|From The Duff Guide to Ska badge collection (click on image to enlarge)!|
Basement 5 In Dub (Five-track vinyl EP, PIAS Recordings, 2017 reissue; originally released on Island Records, 1980): Dub meets end-of-days post-punk in this really fantastic mash-up of styles (produced by Martin Hannett, who collaborated with the Buzzcocks, Joy Division/New Order, Psychedelic Furs and others). The source material is Basement 5's sole punky reggae album, 1965-1980, which is very much worth tracking down (it was also reissued this year on CD with these dub tracks), but it doesn't work quite as perfectly as this. (For those are interested in band ancestry, Basement 5 bassist Leo Williams went on to co-found Big Audio Dynamite with Mick Jones and Don Letts.)
Rhoda Dakar The Lotek Four, Volume 1 (7" vinyl EP/CD EP, Pledge Music, 2016): Read The Duff Guide to Ska review here.
Jackie Mittoo Striker Showcase (2xCD, 17 North Parade/VP Records, 2017): Read The Duff Guide to Ska review here.
King Kong 4 "You Lie Awake" (digital single, Winterbeard Records, 2017): Read The Duff Guide to Ska review here.
King Kong 4 "More Than Just a Plate Full"(digital single, Winterbeard Records, 2017): Read The Duff Guide to Ska review here.
King Kong 4 There's Not Much That You or I Can Do About It (Five-track digital EP, Winterbeard Records, 2017): Read The Duff Guide to Ska review here.
Let's Go Bowling Music To Bowl By (LP, Asian Man Records, 2017 reissue; originally released on CD, Moon Records, 1991): Read The Duff Guide to Ska appreciation here.
Massive Attack v. Mad Professor No Protection (heavyweight vinyl LP, Virgin Records, 2016 reissue; originally released in 1995 on Wild Bunch Records): Read The Duff Guide to Ska appreciation here.
Monty Neysmith and The Bishops "Fung Shu" b/w "Skin Flint" (7" red or blue vinyl single, Jump Up Records/Mad Butcher, 2017): Read The Duff Guide to Ska review here.
Monty Neysmith and The Bishops Monty Neysmith Meets The Bishops (CD/LP, Jump Up Records, 2017): Read The Duff Guide to Ska review here.
The Offs First Record (LP, CD Presents, 1984): Read The Duff Guide to Ska "Shots in the Dark" appreciation here.
Rude Guest Lost Chicago Ska 1982-1993 (CD/LP/cassette, Jump Up Records, 2016/2017): Read The Duff Guide to Ska review here.
The Selecter Daylight (CD/LP, DMF Records, 2017): Read The Duff Guide to Ska review here.
The Selecter/The Beat "Breakdown" b/w "Side To Side" (7" PS vinyl single, DMF Records, 2016): Read The Duff Guide to Ska review here.
The Sentiments Hi-Fi (digital album/CD, Simmerdown Productions/Bandcamp, 2016): Read The Duff Guide to Ska review here.
The Ska Flames Turn-Up (vinyl LP, Sun Shot, 2016): Read The Duff Guide to Ska review here.
Various Artists: Recutting the Crap, Volume 1 (LP/digital, Crooked Beat Records, 2017 Record Store Day release): I first heard The Clash's Cut the Crap back in 1985 after devouring Big Audio Dynamite's This is Big Audio Dynamite (both were released within months of each other) and was profoundly disappointed to find that while Jones and company had taken the Sandinista and Combat Rock musical gumbo (punk, hip-hop, dance rock, reggae/dub) to the next evolutionary level, Strummer had made u-turn back toward 1977 punk (at manager Bernie Rhodes' urging), but had been t-boned by Rhodes' god-awful musical direction/production (replete with session musicians, synthesizers, programmed drums, and football terrace-like shouted choruses) and several profound life experiences Joe was dealing with at the time that distracted him from the task at hand (the deaths of both of his parents and the birth of his first child). History has not been kind to Cut the Crap (generally it's not considered canonical by fans and band members alike), but in many cases the acts on Recutting the Crap have revealed in their versions that there were some seriously decent-to-great songs buried under Rhodes' dreck--Strummer's tunes were solid at the core. The Scotch Bonnets' terrific, stripped-down reggae take on the anti-nuclear war cut "Are You Red...Y" alone is worth the cost of this LP. Other notable tracks include The Violets' ska-ified "Cool Under Heat," Dom Casual's ska-jazz-punkabilly "Sex Mad Roar," Basnji's "Dirty Punk" is loads more faithful to the Clash's '77 sound than the original (Too Much Joy's version of the cringe-y "We Are The Clash" is a valiant effort in this category, too), and Winterdrinks' "Play to Win" sounds like a deep cut from Sandinista. There are even a few covers of demos for Cut the Crap (which was originally titled Out of Control before Rhodes unilaterally renamed it)--I particularly liked Sussed Out with Sol Roots' raucous cover of "Backwoods Drive." A second volume of Recutting the Crap is slated for 2018, which presumably will include the last good and legit Clash single, "This Is England." (If you're in the NYC area, Rock and Soul has a good number of this limited edition LP in stock.)
+ + + +
Part 2 of our Year in Ska Reviews is up next...
(And Part 3 is up on the blog, too.)
+ + + +