Thursday, December 17, 2015

Christmas Ska Releases from The Toasters and Friends, Roger Rivas and the Brothers of Reggae, and Dr. Ring Ding!

Cover illustration by Jordan Worley.
Judging by the extraordinary number of Christmas-themed recordings floating around out there, it seems like we just can't get enough music celebrating this religious/secular season (for my money, the best pop Xmas recordings are The Pogues' "A Fairytale of New York" and the Vince Guaraldi Trio's A Charlie Brown Christmas, while my all time fave choral holiday music is Benjamin Britten's A Ceremony of Carols; I happen to be on this recording of it back in 1980).

Ska fans--who love this season like everyone else--have the chance to pick up three, great new Christmas releases to help you celebrate the holiday in a ska and reggae style or as a gift for that special someone...

The Toasters and Friends Christma-ska

Jump Up Records has just re-issued the rare (at least in any physical format) Toasters and Friends Christma-ska album on limited-edition red or green vinyl. This compilation of holiday tracks was recorded in 1997 for the Moon Ska Tokyo/Tachyon label and released on CD in Japan. (We had about 15 or so copies for sale at the East 10th Street Moon store--but, other than these imports--you really couldn't find this anywhere outside of Japan.) At the time, Tachyon International had licensed a good portion of Moon Ska's catalogue for release on their Moon Ska Tokyo imprint--but they also wanted an exclusive album of tracks to help promote Moon's sister label in Japan.

In addition to The Toasters, Buford O'Sullivan ExperienceNY Ska Jazz Ensemble cuts listed below, the Japanese Christma-ska version also featured recordings by The Bluebeats, The Allstonians, and Skinnerbox. Three of The Toasters' tracks are original compositions ("Happy Christmas," "Christmas Time Again," and "Rudy Christmas A Jail").

Side Tree

1) The Toasters: "Happy Christmas"
2) The Toasters: "Sleigh Ride"
3) The Toasters: "Winter Wonderland"
4) The Toasters: "Little Drummer Boy"
5) The Toasters "Rudy Christmas A Jail"
6) The Toasters: "War Is Over"
7) Buford O’Sullivan Experience: "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer"

Peppermint Platter

1) The Toasters: "Blue Christmas"
2) The Toasters: "Feliz Navidad"
3) Buford O’Sullivan Experience: "Did You Buy What I Bought?"
4) The Toasters: "We Three Kings"
5) The Toasters: "Christmas Time Again"
6) The Toasters: "God Rock You Steady Gentlemen"
7) New York Ska Jazz Ensemble: "Joy To The World"

I've played this album at almost every Christmas party/get-together I've had since it's release--and it's always a crowd-pleaser!

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Roger Rivas and the Brothers of Reggae "Deck the Halls" b/w "Jingle Bells"

Jump Up has also released a fantastic skinhead reggae Christmas single (on red or green vinyl) from Roger Rivas (Aggrolites, The Bullets) and the Brothers of Reggae. "Deck the Halls" and "Jingle Bells" have never sounded so good to these ears. This is Xmas straight out of JA, circa 1969!

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Dr. Ring Ding Once a Year

While I'm still waiting for it to arrive in the mail, I'm positive that Dr. Ring Ding's Once a Year (Pork Pie Records) is going to be pretty fantastic (as is everything he produces!). The album is billed as a mix of original material and covers of traditional Christmas songs:

1. "Once A Year"
2. "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas"
3. "Dumpa Ska"
4. "Petit Papa Noël"
5. "Rub-A-Dub Santa"
6. "Lulajże Jezuniu"
7. "Twelve Elves"
8. "All I Wanna Do (On Christmas Day)"
9. "I Believe"
10. "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus"
11. "Les Anges Dans Nos Campagnes"
12. "The Christmas Song"
13. "Christmas Again"

In keeping with the holiday spirit of giving to those in need, for every CD sold through Pork Pie, 1 € of it will be donated to a residential group for underprivileged kids in Germany (more info here:

Here's Dr. Ring Ding's video trailer for Once a Year...

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Happy holidays!

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