort between Dave Kirchgessner of Mustard Plug and his Ska is Dead tour company, Asbestos Records and Underground Communique Records, that combines their collective obsession with dead genres and dead formats.)

Here's The Duff Guide to Ska review of the December 2010 batch of Ska is Dead singles:

Sonic Boom Six "Play On" b/w The Nix 86 "Peter Pan Syndrome" (black vinyl)

On "Play On"--which is about how music can help one endure, even thrive during, trying times--the usually punky-dubby-hip hoppy Sonic Boom Six (from Manchester, UK) sound like a cross between a 2 Tone-era Selecter and Bodysnatchers' descendants The Deltones (dig the 60's girl group harmonizing!). Laila Khan sings, "Well on my shoulder feels the weight of the world/Chasing my tail takes a toll on my soul/You salve my soul, such a sweet sensation/Show me the way I let my wings unfold...take me home into your song/So won't you sing another song for me now?/'Cause I got to feel the music somehow/Won't you sing another song for me now?/and though the band is gone/Still the song plays on..." This is one awesomely catchy tune.

Long Island's The Nix 86 crank up the volume and energy to 11 with their melodic and anthemic Cheap Trick/Bosstones-like rawk-ska on "Peter Pan Syndrome." The ska traditionalists are probably not going to dig this cut, but ska punkers and those with broader tastes will find a lot to like here.

Vic Ruggiero & Maddie Ruthless "Policeman" b/w The Forthrights "Carla" (white vinyl)

Sounding like a Dammers/Strummer/Jones track that should have been, head Slacker Vic Ruggiero teams up with New Orleans DJ/rocksteady queen Maddie Ruthless (and backed by The Forthrights) with spectacular results on the world's treading on me "Policeman" (which Vic and Tim Armstrong originally did as The Silencers' contribution to the Give 'Em the Boot comp back in 1997): "My mind's so complex/I can't put my finger on the trigger to control all this stress...I've got my mouth wide open and my eyes closed shut/when the policeman kicks me in my head." Is this what it was like back in the late 70s to hear The Specials or The Clash for the very first time?

The Forthrights' "Carla" is a bright, jaunty, and knowing ska ditty (with a dash of country, courtesy of the the guitar line) to a member of the fairer sex: "Now, I'm not one to talk/but what we did last night/What we did in the dark/I wouldn't speak of in the light/So you like talking/Dancing 'till dawn/Not to be too forward/But won't you take me home?" Another winning tune from a band that can't be beat!

The Duff Guide to Ska Grade (for all of these singles): A

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I'll be reviewing the Big D & the Kids Table/Brunt of It and Mustard Plug/The Beatdown singles soon!

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If you're interested in subscribing to this limited edition 7" record club (there are only 550 copies of each single printed--there are no digital downloads, so break out yer pop's turntable!), visit

1st Release – October 2010
Big D & the Kids Table: “Not Our Fault” & “Lash Out”
Brunt of It: “Nah, Nah, Nah, Nah” & “Art School Dropout”

2nd Release – November 2010
Mustard Plug: “Aye, Aye, Aye”
The Beatdown: "Piece of Mind”

3rd Release – December 2010
Vic Ruggiero with Maddie Ruthless: “Policeman”
The Forthrights: “Carla”

4th Release – December 2010
Sonic Boom Six: “Play On”
The Nix 86: “Peter Pan Syndrome”

Upcoming: Reel Big Fish, Tip the Van, The Slackers, Bomb the Music Industry

Friday, January 21, 2011

NJ Ska Gig Alert: King Django Quintet Saturday Night (1/22/11) in Teaneck!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

King Django Kosher Dinner Quintet!

Smokey Joe's Glatt Kosher BBQ
494 Cedar Lane
Teaneck, NJ

Come enjoy the authentic, wood-fired, slow-cooked, pit-smoked Glatt Kosher BBQ fixin's as the King Django Kosher Dinner Quintet plays two sets of ska, reggae and Yiddish music for your digestive enjoyment!

Doors: 7:00 pm
Sets at 8:00 and 9:30 pm
$5 cover

King Django: vocals, ukulele, trombone
Audrey Welber: clarinet, saxophone
Adrian Banner: piano
Ira Heaps: bass
Andy O'Neill: drums

Right now, the folks at Stubborn Records are waiting for the new pressing of King Django's Roots & Culture (Special Edition) to come in from the plant! It'll be there soon--but until it's delivered, they're offering a pre-sale discount on the CD and a super-discounted vinyl LP/CD combination pack (go to Stubborn Records for details)!

