Friday, 10 October 2008


Ska is the jazz tinged R&B that was popular in Jamaica before it transformed itself into Rock Steady and Reggae in the late mid 60's. I used to pick up Ska Lp's and singles at Brick lane market in the 80's for next to nothing and it was certainly this kind of music that Madness and The Specials and the whole 2-Tone brigade were influenced by in the late 70's and early 80's. I loved the whole home grown ska sound but even more fascinated by the originals such as the Skatalites you can hear here playing a side from their LP cunningly entitled "Ska - Authentic".

Actually not a second hand record atall but one I bought in a sale from a shop in Soho in London back in the 80's during the ska boom when the Specials and Madness were just getting some big hits. This is a jamaican import and a very bad pressing and probably why it was cheap but some great instrumentals on here obviously influenced greatly by New Orleans jazz and R&B.

"The Skatalites is a Jamaican music group that played a major role in popularising ska, the first truly Jamaican music created by fusing boogie-woogie blues, rhythm and blues, jazz, mento, calypso, and African rhythms. They recorded many of their best known songs, including "Guns of navarone", in the period between 1964 and 1965, as well as played on records by Prince Buster and many other Jamaican artists.
The members of the group were Tommy McCook, Roland Alphonso, Lloyd Brevett, Lloyd Knibb, Lester Sterling, Don Drummond, Jah Jerry Haynes, Jackie Mittoo, Johnny Moore, Jackie Opel, and Doreen Shaffer. Trombonist Drummond's composition, "Man In The Street", entered the Top 10 in the United Kingdom. He was not only the Skatalites' busiest composer, but was the most prolific in all of Ska, with at least 200 tunes to his name by 1965.
On January 1, 1965, Drummond was jailed for the murder of his girlfriend, Anita 'Marguerita' Mahfood, and in August that year, the Skatalites played their last show. The break-up resulted in the formation of two supergroups, "Rolando Alphonso and the Soul Vendors" and "Tommy McCook and the Supersonics". Drummond died in the Bellevue Asylum on May 6, 1969 at age 37."
Tracks are-

1. Four Corners
2. Scrap Iron
3. Feeling Good
4. Royal Flush
5. Ball of Fire
6. Christine Keiler

1 comment:

C.J. Duffy said...

Yes! I too love SKA. People tend to think, often because of my origanl blog name, that Ii must be a huge fan of punk. Not so. SKA of the eighties followed punk but it also preceded it and influenced it.
Fantastic post.