RIP, Saxa of The Beat

The Beat were (left to right) Ranking Roger, David Steele, Saxa, Andy Cox (behind Saxa), Dave Wakeling, and Everett Morton. From the opening notes of The Beat’s 1979 debut single for 2 Tone (their incredible cover of Smokey Robinson and the Miracles’ “Tears of a Clown”) through to the closing, lingering sounds of “Ackee 1-2-3” (from the last track on their third and final studio album, Special Beat Service, released in 1982), Saxa’s exuberant, lush, and free-flowing tenor saxophone horn lines were integral to the band’s music

Read the full post at the awesome Duff Guide To Ska!

In Memory Of Lionel Augustus Martin: The Man Known As Saxa

I heard the sad news yesterday that Saxa, the inimitable saxophonist for The English Beat passed away at 87 years old.  And so, I wanted to share a post I wrote several years ago about what he meant to me and to other music fans who fell in love with him as a musician and a kind and loving soul. While the band were a unique union of many talents and personalities, Saxa was the glue that held the band together and his haunting and beautiful horn melodies was what set them apart

Read the full post at Marco On The Bass's awesome blog!

Duff Guide to Ska Fast Takes: Hollie Cook’s "Superstar," Pama International’s "Man Next Door" b/w "Austerity Skank," and Neville Staple’s "Return of Judge Roughneck"

(Reviews by Steve Shafer) Hollie Cook “Superstar” b/w “Superdub” (free Record Store Day 7″/digital download, Merge Records, 2017): The physical release of this single was a last minute addition to the 2017 Record Store Day line-up and was said to given out for free at select indie shops in celebration of Cook’s joining the Merge Records line-up in the USA (did anyone receive one?). The choice of cover here–The Carpenters’ AM pop staple “Superstar”–is definitely inspired, continues to fulfill Cook’s mission to create “tropical pop,” and is well matched to her wonderfully pure voice. And while this is no slight to producer/drummer Ben Mckone (who does a very fine job here), I have to admit to kind of missing the Prince Fatty touch

Read the full post at the awesome Duff Guide To Ska!