Also, it's interesting to note that King Django's track "Hard Hard Thing" (from the sold-out album Roots Tonic) has received close to a half-million plays on Pandora internet radio! Django's latest album Brooklyn Hangover (read The Duff Guide to Ska review here) was recently accepted by Pandora, so keep an ear out for cuts from that album, too.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Duff Review: The Forthrights' Camp Birdman EP

Panic State Records
Four track 33 rpm 7" vinyl single
(includes free digital download)

Ask any fan of ska, rocksteady, or reggae who has had the good fortune to catch The Forthrights in action or was wise enough to pick up their sweet "Other People" debut single on Stubborn Records (read The Duff Guide to Ska review here) and they'll tell you that this band is the real freakin' deal. They have quickly established themselves as one of the top rocksteady acts on the scene--and their spectacular new Camp Birdman EP provides more than ample proof for those not in the know that all the buzz about The Forthrights is more than well-deserved.

On Camp Birdman, singer-songwriter-keyboardist Jack Wright has written a stellar batch of songs (performed along with ace bandmates Sammy Krajkowski on bass, Jimmy Doyle on guitar and vocals, Matt Burdi on drums, with Mihran Abrahamian on guitar, piano, and vocals) whose evocative sounds and lyrics conjure up film noir-ish scenes of blurry, way-past-midnights full of possibility (or heartache or dread); unresolved (and unresolvable) conflict; itches that can't be scratched; and souls striving for redemption.

All of the "action" in the moody, minor-key "Nocture" takes place on a bridge that seems to represent being mired in a state of limbo--permanent in between-ness--with the terrible awareness that all of one's efforts are futile: "Nocturne in black and gold/You never do what you're told/On the bridge late at night/You see the water, you see the light/It's too bad/Yes, it's too bad...School teacher driving home/from teaching kids that will never learn/On the bridge, what do I see?/Is it you? Or is it me?/'Cause it's too bad/It's too bad..."

In the spare but dreamily seductive (and gorgeous) rocksteady love song "You Can Love Me," Jack sings "In this world of sin/You still let me in/and I see that hope remains in your eyes/that we are too young for sorrow" (the last line there sung in falsetto). They can attempt to share something good and uncorrupted before the world and reality can quash their dreams (though there is an noncommittal air about it all: "You can love me if you want to/I will try to love you, too/it's the least that I could do").

On side two, "Stay Out Late" shifts gears into sprightly, defiant ska: "Say, it's the reason/I always want to leave you home/I don't know why you always have to be so rude/I just want you to try, it's not what you want"--but he has the upper hand in the relationship, as the song ends in an almost taunting repeating chorus of "I'm just what you want!"

The EP closes with the Heptones-ish "Like a Child." This entreaty-cum-prayer to a lover who might be wavering is heartbreakingly lush and beautiful: "I feel jealousy on me like a child/But what to expect when you put me out in the wild/Whisper to me where your loyalty lies/So I have peace when, when I die...We try to be good/We try good/We try to be good..."

Believe me when I tell you--and this ain't overheated hype--that The Forthrights' Camp Birdman EP definitely ranks as one of the top five ska/rocksteady releases of 2011.

The Duff Guide to Ska Grade: A

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A note to record collectors and anyone who still has an appreciation for tangible recorded music: this vinyl EP is nicely packaged in a full-color, illustrated sleeve, and comes in three versions of colored wax (black, white, and white with black haze). Only 500 copies were made in all, so pick one up while you can.

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The Forthrights' Camp Birdman EP can be streamed here.

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Here's the Camp Birdman EP video promo (which features part of the song "Nocturne"):

The Forthrights Record Release Party/Day 2 of the Punky Reggae Fest This Saturday Night (1/22/11)

The Forthrights Record Release Party for their Camp Birdman EP/Day 2 of the Punky Reggae Fest

Saturday, January 22, 2011


The Forthrights featuring Jeremy Pena
The Facts
The Bluebeats
The Hard Times


Deadly Dragon Sound
Rudies Don't Care
Crazy Baldhead

The Lake
258 Johnson Avenue, East of Bushwick
Brooklyn, NY

Doors @ 7:30 pm, $8 gets you in. 18+

Sorry, NO BYOB!

