August 2013 Rocket Ship Ska Trip Archives

8/1 in a nutshell…

The Dreamlets really had their way with their Boy Lollipop, recording the song in both English and Japanese, and in ska and rocksteady. This week, GotchaSKAvered brings us their ska version in English to kick off The Home Stretch. And speaking of English, Judge Dread, the Hotknives, Roy “Symarip” Ellis, Dionne Bromfield and Prince Buster figured in a UK-but not 2Tone 5@5:05. Prince Buster? Yup, it’s a side (“Wash Wash”) that the Jamaican legend cut in London with the Les Dawson Combo featuring a certain Georgie Fame on keys and produced by Blue Beat co-founder Siggy Jackson, who would go on to produce Blue Rivers & the Maroons. Between the Lollie-of-the-week and the “5”, The Miceteeth played “Them”, which was not a cover of the theme from the late ’50s giant-ants movie, but nevertheless way cool. Backing up into Sherwood’s Planet (watta collision!), Mr. Funn was dropping various works by Ken Nordine, YMCK, Teebs, and the Emil Richards August calendar track “Sardonyx” into his mix. Ooh, and was that a pair of ska oldies by suit & tie guys the Brooks Brothers? No, it was a pair of ska oldies from Jamaican ska duo The Brooks Brothers! We also heard an impossibly rare Ken Richards instrumental (he’s usually known as a singer), another instro rarity by Osbert Graham & the WIRL Orchestra, and a Ben Levy vocal number bearing the unmistakable rhythmic stamp of the recently-late Skatalites drummer Lloyd Knibb. That’s your RSST recap for 8/1… tune in and stay tuned!

8/8 in a nutshell…

Wow, we’ve got to start our spiel in the Home Stretch again, ‘cuz conspicuous by its absence this week is the 5@5:05… you know what that means, right, skassengers? That’s right, watch this space next week for TEN of something-in-a-row! In GotchaSKAvered action, The Dreamlets were once again responsible for this week’s Lollipop, but this time in their native Japanese. Now, how best to describe Mrs. Skannotto? Imagine the Mighty Mighty Bosstones at their boss-est, allowing more of the influence of jazz to infuse itself into their writing and arranging. The evidence? Songs like “Wage War”, for starters. You can hear it in the archive after The Selecter’s “Cool Blue Lady” (“The Selecter are coming to the Cedar on Sept. Friday the 13th! WHO SAYS Friday the 13th is unlucky???” …d.j. cozy little). We also heard another coming-to-towner, the mighty Jimmy Cliff, acoustically at the KCRW session, doing his current hit “One More”. He’ll be bringing it!!! to First Avenue Thursday Sept. 19. In the “Voov”, Sherwood sure loves pourin’ those doubles. Jimmy Giuffre, Duke Ellington, Les Baxter, Sun Ra and Señor Coconut all got two spins apiece, as did the song “Mangos”, in which the Frank Comstock Orchestra backed Rosemary Clooney, and the Saito Neko Orchestra backed Shiina Ringo in a retitled “Papaya Mango”. And, “Ooh”, look way up at the top of the playlist… Cozy ‘n’ the Cap’n poured a Carlos Malcolm double! Now just to remind you of next week again, there WILL BE a 10@5:05… tune in, and stay tuned!

