Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Duff Review: The Delirians "Move Around" b/w "Overdub" and The Return of Steady Beat Recordings!

Steady Beat Recordings
7" vinyl single

From the perspective of someone who's been around long enough to see the US ska scene rise and fall a couple of times, it's fantastic to witness the return of Luis P. Correa's crucial Steady Beat Recordings. Throughout the 90s, Steady Beat was a key booster of the Southern California ska scene (particularly Latin ska and ska-jazz acts), first releasing three Blackpool cassette comps (which featured live cuts from King Willy, Israelites, Orange Street, Ye Olde English, Mobtown, Soulfuls, Buck-o-Nine, See Spot, The Dynamics, Checkmate, Los Hooligans, Mento Buru, and Mealticket) and two Blackpool 7" singles; then the killer SKAuthentic CD (with See Spot, Mobtown, The Dynamics, Los Hooligans, Let's Go Bowling, Yeska, Joey Altruda, Mento Buru, King Willy, Ocean 11, Hepcat, Checkmate, Unsteady, and Israelites); and ultimately singles and/or CDs from See Spot, The Allentons, Yeska, Mobtown, and Ocean 11.

In fact, Luis was so plugged into the scene that back when I was at Moon Records and Buck and I were talking about putting together California Ska-quake, Volume 2: The Aftershock, we tapped Luis to executive produce it--and it turned out to be a phenomenally good release. Yet, despite its high-quality and Moon's promotional efforts, California Ska-quake, Vol. 2 never sold well, which left us somewhat baffled. But considering the fiercely competitive times--1996, at the height of the feeding-frenzy of the ska boom--we chalked it up to West Coast parochialism: we were seen as outsiders trespassing on the LA/Bay Area ska scene turf.

However, when you consider how much Moon had done much to spotlight the Cali scene in the early 90s with seminal releases from Dance Hall Crashers (1991), Let's Go Bowling (1991), and Hepcat (1993), as well as the first California Ska-quake (released in 1992 and featuring tracks from DHC, LGB, No Doubt, Jump with Joey, The Skeletones, Crucial DBC, Skankin' Pickle, Hepcat, The Specs, and more), this bias against Moon seemed kind of ludicrous. The label's intentions were good and pure (at heart, Buck is a socialist and was always trying to work collaboratively with other bands and labels so that all ska boats would rise together), but that's just sometimes how things go in the music business.

The resurrected Steady Beat has recently issued two new limited-edition 7" vinyl singles from Mexico's early reggae crew Jamaica 69 (to be reviewed shortly) and LA's superb ska/rocksteady group The Delirians (who backed Queen P on the Echoes of Kingston tour).

The Delirians' vintage ska sounds mighty good on "Move Around" (love the tinkly piano riffs!), with lyrics that (unsurprisingly) exhort one to dance: "Oh, make your move/Take your groove/Yes, we're gonna let you do your thing/Don't be afraid/or have no shame/Yeah, we'll have our fun anyway/So do The Chicken/The Mash Potato/Yeah, The Twist and The Alligator/Don't be afraid/or have no shame/Who are they to judge, anyway?" If these unrelentingly bouncy ska rhythms don't compel you to dance, you're six feet under. "Overdub," despite its title, is not a dub cut, but rather an upbeat organ-driven instrumental that's got to be a dance floor stormer live.

Duff Guide to Ska Grade: A


Duncan said...

Hey Man,

Just a quick note: the Blackpool recordings also had at least two 7 inch releases so technically, they weren't cassette-only.



Steve from Moon said...


How right you are. Thanks for keeping me honest. I will change the posting to reflect that!



John said...

I think you both have entirely too much time on your hands...

Steve from Moon said...

No John, I don't have enough time on my hands! Want more!