Directions: Take the L train to Montrose, walk on Bushwick till you hit Johnson Avenue and make a left.

Take the J/M train to Flushing Avenue, walk on Flushing till you hit Bushwick, turn left. Walk on Bushwick till Johnson and make a right.

Don't look for a night club. Just go to the address and listen for the music, open the steel door and follow your ears up the stairs.

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Day 1 (Friday, January 21st) of the Punky Reggae Party features All Torn Up!, Royal City Riot, Karuhata, Vic Ruggiero Trio, Blackout Shoppers, Top Shotta, and The Frighteners.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Video: The Toasters' "Run Rudy Run" with Coolie Ranx at The Knitting Factory on 1/16/11

Here's the postscript to The Duff Guide to Ska/Marco on the Bass pre-show party for The Toasters' 30th Anniversary Tour gig in NYC--a video of The Toasters performing one of their signature cuts "Run Rudy Run" with guest toaster/ex-Toaster Coolie Ranx at The Knitting Factory Brooklyn. You'll find that Buck's voice is kind of raspy here--we hope he's not coming down with something at the outset of this tour--so Coolie is given a fair amount of time to impress the crowd with his lyrical magic. Make sure to watch the video in its entirety--Coolie spills the beans on something the band is planning for later this year...

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Big thanks to Mike D. at The Establishment for the video!

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Monday, January 17, 2011

Toasters Pre-Show Party at Dusk Lounge

Thanks to everyone who came out for The Toasters' pre-show party at the Dusk Lounge yesterday afternoon/evening. We had a pretty good turn out (one fan who showed up was from Brisbane, Australia--she asked Buck to sign the Ska Records version of the Recriminations EP, which has the "bar scene" cover on the front and the "Pool Shark" jumping guitarist on the back).

A fair number of ska musicians were present to rub elbows with Bucket, including Dave Barry (The Toasters, Bigger Thomas, Beat Brigade, Second Step, etc.), Roy Radics (The Rudie Crew), Megg Howe (Across the Aisle), Jacob Wake Up! (Hey Stranger, The Hard Times), and Sammy Forthrights (who did a great DJ set, which allowed me to take a break and socialize a bit with friends and new acquaintances).

I wasn't able to make it to The Knitting Factory that night for the gig, but heard it was a terrific show (and we'll have some video soon, courtesy of Mike D!).

Here's something to put under yer hat: The Toasters are planning to be back in NYC early this summer and will have some big surprises in store for the fans...

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In honor and recognition of Martin Luther King, Jr. day...

Friday, January 14, 2011

Upcoming Duff Guide to Ska Reviews

Due to the holidays, work, family obligations, procrastination, etc, blah, blah, The Duff Guide to Ska is seriously behind on reviewing music. Here is what's in our "to review" stack:

King Hammond - Jacuzzi CD (N.1. Records)

Green Room Rockers - s/t LP (Jump Up Records)

Babyhead - Heavy Weather CD (Rockers Revolt Records)

The Caroloregians - Funkify Your Reggae CD/LP (Grover Records)

The Revivers - "Come Into My Parlour" 10" vinyl (Jump Up Records)

The Aggrolites - "Trial and Error" b/w "Enemy Dub" 7" single (Young Cub Records)

The Aggrolites - "Dreaming on Erie" b/w "Eye of Obarbas" 7" single (Young Cub Records)

The Forthrights - Camp Birdman 7" EP (Panic State Records)

So keep an eye out for upcoming Duff Guide to Ska write-ups for these releases and more! Soon!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Time is Now to Pledge to the Reggae 69 Fan Club!

If you've paid any attention to the blog feed in the sidebar, you've noticed that Jason Lawless (of Lawless Street) is spearheading an effort to launch a record club called the Reggae 69 Fan Club. Their mission is this:
Our MAIN GOAL is simple: Release a limited edition collection of (6) 7" vinyl records to celebrate the music of Jamaica and UK sub-culture youth.
You can join the Reggae 69 Fan Clubs at different levels of support--at a basic level, you'll receive the vinyl singles; at a higher level, you're entitled to lots of extra goodies like exclusive club badges, a patch, a poster (by Chema Skandal, who also created the artwork for Jump Up Records'/Chuck Wren's Club Moonstomp and the cover of Pama Intl Meet Dub Professor's Rewired! in Dub), t-shirt, etc. (and the list of add-ons seems to grow daily!).

