19: Ska


[AUDIO Missing, will hopefully find this file soon. – Tyler August 2016]


RUDE BOY! So, you can tell a lot about a person’s historical/musical acumen by what they think of Ska music. People who are…less informed… to put it nicely, dismiss it as a trend that captured the hearts and wallets of white kids across the continent in 1997. However, people who know what they’re talking about, like our beloved guest Jacob aka DJ Buttons, will tell you about its cross-cultural, historical, and of course geographical importance to the history of western culture. Yes, No Doubt and Reel Big Fish got famous for playing the style of music in the right place (Orange County) at the right time (mid to late 90’s), but we’re here today to talk about its root in time and place.

Jacob takes us on a journey back to the early 60’s in Kingston, as Jamaican Independence gives birth to the soundtrack to a burgeoning culture. We moved forward gracefully between the so-called Second and Third Waves, bringing you the hits (or should have been hits) by the likes of the Aquabats (more OC for you), The Planet Smashers (Montreal, QC), Straighter than Pete (Syracuse, NY) and Mustard Plug (Grand Rapids, MI). In retrospect, the Mustard Plug song we did play “Throw a Bomb” was much more punk with horns than Ska, but you can detect the Ska influence.  This, though, remains MP’s best song (I think) and one of the best singles to come out of that era:

Tyler also mentioned the Pietasters at one point, then ran out of time before being able to explain his affinity for the band. First of all, the Pietasters were really more of a neo-Northern Soul act with Ska roots, but considering how they were Washington, DC’s great hope in the late 90’s Ska boom, they are still known for that today. That’s a damn shame, though, because last time I checked, songs like “Rachel” owe much more to The Temptations than Desmond Dekker. But, it doesn’t matter. All you need to know is that their occasional hometown shows are a ridiculous, heavily intoxicated blast. Don’t miss the chance to see them play a Halloween show if you’re ever in DC around that time. You just might wind up running around on stage singing along with their frenetic cover of The Business’ “Drinking and Driving.”

Anyway, we hope you find this episode quite educational, and we hope it makes you move a little bit. Enjoy. It’s already on iTunes. PICKITUP!

Produced by Tyler S. for TDC Productions
Theme Song: “The Face of the Earth” by The Dismemberment Plan
Other Music Included:
Desmond Dekker – “Israelites”
The Skatalites – “Latin Goes Ska”
The Specials – “Ghost Town”
The Specials – “Concrete Jungle”
Operation Ivy – “Bankshot!”
The Aquabats! – “Martian Girl”
The Planet Smashers – “Life of the Party”
Straighter Than Pete – “The Hurt”
Mustard Plug – Throw a Bomb