Friday, August 28, 2009

Jump Up Records News: The Drastics vs. The King of Pop; Ska at the Movies

Proving that a great pop song remains a great pop song no matter how you interpret it, The Drastics have recorded and released a free download of Michael Jackson covers inna skinhead reggae style (in honor of his August 29th birthday). The digital EP MJ a Rocker contains extraordinary versions of "I Want You Back," "Rock with You," "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough," "Billie Jean," "Smooth Criminal," and "The Way You Make Me Feel"--tunes that, if you've had any exposure to mass pop culture over the past two decades, have been grafted into your brain over the years (and you have to admit that they're damn catchy no matter what your feelings are about MJ). Those looking for a campy swipe at the self-anointed King of Pop should look elsewhere--this is a heartfelt tribute to a gifted musician/performer by a band that is clearly proud to counted among his many fans.

Simply brilliant stuff.

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Also, in the great ideas department, Chuck Wren of Jump Up Records has organized a free reggae/2 Tone film festival (the schedule and all details are at right), with popcorn and DJ sets (courtesy of Chuck himself) before and after the flix. If you are in the Chicago area, this is a no-brainer: go, dog, go!

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Amy Winehouse's appearance with The Specials earlier this week at the V Festival (singing "You're Wondering Now") coincided with the delivery of her "Free Nelson Mandela" single (on white vinyl with a cover that mirrors The Special AKA's) that I had ordered from Jump Up (as always, Chuck carries a plethora of ska releases from around the world...if you want it, he's probably got it). The cut--that I consider to be one of Jerry's best compositions ever--is a live recording from Nelson Mandela's 90th birthday celebration in London, back in June of 2008. Amy is backed by Jerry Dammers on keys, the Soweto Gospel Choir, and a cast of thousands, including Annie Lennox. Check out the viddy below...(and the original by The Special AKA can be seen here).

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