Sunday, July 22, 2007
Inspired by some recent comments (and needing something to listen to last night while I tried to figure out an annoying computer problem anyway), I found some examples of music I like on the web and have decided to include a few in a post.
Most of this music is ska, a form that originated in Jamaica during the late fifties/early sixties and pre-dates reggae, its more famous offshoot. Although ska goes in and out of popularity in "waves", it has popped up in various forms all over the world. (I even own a CD by a Czech group called Sto Zvirat, a live recording of whom you can listen to here.)
Enjoy the below list. Unless I state otherwise, it's ska.
During its "Second Wave" of popularity, a major ska revival occurred among "skinheads" -- a group I must emphasize was decidedly against racism -- in Great Britain.
During this time, some musicians attempted a fusion between the punk rock and ska styles. The only band I think was really able to pull this off well was The Specials, who re-gouped during the 1990s. All I could find in the way of YouTube videos was from their earlier material, which, although it is good, is not as good as their later material, which I think shows more musical maturity and takes better advantage of Neville Staples's voice.
The below video of "Ghost Town", although not of one of my favorite songs, captures some of the band's "bounciness" and energy.
Another second wave British band, The Selecter, featured the beautiful vocals of Pauline Black, who sometimes had to dress as a man to sneak into some of the clubs for gigs. (She would sometimes dress in the same fashion for taped performances as in the second video.) As you will see, this ruse would probably have barely worked long enough or well enough to get her onto the stage, after which point ....
What were they going to do? Kick her her out?
Anyway, here's "On My Radio":
Of the two Selecter videos I have chosen, the above is much better, being notable for its very artistic use of black and white and its better sound quality. The second is "Missing Words". I include it only because I really like the song. Its audio is a little muted.
Laurel Aitken, and Bad Manners
This video featuring "Sally Brown" and "Skinhead" I'll have to listen to a few more times to make up my mind about it since it features a band I've never heard before, The Loafers, backing up Cuban-born vocal legend, Laurel Aitken. "Sally Brown" is often covered by ska bands, including by yet another second wave British band, Bad Manners, whose cover of "Wolly Bully" I like. (If you like that, take a listen to "Just a Feeling", too.)
Here is yet another new discovery. The Adjusters, an American Third Wave band performs "Our Town". I own one album of this band, but this song is new to me.
The Pepper Pots
And here's another new group for me, The Pepper Pots, who hail from Spain at least according to one commenter. (Although they do sign off in Spanish. I'm not so sure about that, but I'll have to Google it later on.)
The song is, "I Can't Wait No More".
I wouldn't call this "ska", but I still like Shaggy's remake of an old ska classic, "Oh Carolina". If I recall correctly, this made the charts on both sides of the Atlantic, but first (and longest) in Britain.
And finally, I'll toss out some more non-ska links: First, are a couple of reggae favorites from Jimmy Cliff, "Many Rivers to Cross", and "The Harder They Come". The last is jazz -- Jane Monheit singing "Please Be Kind".