December 2012 Rocket Ship Ska Trip Archives

12/6 in a nutshell…

Who but Sherwood B. Funn would’ve thought to work The Special AKA into a tribute to the newly late Dave Brubeck? Well, seeing as Jerry Dammers and the crew did record their “War Crimes” in 5/4 time, it might make sense to a handful of other DJs out there… way out there. In fact, Sherwood’s Planet was in various fractured meters more often than not this week, and Brubeck collaborator Paul Desmond’s “Take Five” was heard in 4 different meters… three in the Thelonious Moog version alone! Shiina Ringo stayed in waltz time for her two numbers, as she has yet to record in the higher odd meters… to the best of my knowledge! Dave himself played in ‘4’ on “Cassandra” and on his spoken-word Octet treatment of “How High the Moon”. Before the GotchaSKAvered (“Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” this month), the Home Stretch even got in on the Brubeck tribute, with 5/4 ska by Blue Beat Players and our own Mutant Frogs. Btw, “Ob-La-Di”? It’s by The Skeatles this week. Misinformation of the week: our spiel about “Coxsone” the racehorse! We got Mr. Dodd mixed up with Eek-A-Mouse somehow. Nope, Clement Dodd actually acquired his famous nickname from cricket star Alec Coxon, which spelling winds up on some of the Coxsone record labels under the Studio 1 umbrella. Anyhoo, Coxsone Records 45s make up the entirety 5@5:05 this week. Look for what could loosely be described as an extended Unicorn-era set in the run-up to the Morning Blend, and on the other end of the RSST, a short Beatles covers set kicks off the “Ooh”… and that’s the long and short of it. Tune in… and Stay Tuned.

12/13 in a nutshell…

GotchaSKAvered, December, week 2: “Obla Di, Obla Da” New York Ska-Jazz style, from NYSJE’s Skaleidoscope, kicking off the Home Stretch. What an Ensemble! Tsuyoshi Kawakami was the featured artist on the first-ever 5:05 5(+1)-in-a-row, both as bassist with Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra and fronting his other band the Moodmakers, alternating tracks ‘til each band has played three apiece. Back in Tink’s neck of the woods, the psychedelically percussive Hal Blaine’s December tune is “Love-In”, Thelonious Moog served up the good, the bad, and Frank Zappa, and doubles were poured for Les Baxter, Stan Kenton and Andre Popp. Back in the “Ooh” there was no running or recurring theme other than cool times and hot ska classics, so tune in… and stay tuned!

12/20 in a nutshell…

The Rocket Ship so big we had to start it at midnight! Well, actually the real story is Angie (“In Your Ear”) Pykonen had obligations away from the KFAI mic, I offered to fill in, and Angie called it live on the air on 12/13: Next week would be a whopping 6-hour Rocket Ship Ska Trip! Pleased as punch, we, the RSST crew, spent the whole week inbetween throwing the whole glorious mess together and came up with everything from schoolkids with cannibalistic designs on Santa Claus (“Candy Man”, not the Sammy D. Jr. hit!) to Dec. 25th birthday boy, Kenton alum and bandleader in his own right Pete Rugolo (both Percussion and Brass At Work) to The Ventures’ “Scrooge” (NOT on the original vinyl Ventures Christmas Album, it’s an original by the band and a cd bonus cut) to The Dualers’ fantastic “Jack Frost” and “Miss Santa Claus” and some outfit I discovered during the show called the Ska Santas! Non-Christmas-related highlights included “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La Da” Prince Buster style, an un-“bumpered” batch of Mutant Frogs goodies AND the final mix I busted at the now late, lamented King & I Thai restaurant, bar and dj venue_ a mix of The Kinks, Madness, Gichy Dan’s Beachwood #9, Bad Manners, Fun Boy Three and Dr. Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band that I later replicated and burned at home just so KFAI could air it! (Archive listeners take note: this 20min. mix exists on the “In Your Ear” page for the next two weeks). Now, it pleases me no end that the audio archive engineers HAVE RESCUED the 4: to 6: hours of this show… THANK YOU!!! :) :) :^)

12/27 in a nutshell…

If you can, just skip past the first 1:48 after the “Rocket Ship” theme. While at home crafting the successful mix which follows, my first attempt was foreshortened when I noticed my levels were completely redding out on me… I just had to fade and start over! The mix itself is one you’ve heard here before: Tracey Dey into Ria Bartok into Don Drummond. What I didn’t know before this week is “Ska Doo-Dee-Yah” (original Tracey Dey version) actually went top-20 in Sydney, Australia, and was generally a fairly sizable hit down under! “Zu Schade” is, of course, Ria Bartok’s quite successful German cover of “Ska Doo” while Don Drummond rounds out the mix with “Smiling”, backed quite ferociously by a very enthusiastic Skatalites being driven hard by the late great Lloyd Knibb pounding out that Buru beat. Another Drummond classic, the unusual “Apanga”, is a ska without the identifying upbeat “ska” clip, and it rounds out this week’s “Ooh” as the Rocket Ship docks with the Voovie Doo Lounge orbiting Sherwood’s Planet. Speaking of Mr. Funn, he was pouring doubles all the way (except for singular Froggie bumpers on the breaks). A low-res “Obladi” by Italians I Ribelli was the GotchaSKAvered this week, and heads-up: in the new year we bring back Lollipops-of-the-Week… we’ve got a certifiable year’s worth of ‘em! The 5@5:05 was a Ska/Jazz set of instros, and cumbia outfit Ondotropica led us into the closing moments this week with “Ska Fuentes”_ one of many skas the good Dr. Strangedub (Echo Chamber) wil be feeding us in the coming weeks. Now, this “Tune In… and Stay Tuned” business I promised to explain “next week” some weeks back (sorry about the delay!)… it’s simple. “Tune In…” was the title of a Skalatones album, and “Stay Tuned” was the title of a Let’s Go Bowling album. I’ll play a personal fave from each release next week during the last half-hour of the Home Stretch. Tune in… and Stay Tuned.