Monday, September 24, 2007

Ska's the limit

I picked up an original copy of Club Ska '67 at a boot sale over the weekend. This was the original issue on the WIRL label, which has 12 tracks rather than the 13 on the slightly later Island version (Rub Up Push Up by Justin Hines is missing). It's a cracking LP featuring some of the top ska tracks of that year, including Guns of Navarone by the Skatalites, Phoenix City by Roland Alphonso and Dancing Mood by Delroy Wilson. It takes me back to visits to dingy black clubs and shabeens in Brixton where I would soak up this fantastic and - to a white middle class boy like me - alien music.
The sleeve notes on the album are by Guy Stevens who probably did more than anyone to introduce genuine R and B and soul into the UK in the sixties with his Sue label and the never to be forgotten Scene Club. Amazing, after 40 years, just how exciting and fresh ska and rock steady tracks still sound. And its progeny reggae is still huge today. Amazing that these ramshackle studios in Jamaica with primitive recording equipment (but brilliant producers and musicians) could have produced music that changed the world.


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