Monday, April 2, 2012

Duff Review: King Django "Anywhere I Roam" b/w "Career Opportunities"

Ska in the World Records/Stubborn Records
Limited-edition 7" vinyl single

(Review by Steve Shafer)

One of the ways that King Django is marking the momentous occasion of Stubborn Records' 20th anniversary (!) is the release of this fantastic single--done in collaboration with Ska in the World Records in Japan. Side A is an excellent reworking of "Anywhere I Roam" (where King Django playfully boasts of his supreme musical prowess over Jack Wright's riddim), which originally appeared on the B side of The Forthrights' "Other People" single (on Stubborn Records), though this remix has even more verve, bite, and cheekiness than its predecessor (my favorite line: "Don't need no bourbon/neither no spliff/when you climb aboard my musical skiff/and catch a whiff of my keyboard riff!"--how many musicians claim that their music itself will give you a contact high?!).

Side B has to be one of the better Clash covers I've ever heard, a ska version of "Career Opportunities" (with New Orleans jazz-like breaks that Americana-lovin' Joe Strummer surely would have appreciated) that alters the lyrics to reflect our Great Recession, 99% vs. 1%, post-9/11 end-of-days (which aren't too dissimilar from the UK in the late 70s, are they?):
The offered me the office, offered me the shop
They said I'd better take anything they'd got
Do you wanna make coffee for NBC?
Do you wanna be, do you really wanna be a cop?

Career opportunities, the ones that never knock
Every job they offer you is to keep you out the dock
Career opportunity, the ones that never knock

I hate the army and I hate the Marines
I don't wanna go off fighting in the desert heat
I hate the civil service, too
And I won't open anthrax letters for you

They're gonna have to introduce conscription
They're gonna have to take away my prescription
If they wanna get me making toys
If they wanna get me, well, I got no choice


Ain't never gonna knock
As always, with this single King Django produces some of the finest ska/reggae you could hope to find. And it serves as yet another example of the extraordinarily good music that his label has been consistently putting out for the past two decades.

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