Check out this great track and vid from STRANGE TENANTS, the “Godfathers of Australian Ska.” The message is spot-on and direct, as is the driving 2-Tone style beat. Brilliant, relevant, fun, and by gawd, even a dog can skank to it! Two paws up. Click the link below for instant ska satisfaction:
Dub City Rockers and Chris Murray – “Do The Ska”
Fittingly, I start my set of paw-selected SKA music with an ode to SKA! UK’s marvelous Dub City Rockers lay it down, as Chris Murray – longtime champion of ska music and pioneer of acoustic solo ska – sings the praises of ska. What is not for a ska doggie to love?
Dub City Rockers and Chris Murray – “Do The Ska”
The Uptones – “Get Out Of My Way”
The classic Berkeley punk ska anthem from my favorite band. The Uptones used to open their set with it back when I was a puppy. I play the recording whenever I’m stuck in traffic. Do ska doggies drive cars? But yes. Ska doggies can do anything.
The Uptones – “Get Out Of My Way
The Upsessions – “You Done Me Wrong”
Dutch reggae ska lovers The Upsessions have been slingin’ their own take on early Jamaican pop music since 2005. In that time they’ve amassed an impressive little discography and put on a lot of well received shows in Europa. Here’s one of their studio cuts, a personal fave of mine called “You Done Me Wrong.” Love that bubblin’ organ and be warned – the chorus might stay with you for daze!
The Upsessions – “You Done Me Wrong
The Planet Smashers feat. Neville Staple – “Explosive”
Montreal, Canada’s own ska heroes The Planet Smashers, rockin’ it with Neville Staple (yes the Neville Staple) on a killer anthem whose mission is no less than to save the world. It’s a worthy cause this ska doggie can support.
The Planet Smashers feat. Neville Staple – “Explosive
Vulcan Sex Machine – “Ska Trek”
A gr8 track by the mysterious Vulcan Sex Machine. They only played one gig, sold out the Roswell Masonic Hall and then vanished in a burst of blue light. Despite numerous unconfirmed reports of sightings of the band skanking thru the universe, no one has been able to get a decent picture of them. They have no website, no FB, they don’t even have a myspace! It’s as if they lived only to create this song, and disappear without a trace. Uncanny.
Vulcan Sex Machine – “Ska Trek
The Rudimentals – “Big Boss”
Rudimentally speaking, “Big Boss” by The Rudimentals is some big boss sounds about a big boss. Tight, well arranged horns bust a soulful ska line and the riddim section mashes it ‘tup old skool style, all backing a slew of great vocal lines. Plus a wikkid trombone solo, for extra ska flavour. Pick it up
The Rudimentals – “Big Boss
The Aggrolites – “Lunar Eclipse”
I can only go so many ska doggie days without some Aggy’s. Formed originally as a one-off backing band for the legendary Derrick Morgan, The Aggrolites have since become internationally known as one of the tightest ska/reggae bands on the live music scene. Always a great show, go see ‘em when u get the chance. Here’s an early instrumental with their patented “Dirty Reggae” sound. Ah, that sweet Hammond Organ. Great guitar work on this too, and their riddim section can’t be beat. I haz happy.
The Aggrolites – “Lunar Eclipse”
The Specials – “A Message To You, Rudy”
Christmas!! The Specials, it seems, are sharing a mp3 of their classic take on “A Message To You, Rudy.” How happy can one ska doggie be? Pinch me. No, don’t. I bite. This sooo is awesome! Go see ‘em while the goin’s good. They re-formed after a wee 30 year vacation.
The Specials – “A Message To You, Rudy
Toots and the Maytals – “Pressure Drop (live)”
The one, the only, the original, the champion, the last man standing, and the greatest singer in any ska band living or dead, Toots, ladies and gentlemen, and the Maytals. Live and direct performance, a slightly poppier take than the original, and very suitable for skanking. Buster not only approves, he piddles himself.