One of Reggae 69 Fan Club's first releases will be a double A side from the Irie Beats band of "lost" tracks produced by Brian "Boom Boom" Dixon of The Aggrolites! The flip side will be a vocal cut featuring Malik "The Freq" Moore, singer for The Lions and The Bullets!

Subsequent Reggae 69 Fan Club releases will be from the Impalers, Revivers, Ocean 11, Roger Rivas, and The Bullets.

To make all of this happen, reggae and ska fans need to pledge a total of $5,000 through Kickstarter. They are well on their way--but the deadline to get in on this deal is Saturday, January 15, 2011 at 11:00 pm (East Coast time). So you need to act RIGHT NOW!

For more info and/or to join the Reggae 69 Fan Club, click here!

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PS: One of the interesting things with Kickstarter is that you can see who has pledged to become a member of the Reggae 69 Fan Club ( Victor Rice!).

Across the Aisle News and Gigs This Weekend!

Our awesome ska-pop-punk buds Across the Aisle (read The Duff Guide to Ska review of their debut EP here) are playing several upcoming gigs in the New York area that you should definitely consider attending if at all humanly possible:

Friday, January 14, 2011

Excuse Me
The Rudie Crew
Across the Aisle
45 Shootout
Last Shot Fired

Sullivan Hall
214 Sullivan St. (between Bleecker and W. 3rd)
Manhattan, NY

Doors @ 7:00 PM, $10, 18+
(ATA goes on around 9:30 pm.)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Toasters
Across the Aisle

The Basement
744 Broadway
Kingston, NY

Doors @ 8:30 PM, $9, 18+
(This show kicks-off The Toasters 30th Anniversary Tour of the USA!)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Brooklyn Party Expo
929 Broadway
Brooklyn, NY

Doors@ 1:00 PM (matinee show!)
All ages!

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Also, in ATA band news, horn man/singer Jay Pintar is leaving the band to devote all of his considerable talent and energies to acting (good luck, Jay...never mention a certain Danish prince when on stage...always be ready for your close-up...there are no small parts, only small actors--called little people, I think!). Jay's last gig with ATA is the show at Sullivan Hall. The band is pleased to welcome new trombone player, Andrew "Houndstooth" Hagerty on t-bone, and they will be entering the studio in February/March to record some new cuts, which we can't wait to hear.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

MOJO Does Pama Intl Meet Mad Professor and Pays Respect to Sonia Pottinger

The February issue of MOJO Magazine includes a terrific review of what may be the last release from Pama Intl for a very long time: Pama International Meet Mad Professor - Rewired! in Dub. Lee Perry expert/reggae reviewer David Katz gives the release four stars and writes:
Their previous album, Pama Outernational, was the best of the bunch [of their recent albums], and is now reconfigured on Rewired! by dub specialist Mad Professor, stripping the songs to their rhythmic core. Thus, Equality and Justice for All now centres on hidden bongo beats, while the poppy Happenstance is repositioned to highlight the sounds of a guiro. Bright horn lines and organ skanks dip in and out of the mix, and there are just enough vocals to remind us of the original tunes, rendering the whole set eminently listenable.
Mr. Katz also remembers reggae producer Sonia Pottinger in an obituary that notes that she was the sole female Jamaican music producer when she started out in 1965 (competing with the likes of heavyweights Duke Reid and Clement "Coxsone" Dodd) who, for the next two decades, worked with such greats as Ken Boothe, The Gaylads, The Melodians, Roland Alphonso, The Ethiopians, The Hippy Boys, Errol Dunkley, Alton Ellis, Toots and the Maytals, Bob Andy, Marcia Griffiths, U Roy, Big Youth, and Culture. Releases from these artists and more appeared on Pottinger's Gay Feet, Tip Top, Rainbow, and High Note labels.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Toasters Pre-Show Party This Sunday Afternoon!

To help celebrate The Toasters' 30th (!) Anniversary Tour, The Duff Guide to Ska and Marco on the Bass are co-hosting a pre-show party for their NYC gig this Sunday afternoon (1/16/11) at the Dusk Lounge in Manhattan (click on the poster for all the details).

