Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tim Curry - Working on My Tan 7" (1981)

You remember him as the Lord of Darkness from the movie "Legend" with Tom Cruise, or as the creepy clown in that Steven King movie, or the creepy desk clerk in Home Alone 2, or as the creepy transvestite in what I consider one of the worst movies ever made.

Amidst all of that we was a singer. He released 3 albums:
"Read My Lips" 1978
"Fearless" 1979
"Simplicity" 1981

This single is from "Simplicity" and is not his only attempt at reggae. There were two others. This was the lesser of the creepy.

A - Working on My Tan
B - On a Roll


Tone and Wave podcast

I know that the world isn't exactly in need of another podcast.

I have considered doing one for quite a while but I was given conflicting advice by just about everyone I told. The consensus was that in order to hold peoples' attention I would have to play the Specials and Bad Manners etc.
I think that might be true and that's why I never got around to doing it yet. I have decided to go against that advice and stick to what I do best and do a podcast that focuses on ska and reggae songs recorded by musicians who aren't traditionally ska or reggae artists and, of course, lots of obscure one-offs.

Keep in mind though that just because those songs are obscure and rare it doesn't always mean that they're good.

I hope to have the first episode done by the end of the week. I will post it for download here and on Podomatic.

I have cut my teeth yesterday doing a guest spot on my friend's internet radio show Hepkat Jose's Ska and Punk Hour HERE

There were some technical difficulties and I wasn't able to hear it at all in its initial broadcast so it's good my segment was pre-recorded.

I played a third wave song, a song from the band Saga, a 70s ska song and two punk songs.
I have never posted that Saga 7" yet so it might be worth checking out just for that song - and that's just what I played. Hepkat Jose mixes in some traditional and 3rd wave ska in with the punk.

Listen to internet radio with HepkatJose the burrito king on Blog Talk Radio

If you can, give me some feedback so I know what direction to put my own podcast in.

Should I mix in some popular favorites to make it easier to listen to, or just play the oddities straight forward?

Spies Like Us

April submitted this Texas 3rd wave from the mid-nineties.

1 Milk
2 Rude Girl
3 Mice on the Run
4 What's a Boy to Do?
5 Handsome Guy
6 I Won't Forget About You
7 Little Girl From Outer Space
8 Hawaiian Spy
9 This Thing Called SKA
10 Skanktuary
11 Martinis and Bikinis
12 Who's Got the Time?
13 Spies Like Us

"Mice on the Run"

"Martinis and Bikinis"


Quiet - Monopoliserade Sanningar 7" (1980)

More Swedish ska.

A - Monopoliserade Sanningar
B - Snacket E' Slut


Monday, October 18, 2010

Trowsers - California's most forgotten about 80s ska band

I read recently that Donkey Show was California's first ska band and I thought "What the Fuck?"

Donkey Show was a good band but they were nowhere near being California's first ska band - let alone San Diego's first ska band.

I pretend to know everything but I don't really. As far as I know there were many bands in California since the mid seventies playing a ska/reggae sound on a song or two but I'm pretty sure that the first band to incorporate that sound into a full-time act was San Diego's Trowsers.

They started as early as 1979 under the name Ballistics. They even recorded their first song in Kingston, Jamaica.

I'm not going to lie to you and say that they were a great band. I have to admit that band-leader and vocalist Y Lee's voice is hard to get used to. (Imagine if Dicky Barrett was the main vocalist for the Donkey Show) - but their music will grow on you.

Their only "real" album was Drop 'Em from 1983

1 Come Dance
2 Teaser
3 Kraken Up
4 Inna Boy-O Style
5 Kraken Dub
6 Mondo Bondo
7 Burnin'
8 Housewife Terrorist
9 Grab It
10 Liberation
11 Rev Steppin'

"Mondo Bondo"


But they did release a second album in 1984 that was a collection of unreleased songs including their 8-track recordings from 1982 and 1983 as well as their first recording "Rolling with the Feeling" from 1979. It was called
Solitary Confinement

1 Solitary Confinement
2 Air Conditioning
3 Laff in My Face
4 Midnight Carouser
5 Rip Me Off
6 Authority
7 Isolation
8 Wrong Area Code
9 Rolling With the Feeling
10 Colonial Mentality
11 Bad Food
12 ISO Dub

"Rolling With the Feeling"


Vieja Skina

There are a lot of bands out there in the world who say they're "traditional" but, realistically, they are trying too hard to emulate traditional bands with their modern sentimentality and it doesn't really work the way they think it does. It is a rare occasion when a band fully understands what traditional ska is and uses that as a basis to play their own music knowing that they are not traditional themselves...but that they are a modern band with true traditional inspiration.
Even here in California a couple decades ago people were using the word "traditional" when it really didn't apply. I lost respect for the term.

There are some good "traditional" bands out there but they're being overshadowed by gimmick bands. Bands with the money of pop stars behind them.