Toots and the Maytals – “Pressure Drop (live)
Unsteady – “Tokyo, CA”
Unsteady is such a fine name for a ska band. And this song rocks the ska from Godzilla’s stomping ground all the way to sunny skalifornia. What could be better? Download and surf this, ska peeps.
Unsteady – “Tokyo, CA
Zen Baseballbat – “I Am The Champion Concrete Mixer”
How many bands would think to write a song called “I Am The Champion Concrete Mixer”? But one, dears, only but one: Zen Baseballbat is the only group on earth capable of such a feat.
Zen Baseballbat – “I Am The Champion Concrete Mixer
Maroon Town – “City Riot”
The Selecter – “Cruel Britannia”
Deep into a UK swath of this mighty ska playlist we find The Selecter. I’ve seen a lot of ska bands in my life. I’ve seen audiences worked up into every sort of skanking frenzy imaginable. But there really isn’t much you can compare with the effect of a Selecter set. Doesn’t take them but a minute to get the crowd goin’ and after a half hour the damn building is raining sweat. After their encore if you are still alive your entire life has changed for the better. Here’s a later hit from the band that got its start as one side of Two-Tone records’ very first single, b/w The Specials’ Gangsters. Download and worship.
The Selecter – “Cruel Britannia
Spunge – “Idols”
Continuing my UK ska flight here we find goof-poppers Spunge expounding on their true desire in life, to be like their idols. It’s an honest song about something we all should aspire to in some way, yes? Plus, what a catchy little number =) Enjoy.
Spunge – “Idols
Bad Manners – “Non Shrewd”
And the heir apparent to Judge Dread’s naughty quirky UK take on the rude ska riddims, is the one, the only Buster Bloodvessel, lead singer and fearless leader of Bad Manners. Playing nearly non-stop since the Two-Tone explosion in the late 70′s, Bad Manners has been something of a school for many aspiring young ska horn players, guitarists, drummies, you name it. Through it all the great lip up fatty himself held it together. I have been asked, “Buster the ska doggie, are you named after Buster Bloodvessel, or Prince Buster?” Keep guessing! And skank til u drop
Bad Manners – “Non Shrewd
Judge Dread – “Skin Lake”
UK’s original rude bwoi Judge Dread holds forth and the little ska kittehs all gather in a circle at his feet. This guys was doing ska in England before the Specials, and ladies and gents, the list of people who can say that is very short indeed. Skankitup.
Judge Dread – “Skin Lake
Radio Noise – “Save All Your Sadness For Me”
Radio Noise’s kick ass punky ska number, “Save All Your Sadness For Me” has more valuable relationship advice stuffed into a few hot minutes than you might spend thousands of dollars and hours on in a fancy therapy office. Quality post-modern neurosis with a catchy chorus and some really funny lines.
Radio Noise – “Save All Your Sadness For Me
The Uptones – “Bad Men Of Bodie”
A fine gold-country ska nugget from The Uptones. Jeanne Geiger’s trombone solo always brings down the house when they perform this song live. From the Skankin’ Foolz Unite! CD, on Fun Fun Fun Recordings. They even put my ska doggie mug on the front cover!
The Uptones – “Bad Men Of Bodie
Sonic Boom Six – “People Acklike They Don’t Know”
It is a personal ska doggie mission of mine to explain to the uninitiated that you must hear SB6. If you don’t, zombies will eat your face. Well, maybe not, but your life simply will not be as fulfilling and satisfying. You must discover Sonic Boom Six and listen to their music and see them live at your next opportunity if you are to avoid a dreary life as a bank manager in Kent.
