Ska recommendations

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Ska recommendations

Postby scotto75 » Mon Sep 16, 2013 6:44 pm

Hello everyone,

I'm getting into that heavy instrumental sound like....

Baba Brooks - First Session
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B5G13DIs04M

Skatalites - Jazz Ska
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYSdtsoyuB4

Don Drummond - A Way From It All
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Stzgj2Frv4

... and I'm especially interested in tough double-bass lines. Does anyone know of any other similar tunes to these?

All suggestions would be gratefully received.

Cheers!
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Re: Ska recommendations

Postby lankou » Mon Sep 16, 2013 7:50 pm

Foundation Ska, a great comp released on Heartbeat Records is a nice way to start with the vast Skatalites output.
Most of the comps dedicated to the Treasure Isle label on the same US label are also well worth checking out:
Ska After Ska After Ska is a name that comes to mind but there are more instrumental albums.
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Re: Ska recommendations

Postby scotto75 » Mon Sep 16, 2013 10:01 pm

Thanks for the tip. I checked the listing for Foundation Ska and know quite a few on there, but there's a couple that I haven't heard before. I'm more familiar with Skatalites and Rolando Alphonso than any other early/mid sixties artists. Saw them almost twenty years ago when there was still quite a few of the original line up still with us. It was intense, and still up there as one of the best I've ever been to.

Anyway, to be more specific, I'm looking for the slightly faster instrumentals that use a minor chord with one change (usually a major e.g. Jazz Ska is Gmin but changes to Dmaj), have horn solo's in the middle and big walking double-bass lines. I play the piano and I'm trying to get my left hand to learn the bass parts whilst my right is doing the chords. The more tunes I can find the better!
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Re: Ska recommendations

Postby Mick Sleeper » Tue Sep 17, 2013 3:00 am

Pick up any of the Top Deck Skatalite productions. Trojan just released a nice, 2 CD set. You won't be disappointed! 8)
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Re: Ska recommendations

Postby davesjukebox » Tue Sep 17, 2013 3:15 am

Here are a few that may fit the bill...

Don Drummond - Smiling
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N71pMmLNp-Y

Roland Alphonso - The Cat
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZJFieDfrQU

Johnny Moore - Sudden Destruction
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ur-_k9TbEw4

A lot of these tunes have the same Skatalites musicians. I'll second the Top Deck recommendation!
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Re: Ska recommendations

Postby lankou » Tue Sep 17, 2013 10:27 am

Jazz Ska Attack, a comp of Don Drummond's instrumentals really does the works too.
Funnily enough, no one has ever released a proper extensive Baba Brooks anthology, same for Buster's All Stars (for Prince Buster produceded a whole lot of instrumentals in the vein you're after).
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Re: Ska recommendations

Postby jesperoots » Tue Sep 17, 2013 2:09 pm

Cant go wrong with this one:

Image
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Re: Ska recommendations

Postby Well Charge » Thu Sep 19, 2013 2:21 pm

Great album that, but there's only 2 1/2 ska tunes on there.
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Re: Ska recommendations

Postby Ranking Glasses » Sun Sep 22, 2013 12:16 pm

It's interesting that many of the ska recommendations are for instrumentals. As a child I remember my parents having stacks of ska 7"s and if I'd known the value of them back then, I wouldn't have used them as frisbees! The point though is that there were 95% vocals by some of the great artists like Prince Buster, Jackie Opel, Delroy Wilson, Justin Hinds, Derrick Morgan, etc. A particular favourite which was played at least half a dozen times at all of our house parties was "Independence Song" by Prince Buster. I suppose it was a song of hope for the older generation who had experienced colonialism first hand or may be it was just because it was a great tune: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NAaWoIBRG4g

Don't forget the vocals!
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Re: Ska recommendations

Postby SteveT » Mon Sep 23, 2013 11:09 am

I would highly recommend this if still available:

http://www.discogs.com/Various-Top-Deck ... se/1528295

Also theres great reissues from Studio One and King Edwards worth getting
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Re: Ska recommendations

Postby Mick Sleeper » Wed Sep 25, 2013 5:56 am

Ranking Glasses wrote:It's interesting that many of the ska recommendations are for instrumentals. Don't forget the vocals!

Although there are certainly some great ska vocals (Jackie Opel, Prince Buster, Jimmy Cliff, Owen Grey), quite often I find ska vocals pretty grating. Listening to someone sing a nursery rhyme or old gospel song with a ska riddim isn't my idea of fun. Or, even worse, having to endure the shrill, whiny voice of a female vocalist in a duet is torture.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9pbni9E4-o :shock:
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Re: Ska recommendations

Postby Ranking Glasses » Wed Sep 25, 2013 8:14 am

That's a bit harsh Mick! Although I know what you mean; "Housewife's Choice" by Derrick & Patsy is particularly annoying. There are some good vocals too though. I like Delroy Wilson's younger voice, e.g. "Sammy Dead" and Jackie Opel "Push Wood", etc. Many of the songs do sound a bit basic probably because they are taken from old folk / mento songs or are just light-hearted "fun" songs. The vocals and harmonies really came into their own in the later rocksteady period.
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Re: Ska recommendations

Postby Well Charge » Wed Sep 25, 2013 8:49 am

i would agree with the criticism of vocal ska, but then i do like The Wailers material.
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Re: Ska recommendations

Postby lankou » Wed Sep 25, 2013 4:31 pm

Some over-generalisations here. The output during the ska years was already huge.
There were a good number of sophisticated vocals, though some of them were sung by teenagers who were still developping their talents.
Don't tell me that ska vocals by people like Lord Tanamo, Eric Morris, Roy Panton, Justin Hinds & The Dominoes, The Maytals, The Wailers, even more so The Gaylads, Delroy Wilson, The Techniques, Alton & The Flames, Slim Smith, Stranger & Ken, and a a lot of lesser-known artists were more second-rate than those in the later stages of JA music. Just like in the later years, there were many moods, influences and varying degrees of vocal prowesses.
After all, not all rocksteady sounds as smooth as Treasure Isle's, not all roots reggae sounds as fine as The wAILING Souls' or the Mighty Diamonds', for instance.
Besides it all, i don't think that many better vocalists often graced JA sides than Jackie Opel, who, though not being Jamaican, was a huge vocal talent.
Of course, if you opt for grating vocals, like those of Patsy (early years) or, far worse, Millie Small. It has to be brought back into the originalcontext: they just took after the New Orleans r&b tradition and it was deemed as trendy and cool then. In any JA musical Stages, there are many songs that don't stand the test of time so well, and many others who do.
Let's not forget either that a lot of ska hits were actually instrumentals, not too surprising as they were mostly played by older, more proficient artists: musicians!
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Re: Ska recommendations

Postby Ranking Glasses » Thu Sep 26, 2013 12:54 pm

Well said Iankou.

Lord Creator who also wasn't Jamaican (from Trinidad) had a fantastic voice, "Don't Stay Out Late", etc., as did a Ken Boothe, Stranger Cole, etc. Yes, in many ways the musicians from those days were more capable because the Skatalites for example were in effect a Jazz band playing proper instruments and without a computer in sight!

One obvious thing which needs mentioning is that the frenetic pace of ska didn't lend itself to softly sung ballads! The music had to slow down for this to happen.
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