Saturday, July 24, 2004

A Message To You Rudy

  • Yesterday was a bittersweet day. On the one hand, I had a great time at my sister's fiancee's stag(well actually "gentlemen's" party yesterday); a lotta good Italian food, some poker and blackjack tables setup for those interested in playing[my bro' played and won almost $2oo bucks], a golf putting game, some lovely female hostesses selling raffle tickets for prizes at the end of the night, and an OPEN bar. Considering I don't play poker and I haven't played blackjack in ages, I decided upon the golf. There was a fee for each game and some of the money from the night would go to the groom. All for a good cause y'know. Anyway, my golf game sucked. And did I mention the lovely female hostesses? ;-) Hey, I even won one of the door prizes, albeit not the autographed Vince Carter basketball[with letter of authenticity] that I was hoping for. Oh well.

    On the other hand, I knew I'd be missing out on the Camera Obscura, Hidden Cameras, and Weakerthans shows that were all happening in Toronto yesterday. C'est la vie.

    Anyone interested in a ska revival? Ok maybe not, but revisiting those two-tone classics over the last couple of weeks or so have been awesome. I was never a fanatic about The Specials, The English Beat, Madness et al, and come to think of it my knowledge of those bands & such were pretty much limited to the 'hits'. The CD's below have been in high rotation in my car cd player, and make for some great summer music:

    Sound of Ska: 16 Black and White ClassicsVarious Artists - Sound of Ska: 16 Black and White Classics

    This is a budget priced CD which I picked up for about four bucks at Walmart a couple of years back. The only artists credited on the CD are Ranking Roger of The Beat, Pauline Black of The Selecter, and Bad Manners. I'm not sure why the bands themselves are not credited as the versions of such two-tone classics as "Mirror In The Bathroom" and "Hands Off She's Mine", for example, sound like they are the original English Beat versions. The two-tone ska medley at the beginning of the CD is also fun!

    International Beat - Dancehall RockersInternational Beat - Dancehall Rockers

    According to Ska-Online, International Beat were "formed in 1990 by ex-Beat members Everett Morgan and Saxa and featuring one time Ranking Roger as well at selected shows. Tony Beet is the guitarist/vocalist and songwriter for the band. They toured in the early 90's and also released a studio album called "The Hitting Line" (1991). Compilations of Studio tracks and live tracks are also released on CD." I've had this CD for a couple of years and it is also a budget priced CD I purchased for about five bucks at Walmart. It strays a litte from the ska formula, injecting a dance influence on tracks such as the remixed version of their cover of "I Fought The Law". On other tracks, such as the English Beat's "Hands off She's Mine", they stick closer to the traditional two-tone sound. Of note, is the great sax playing! The band carries on the great English Beat legacy and adds their own spin.

    The Specials - Too Much Too YoungSpecials, The - Too Much Too Young

    I recently purchased this budget-priced CD at Futureshop, and was quite impressed with it. It contains some singles like "A Message To You Rudy" and "Too Much To Young" but it's focus seems to be on album tracks such as the reggae-ish "Hey Little Rich Girl", the 50's-ish "Dawning of A New Era", the skanking "Enjoy Yourself", and the blistering "Do The Dog". Great companion to The Singles Collection, if you don't already own the individual albums.

    Nothing beats some two-tone ska on a beautiful summer day!

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