Sonic Boom Six – “People Acklike They Don’t Know
Skankin’ Pickle – “Thick Ass Stout”
Dear old Skankin’ Pickle. They came, they dilled, they conquered. Forever enshrined in mp3 format, here is their mighty ode to Guinness and the like. A beer milkshake as ska song. Brilliant. buuuurp
Skankin’ Pickle – “Thick Ass Stout
Let’s Go Bowling – “Solar Shock”
Consistently one of California’s best ska bands, LGB brings a great dub sensibility to their music, which is more two-tone and traditional ska based than 3rd wave, though they are rightfully known as one of the original 3rd wave bands. This instrumental mid tempo rocker really cooks.
Let’s Go Bowling – “Solar Shock
Prince Blanco – Held Together by “Ska Tissue”!
Rude bwoi ska from Toronto? Yep. It’s a funny little ting called Ska Tissue that binds our bodies and the universe together.
Prince Blanco – “Ska Tissue
The Cherry Poppin’ Daddies – “Hi And Lo”
The Specials – “Gangsters”
Bob Marley – Soul Shakedown Party (Remix)
Ah, Bob. Bob. What can you said that aint already been said? Bob, baby. This remix is gorgeous springtime fun and it does the original plenty ‘o justice while taking it to another realm o’ fun. Check it.
Bob Marley – “Soul Shakedown Party (Remix)”
Freetown – “Skaffic Jam”
Ya wanna get caught up in Freetown‘s Skaffic Jam. Not like any traffic jam, theirs is populated with upbeats, bass, drums, horns and SKA vocals, careening in and outta lanes like rush hour. Go deh.
Freetown – “Skaffic Jam
The Aggrolites – “The Stampede”
Victor Rice – “Drum Thief”
Ruder Than You – “Give the People What They Need”
Of course you can give the people what they want! But can you give them what they NEED?! Spin this lighthearted fun ska track by Ruder Than You, and all your needs will be instantly met. Yes.
Ruder Than You – “Give the People What They Need
The Gangsters – “The Family”
They’re back, The Gangsters, who originally formed in ’91, broke up a few years later, only to be convinced by the likes of Beatville Records to reunite in ’97. Straight out of Dublin, the Gangsters were Influenced by the era of 2-tone ska by bands like: The Specials, Bad Manners, Madness, and The English Beat, they were the only ska band in Dublin for years. “Family” is a classic 2-tone ska track.
The Gangsters – “The Family”
The Uptones – “Bonnie and Clyde”
West coast ska pioneers The Uptones bringin’ their unique take on the tale of Bonnie and Clyde. As told by The Rev. Paul Jackson, this ska saga is sung from the perspective of the ghost of Buck Burroughs – famous criminal Clyde Burroughs’ deceased brother. Follow all that? Fine, put all the jewelry in the bag and no funny business.
The Uptones – “Bonnie and Clyde
The Beachniks – “Riding Out”
Ministry Of Ska – “Skaty”
The Toasters – “Freedom”
Ah the lovely Toasters. These guys should get a special ska doggie medal for persevering and spreading ska far and wide during some of the darkest days the music business has ever known. Run as an independent act from the start, every scrap of their success as earned one fan at a time on the road, when often as not, they played to ska-starved fans and puzzled onlookers in a roadhouse a’la The Blues Brothers. Here’s their anthem to one of the finest things in the world – that elusive and magnificent, tangible but invisible, immeasurably valuable stuff, Freedom. Hey that’s a lot of words for a ska doggie! But talk is cheap. And what price freedom? Download and enjoy and go see this band if you get the chance.
The Toasters – “Freedom
The Specials – “Rat Race”
One of the gr8est bands of all time, the creators of Two-Tone, and more than anyone else the band responsible for popularizing ska beyond Jamaica and making it a huge internationally known genre, The Specials! Here is their classic, oh-so-British rant about class and scarves, “Rat Race.” From the More Specials album, an absolute must-have. No ska collection is complete without Specials records. Skank on.
The Specials – “Rat Race
Critical Mass – “What To Do”
“I don’t know what to do, I don’t know what to do.” What a chorus! I don’t think a better more poignant thing has ever been said. I also know what to do. Berkeley CA’s ska punk über-men, Critical Mass, f00.