Here is one of those rare occasions:

"Impro Ska"

"El Acrobata"*

Their Myspace

...and for those of you who go with the trends:

Their Facebook


Skankin' Pickle live in Tallahassee, Florida (1995)

This was recorded at Club Downunder on the campus of FSU.

The whole video is on Youtube HERE.

1 $13,000 is a Lot of Food
2 Smorgasborgnine
3 Turning Japanese
4 Hussein Skank
5 Fakin' Jamaican
6 David Duke is Running for President
7 A Girl Named Spike
8 Onyonghasaya
9 Thick Ass Stout
10 Anxiety Attack
11 Ice Cube, Korea wants a Word with You
12 20 Nothing
13 Rotten Banana Legs
14 I Missed the Bus
15 Fights
16 Hulk Hogan


Saturday, October 9, 2010

Honey Bane - Guilty 7'' (1980)

With everything that Crass Records put out in the eighties as far as diversity - Bjork's first band Kukl, the punk-electronica of Hit Parade, the punk-rap of Captain Sensible, you would think that there would be plenty of the ska / reggae influence. It was there but it was rare. Poison Girls did "Old Tart's Song"...
and there was this:

A - Guilty
B - Guilt Dub


4" be 2" - Frustration 7'' (1980)

Their best release in my opinion.
(The other two can be found HERE)

A - Frustration
B - I Can't Explain


...as with the first two much thanks to Bruce!!


Some of you already know that I play music. I'm not currently in a band but I was in several bands over the last two decades. Not because I don't want to be in one but because good musicians are hard to find. I have been lucky enough to know a small handful of adept musicians over the years.

Throughout most of that time over the course of 3 different bands I had a drummer who called himself Hepkat Jose the Burrito King. This was before there was a band called Hepcat so he didn't intentionally associate himself with them, although he is the one who urged me to go see them for the first time. We played everything from anarcho-punk to traditional ska, rockabilly, and a lot of stuff that sounded like we were trying to rip off the Dead Milkmen (we weren't - it just came out that way). We recorded a few songs onto a tape which was destroyed by our sax player after he found religion and decided that he didn't want to be associated with us heathens.

Hepkat Jose got involved in the whole "meeting a woman and having kids and getting a real job" trend and moved to Iowa.
The good ol' days are gone but I'm comforted to know that he is pathetically clinging to the past just like I am. He has started doing an internet radio show where he plays the punk and ska that we used to listen to back in the days.


My songwriting went into many different directions when I wasn't playing with other people and it seemed I wouldn't find another drummer who knew music well enough to keep up with what I wanted to play. Then I met Lisa. The first time we played together everything fell onto place perfectly. Then she moved. She's only a 40 minute drive away so there's a chance we might get around to recording a song or two in the next couple of years.

She has other talents outside of music:

(she says that the nail is too long - it should be 2 inches not three.)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Gordon - Oh My God, It's Full of Stars (1996)

3rd wave band with some 2 Tone style songs from Göteborg Sweden. They broke up in '97 after opening for Mr. Review on their European tour. This is their only full-length but they do have 2 EPs (I don't have 'em)"The Baretta EP" (1995)and "Relaxed and Comfortable" (1997).
I have included their cover of Madness' "Michael Cain" which was not on this album.

1 Stardust
2 Regordonize the Planet
3 Baby's Line of Fire
4 Make a Difference
5 Astronaut
6 Mad Place (revisited)
7 Teaserama
8 Revelation Rock
9 None of These Days
10 Bishop
11 Wimp
12 Ster-eerie-o
13 Not Like You
14 Lifetime
15 Wasted
16 Can't Get Rid of Me
*Michael Caine




Sunday, October 3, 2010

Urban Heroes - Habadabariwikidi 7" (1981)

A - Habadabariwikidi
B - Chips


West Coast Chronicles vol.1 (1997)

Steady Beat release from 1997 of American bands from the west coast. Lots of rocksteady, ska, reggae, ska-jazz, and skinhead reggae without the punk-ska that contaminated the scene at the time.
Thanks to April for this submission.

1 Israelites - 12 Tribes
2 Allentons - Fallen
3 The Showens - Traffic
4 The Debonaires - A Dozen Roses
5 The Upstarts - Pineapple Mambo
6 Bluebeat Stompers - Leaving Town
7 The Titans - Lies
8 Franceska - Why O Why
9 Steady Ups - Shake You Loose
10 O. Junction - Plantation Lullabye
11 O. Junction - Dub Plantation
12 Chris & Brian - This is the Dance
13 Checkmate - Slow it Down
14 Empire Allstars - Train Memorial
15 Banana Crusher - Hot Keawi
16 Monkey - Calle de Amor
17 Dynamic Pressure - Shwint's Rock
18 Banana Crusher - (untitled)


Royals - Get Yourself a Job,Mate 7" (1981)

A - Get Yourself a Job, Mate
B - Mr. President

I actually like the quirky A side better but it is the B that makes this one suitable for a Tone and Wave post.

side A

side B