Friday, August 31, 2007

YouTube favorites -- get up and skank special

Back around 1980, I was really into ska, more specifically what's called "second-wave" or "2 Tone."

I can't believe that was 27 years ago, long enough for somebody to be born and become a grown-assed man. I don't feel much older than I did then.

The first 2 Tone band I heard was Madness. In America, they're best remembered for "Our House," an enjoyable nostalgic pop song they put out after they pretty much quit doing new ska songs. But their two songs that grabbed me and got me into ska were "One Step Beyond" and "Night boat To Cairo." Most other bands were so serious -- either serious and crappy rock dinosaurs or serious and good punk bands -- and Madness's "nutty sound" was completely different. I wore out their cassette listening to it, and wore a hole in my carpet dancing to it.

Which isn't to say that ska was never serious. Just by being racially mixed, bands like the Specials were making a political statement. But the music was the thing. And bands that let the kids up on the stage to dance are teh kewl. Here's "Skinhead Moonstomp."

In 1981, the documentary Dance Craze came out. I never did see the movie, but I got the cassette and wore that one out too. Then I wore out my copy. Among the bands the film documented, the Bodysnatchers probably accomplished the least. They were only together for about two years and never even released a full-length album. But I love all-girl bands, and you don't have to be a great musician to make great music. Here's their cover of Desmond Dekker's "Shanty Town."

The Beat, or the English Beat as they were known in America, were another of my favorites. They were a tight band with more of a Jamaican sound. This is "Ranking Full Stop."

The Selecter featured the lovely Pauline Black. Here's "On the Radio."

Finally, here's Bad Manners, led by the inimitable Buster Bloodvessel. Somebody once called them a "musical carnival," and I think that described their live shows pretty well. This is "Lip Up Fatty."


  1. Your choice of tracks bring back a lot of good memories...


  2. Over the years, I've come to resemble Buster Bloodvessel a bit more than I would have liked...

  3. Yeah, me too, but there's no way I'll let myself become a whopping 30+ stones like Buster.


  4. But check out this video from last June:
    Buster's almost skinny!


What do you think?