The GotchaSKAvered Ska Cover-of-the-Month Club Selection for October is Latin Goes Ska, which started out life in Mexico as “Pachito E Che”, a massive tune in the late ’40s for Perez Prado and Beny More, Cubans living in Mexico City at the time. It was The Skatalites in 1964 who cut the first ska version, retitling it “Latin Goes Ska”, and The Skatalites again who played the live version we hear here, from the expansive “Stretching Out” early ’80s reunion sessions on ROIR, the first version this dj ever heard. The 5@5 featured Beatles covers a la ska (but not frozen!), which was followed up with goodies from The Slackers, The Selecter, Proyecto Secreto and Runa Miyoshida from her Ska Flavor series of cd releases. Sherwood aired Hal Blaine’s psychedelically percussive October cut, “Inner Space” before unleashing the delightful Copter4016882 to flit around under the Starview Dome, mingling with floating skassengers, and if you looked thru the dome, you could see Capsule’s “Space Station no.9” whizzing by. Also in the house: YMCK, sandwiched between Cal Tjader and Tito Puente on the playlist! Ooooh, and in the “Ooh”, the Cap’n & Cozy featured a fabulous mix of original ska, rocksteady, 2Tone-era and lost-decade stuff. Jackie Opel, Byron Lee, The Renegades, Prince Buster and Plastic Bertrand (on a Buster riddim!) made an appearance. Ooooh!
Working our way back from the Home Stretch again, GotchaSKAvered featured another live Skatalites take of Latin Goes Ska (“Pachito E Che”)… this time from the Teatro Armenio in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from the concert that became “In Orbit vol. 1” as released by Grover. The 5@5:05 (these things tend to kick off at 5 past, so I’m just gonna run with it) was all about the ska puns_ from Skaravan Petrol to Skaramouche and beyond, “ska” finds itself part of a larger word in these song titles, most of which come from the original Jamaican ska era (the odd one out in that regard being “Skaravan Petrol” by Giuliano Palma’s pre-Bluebeaters outfit Casino Royale. Also heard: original-era ska dude Jimmy Cliff’s alt take of his new 21st-century ska classic “One More”, sandwiched between The Slackers and TSPO. Sherwood could be heard relaxin’ with some epic-lengthers (Herbie Hancock’s “Butterfly” clocking in at 11:16, f’rinstance) after trying out his Finnish-made rocket-powered surfboard… what a blast that was, to the tune of Rocket Motors’ “Man High”! Cozy & the Cap’n launched the “Ooh” with a typically splendiferous set of old-school ska’n‘bluebeat, from both inside and outside a’ Yard. Boogie!
Starting again in the Home Stretch, our old friend Pachito (“Latin Goes Ska”) followed The Skatalites into the studio for the Island Jamaica Jazz remake that turns up on the Ball of Fire cd. That kicks off an all-Island Jamaica Jazz-label set that took us up to just past 5, in time for an unusual 5@5:05… late-period 2Tone-label punk funk, rap and disco featuring The Apollinaires, The Higsons, Special AKA with Rhoda Dakar, The Friday Club and some outfit called JB’s Allstars! (Actually, that’s drummer John Bradbury after stepping out from The Specials.) A good wacky vibe took over in the runup to 6am… songs like “Kid-Nap, the Dreamer”, “One-Eyed Lodger” and “The Nurse” figure into the mix. Sherwood peppered his middle segment with a few recent Latin big-band stretch-outs including Clare Fischer’s 9:40 orchestration of Cal Tjader’s “Guarabe”, and this week’s Planet opened and closed with a dose of Shiina Ringo. Are you feelin’ a change in the air? The “Ooh” featured back-to-back Jamaica Skas. What more could you ask? Glad you asked. Howzabout Buster’s All Stars and all their Mules? I count at least eight… enough to make a train!
Thought I’d point you all right in the direction off the “Ooh” first this week, just because that mix of the Peel session into the single release of The English Beat’s “Ranking Full Stop” came out soooo perfect! You’ll find it sandwiched between The Specials and Morgan (“The Hoople”) Fisher (I’ll be playing that Hybrid-ized take of “MacArthur Park” ‘til I die.) Other “Ooh” highlights included advance Skalloween pick “Hard Man fe Dead” by Prince Buster and my current fave Blues Blasters cut “Marjie”. Sherwood featured selections from a recent expedition to Hymie’s Records, including two completely different tunes identified as “La Bomba” (played by Joe Loco and Arthur Lyman, respectively), one of which is in fact “La Bamba”! Other choice cuts from the trip included goodies by the Sauter-Finegan Orchestra featuring jazz poet Ruth Yorke,Woody Herman, and the Red Dougherty Sextet featuring Eddie Tolck on vibes, sounding very much to these delighted ears like the aforementioned late, great Mr. Lyman gone trad jazz. Shiina Ringo warned us again this week that “rain’s a-comin’ down, rain’s a-comin’ down” and, sure enough, I took my bike ride home after the show in a steady light drizzle. The Skatalites gotchaSKAvered (fourth week in a row… a show record!), this time with their ’64 Treasure Isle-label cover of “Pachito E Che” a.k.a. “Latin Goes Ska”, kicking off a late-starting Home Stretch. “Skalitics” was the order of the day on the 5@5:05, and topics ranging from faux news, war, hunger and gender equality, to the ugly truth about Columbus were touched on in the song selection. You’ll want to catch this election-season commemorative set on the archives, where everything originating from KFAI’s air studio exists for 2 weeks from date of broadcast. There’s more Skalloween-type stuff in this week’s Home Stretch as well… eeeeeeeeeek!