Critical Mass – “What To Do
The Uptones – “Rude Boy (live)”
The California ska pioneers’ ode to a rudie gone astray is a staple of this ska doggy’s mp3 diet. It was recorded live in the 80′s when Gilman was still a pup, and Uptones’ fellow Berkeleyans, Op Ivy, were just starting out. The Uptones Live @ Gilman CD is like a bridge between British Two-Tone and American 3rd wave ska. This song changed my life.
The Uptones – “Rude Boy”
While I was out for my morning run thru teh Inertnets I did stumble upon this fascinating Reddit entry entitled Since it seems to be ska week, here is the history of ska music with well over 50 YouTube links. It’s a nice overview of the history of ska through the various waves and incarnations. Needless to say I sniffed every song on it, from The Skatalites to The Uptones to Op Ivy and beyond, and now I’m a bit exhausted from all the skanking and running. Imagine my shock when I pawed in “Ska” in a Reddit search and came up with a bazillion skankalicious entries. A ska doggie must be fit and ready to skank at all times. Here’s an actual photograph of me, this very morning.
San Jose’s MONKEY has been playing ska and reggae and with their food in the bay area and around the world for over 10,000 years. They are playing their super baddass 10,000th year anniversary gig this Friday night, January 31 at the Blank Club. OK I lied. It’s 18 years. But that’s still a long time. And they are a wonderful band so go see ‘em and wish them a skappy birthday! Two paws up! W00f
It’s been a whirlwind for this ska doggie. I went to some skaliday parties and met up with a hot secret agent siberian husky called Shebaska, from Dogmania. She double-crossed me eventually, but not before we thwarted the villainous Dr. Autotune, escaped with all his hard drives, and made some beautiful puppies. It all started at the Aggrolites and Uptones gig at New Parish in Oakland. Truly, I don’t remember much of that night. Reading Eric Din’s account of the event, Skaliday Party In Oaktucky, brings back bits of it. I do remember taking a flying leap off the balcony into Shebaska’s waiting limo just as animal control authorities were closing in. Remaining details are hazy.
Ah, I see there are some great new band links in the comments on our Ska Bands page. Keep ‘em coming, I’ll update the main page after I’ve had my kibble.
NYC’s longest-skanking band, The Toasters, is doing a big ass tour and they will be stopping at this ska doggie’s own hometown of Berkeley, CA. Yes and opening the show will be Skank Bank, latest greatest heirs to the Gilman-y ska-punky Berkeley High School-y skank-o-sphere. And yes, the show is at 924 Gilman. South bay ska stalwarts MONKEY and Gilman skafficianados Jokes For Feelings, plus The Skunkadelics are also on this skawesome bill. I will be there, passing out ska-ggy biskits to all my Bitches.
The Duppies from Gainesville, FL have played Ska/Rocksteady for the better part of a decade and they don’t seem to be stopping anytime soon. The term Duppy is Jamaican patois for ghost or poltergeist, no doubt expressing their deep connection to Jamaican music and culture. They have been frequently compared to Toots and the Maytals, but this group is uniquely Floridian. They have recently played with the likes of King Django, The Slackers, Sammy Kay, and Chris Murray. The Duppies have evolved over the years and are on the verge of releasing a new record available only in vinal or digital copy.
There are plenty of songs available including their cover of Reggae Night Food. A live debut of their song Shake and Move was filmed recently. Their most recognizable original song to date is Two Things. All of the Duppies CD’s and Merchandise are available for purchase on their online store.
Click Here and like them on Facebook to support and get up to date information on the Duppies.
Happy news for you SKA-headz in the North Bay area, the Redwood Cafe in Cotati is hosting a monthly REGGAE AT THE REDWOOD fest. This month the bay area’s legendary ska band The UPTONES is the featured act, it’s all ages and all good and this ska doggie will be there! RSVP at the Event Page and invite yr friends!