Bucket and other members of the band will be on hand--and I'll be at the helm of the Fat Albert Sound System, which will be pumping out an awesome mix of vintage ska, skinhead reggae, 2 Tone, and modern ska (and word has it that Sammy Forthrights will spell me a bit, so I can down a pint or two).

So get yourself down to the Dusk Lounge in Chelsea (24th between 6th and 7th Avenues) to hang with Bucket and the boys this Sunday afternoon from 4:00-7:00 pm. Then, catch the L train to Brooklyn for The Toasters gig at The Knitting Factory that night with Royal City Riot, The Rudie Crew, and DJ Agent Jay.

Toasters New Yorker and WSJ Previews and 30th Anniversary Winter Tour Dates

Here's a nice preview in the New Yorker for The Toasters' upcoming 30th Anniversary Tour gig at The Knitting Factory this coming Sunday:

361 Metropolitan Ave., Brooklyn (347-529-6696) — Jan. 16: The seminal Lower East Side ska act the Toasters. The British expat Rob (Bucket) Hingley has carried the torch of third-wave ska for thirty years now, both as the singer for this foundational band and as the originator of the now defunct Moon Records. His highly influential label ran for nearly twenty years before the bottom fell out, but Bucket continues to make ska his life’s work, and commands as much respect as his beloved genre has lost.
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Stay tuned for info later this week regarding a pre-show party with Bucket in Manhattan!

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Here are The Toasters' dates for their winter/30th Anniversary tour of the US:


Sat 15th Kingston, NY @ The Basement
Sun 16th Brooklyn, NY @ The Knitting Factory
Mon 17th Vienna, VA @ Jammin’ Java
Tue 18th Allentown, PA @ Crocodile Rock Café
Wed 19th Norfolk, VA @ Jewish Mother Backstage
Thurs 20th Charlotte, NC @ The Milestone Club
Fri 21st Nashville, TN @ The Muse
Sat 22nd Hot Springs, AR @ Low Key Arts
Sun 23rd Houston, TX @ Walter’s on Washington
Mon 24th Lubbock, TX @ Jake’s Backroom
Tue 25th El Paso, TX @ Lips Lounge
Wed 26th Albuquerque, NM @ The Launchpad
Thurs 27th Tempe, AZ @ The Clubhouse
Fri 28th Las Vegas, NV @ The Bunkhouse
Sat 29th Camarillo, CA @ Rock City
Sun 30th San Diego, CA @ SOMA
Mon 31st Fullerton, CA @ Slidebar


Tue 1st Sparks, NV @ The Alley
Wed 2nd San Jose, CA @ The Blank Club
Thurs 3rd San Francisco, CA @ Red Devil Lounge
Fri 4th Eureka, CA @ Red Fox Tavern
Sat 5th Portland, OR @ Plan B
Sun 6th Vancouver, BC @ The Venue
Mon 7th Seattle, WA @ Studio 7
Tue 8th Spokane, WA @ A Club
Wed 9th Boise, ID @ Shredder
Thurs 10th Salt Lake City, UT @ Burt’s Tiki Lounge
Fri 11th Casper, WY @ Downtown Grill & Venue
Sat 12th Colorado Springs, CO @ The Black Sheep
Sun 13th Denver, CO @ Marquis Theatre
Mon 14th Omaha, NE @ The Waiting Room
Tue 15th Iowa City, IA @ Gabe’s Oasis
Wed 16th Minneapolis, MN @ Triple Rock Social Club
Thurs 17th DeKalb, IL @ Otto’s
Fri 18th St. Louis, MO @ Firebird
Sat 19th Indianapolis, IN @ Melody Inn (Punk Rock Night)
Sun 20th Toledo, OH @ Frankie’s
Mon 21st Lansing, MI @ Mac’s Bar
Tue 22nd Akron, OH @ Musica
Wed 23rd Pittsburgh, PA @ Mr. Smalls Theatre
Thurs 24th Trenton, NJ @ Championship Bar & Grill
Fri 25th Ithaca, NY @ The Haunt
Sat 26th Providence, RI @ Club Hell
Sun 27th Cambridge, MA @ The Middle East

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Update: Here's a preview for The Toasters' show from the Wall Street Journal:
The Toasters started playing ska in New York in 1981, not long after a wave of English bands picked up on the precursor of reggae and celebrated its innate sense of community and joy. In the former context, ska stood for unity and thus folded itself into the progressive politics of punk. In the latter context, ska got by on simply being a blast to listen to. Here, the Toasters will celebrate their 30th anniversary with a show likely to make good on both aspects. Bandleader Robert "Bucket" Hingley has been an American ambassador for the style for a long time, and the Toasters play it devotedly down the middle, with an ear for the music's political elements as well as its roots as nourishing Jamaican dance music. What that means is the occasional insouciant snarl mixed in with lots of horns, bass-lines and upshot drums.
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Friday, January 7, 2011

Bigger Thomas and The English Beat at the Sellersville Theater, plus New Free Beat "Mirror" Remix!

Despite Google Map's attempt to get me lost on some dark, twisty back road in rural Pennsylvania (damn you, Google Maps!), I found my way down to the terrific Sellersville Theater yesterday for my DJ gig at the sold-out Bigger Thomas/English Beat show. For a trip that started out with a lot of wrong turns (in addition to the lack of clearly marked roads, the transformer on my mixer's power cord died--but the theater's awesomely nice sound guy Dan rigged things up so I could use his sound board as a substitute mixer), it ended up being a fantastic night.

Bigger Thomas (pictured here) is big in these here parts (their last gig at the Sellersville Theater, a benefit for Haiti this past spring, was also sold-out) and put on their usual spectacular show. The Rudie Crew's Roy Radics was also on hand to sing and chat, and he and Roger Apollon Jr. performed "Radics & Roger A Chat" (off Steal My Sound) live for the first time (it was so good that it deserves a regular spot in their set from now on).

I haven't seen Dave Wakeling perform since General Public debuted at the old Ritz in New York City ('84 or '85), so it was kind of surreal to catch up all these years later. (The Beat will always have a special place in my heart, as their music helped buoy me in my teen years when depression threatened to pull me under.) The ska fans attending the 2011 London International Ska Festival are in for an incredible show. Dave's backing band is exceptionally tight (they should be, since they've pretty much been touring the US non-stop over the last few years) and all the hits sound just as good and fresh as you want them to. For me, the neck-hair-standing-on-end moment of The English Beat's set was when "Hands Off She's Mine" segued into The Congos' "Children Crying" (which is one of the greatest songs in the history of music, hands down)--it was absolutely phenomenal. (And there is a cool Beat-Congos connection--The Beat's label Go Feet re-issued The Congos' Heart of the Congos in 1981, at a time when it was hard to come across copies of this reggae masterpiece--Island balked at releasing it in 1977, so producer/mad genius Lee Perry gave it a very limited release on his own label in JA; before the show, I had actually thought about playing "Children Crying" before The Beat's performance, which I had in my crate, but ran out of time...)

The English Beat are playing the Highline Ballroom in Manhattan this Sunday (1/9/11). WNYC has a preview of the show, as well as a free download of an exclusive, unreleased 2011 re-mix of "Mirror in the Bathroom" titled "Mirror Mirror." You can also listen to the track here:

(A big shout out of gratitude to Bigger Thomas for inviting me to tag along and DJ their party--and thanks to the Sellersville Theater staff and crew for being such kind and gracious hosts!)

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Update: here's a nice review of the show from the Tri-State Indie, plus a photo gallery of shots from the show.

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NYC Gig Alert: Version City Party with Westbound Train, Kevin Batchelor and Grand Concourse, The Forthrights, and Old Wives this Saturday Nite!

Version City Party!

When: Saturday, January 8, 2011

Westbound Train
Kevin Batchelor & Grand Concourse
The Forthrights (they have an amazing new four-track single out!)
Old Wives

Where: Knitting Factory Brooklyn

Doors: 7:00 pm/Show: 8:00 pm
$10.00/Advance - $12.00/Day of show

Monday, January 3, 2011

Duff Guide to Ska DJing The English Beat/Bigger Thomas Gig!

If you happen to have tickets to the sold-out Bigger Thomas/English Beat show this Thursday night (1/6/11) at the Sellersville Theater in Sellersville, PA, I'll be there spinning discs on my Fat Albert Soundsystem before and after each set. Should be cool to see what's going on in the Philly-area ska scene!

(And big thanks to the proud few who dared navigate our then still-crippled city--from that big ass blizzard that wolloped NYC the day after Xmas--to make it to The Duff Guide to Ska/Marco on the Bass ska party at the Dusk Lounge last week!)