8/15 in a nutshell…

In light of the upcoming Como Park Lantern Lighting Festival this Sunday, the RSST Crew this week conspired to salute Japan… even in the “Ooh”, despite there being precious little ska music from ’60s Japan. All the examples we’re aware of are versions of “My Boy Lollipop”, covered in the Opening Oldies Hour by Mie Nakao. A more recent rocksteady take by The Dreamlets gets the Home Stretch off to a mellow start. Anyway, the Ooh kicked off to the tune of Lloyd Clarke singing “Japanese Girl”, followed by “Ringo Oiwake”, not once but twice, The Skatalites and their sequel Studio 1 in-house band band Soul Bros. being the responsible parties. The “Lost Ska Decade” is represented by a pair of mid-‘70s pre-YMO Haruomi Hosono efforts, Tin Pan Alley’s presciently-titled “Yellow Magic Carnival” and Bon Voyage Co.‘s “Exotica Lullaby (Ska Beguine)”. In the Voovie Doo, Sherwood got in a third “Ringo Oiwake”, this one by Arthur Lyman, before taking us into the heart of that big round red sun with YMCK, Serani Poji and the legendary Yellow Magic Orchestra themselves. Yasutaka Nakata brings us both Capsule and Perfume, and Shiina Ringo sang “Kuki” just prior to our being serenaded by those legendary Mothra Twins The Peanuts, singing Yuji Koseki’s “Mothra” end title (not the far-more-widely-known “Mo-Su-Raaaaaaaaa-Ya!” that helped make them famous worldwide). The Home Stretch brought us the last-week-promised 10@5:05… ten dudes in a row vocalizing everything from sparse shouts and chikitup-ing to full-blown singing… everything from Kagoshima’s ARTS (“Authentic Rocksteady Traditional Ska” in case you wondered) to TSPO to Boston’s Pressure Cooker. Boston, you ask? Well, it just so happens the the mighty Cooker are headed up by one Craig Akira Fujita, heard in fine form on “Holly-O”. As I type this up, I’m learning just now that Craig and company busted out “There You Go”, new as of last October, and THAT’S great news to these ears. I’ll try to get some of that on this air before too long… tune in and stay tuned!

8/22 in a nutshell…

Wow… I skipped over one of my summary spiels… this one! Well, at this late date of 9/17, let’s do the best we can. “40 Miles of Bad Road” kicked off the “Ooh” in a Lyn Taitt & Baba Brooks style, but the credit on the 45 label (Treasure Isle, btw) doesn’t mention the wild, Krupa-esque drum fill intro that Arkland “Drumbago” Parks rips this jam open with! Gotta do a tribute to that guy one of these weeks… and “Bad Road” (and “Duck Soup”) will be on it! We’ll also one day run a set of the best of the drum-machine overdubs Coxsone recorded over old ska and rocksteady tracks, and another cut we played, Ken Boothe’s “Give Me Back My Heart”, just could be the star attraction of that set. Truth be told, not all of these overdubs worked… just listen to the Soul Bros.’ “Ska-Au-Go-Go” sometime to hear what I mean. But when they were good, they were REALLY good! But enough future-programming teases… what else did we hear HERE? Here’s what… Filipinos Put3Ska were responsible for this week’s Lollipop, local ska mede up the 5@5:05, I’ve blanked on exactly which Froggie bumper I used afterwards, Freddie Notes fronted the Phoenix City All Stars on a Stones cover, Sherwood’s Planet found Shiina Ringo guesting on new tracks by Towa Tei (ex-Dee-Lite) and the mighty Soil & “Pimp” Sessions. Oh, and Claude Gray made his RSST debut with a song that would soon by covered by a young, pre-Wailers Robert Marley. Something about coffee, I believe. Wake up, tune in and stay tuned!

8/29 in a nutshell…

When we overcome, you’ll want to come over! Don’t take my word for it, just listen to Stranger Cole, whose familiarly-titled-but different song gets the “Ooh” off to a consciousness-raising hat-trick headstart this week, with Bob Marley’s “Judge Not” and The Sensations’ “War Boats” completing the 3, encouraging you to think while you skank. Three songs later, Bunny Wailer puts the icing on the cake (or is it Joe’s snow cone?) with “Let Him Go” and off we go, across space, to Sherwood’s Planet, where Mr. Funn pops the cork on two finely-aged, largely instro oldies by Los Destellos, whose ’70s work resurfaced in 2011 thanks to the “Constelacion” LP reissue put out by the fine folks at Secret Stash. Later on, Teebs takes one statement and spreads it out over the titles of Ardour’s first two cuts: 1.) “You’ve Changed” > 2.) “My Whole Life”. Mmmm… spacey! Recapping the Home Stretch, Vikingarna leads off with a rare instro “Lollipop”, we’ve got a Euro 5@5:05 (the continent, not the currency) and, just to hype The Selecter’s upcoming Fri. 9/13 performance at the Cedar, two stellar cuts from their 2013 release String Theory …indeed two standout tracks, “Secret Love” and “Doors Always Open” …from an album made entirely out of standouts, and we’ll be exploring more of this “Theory” in the coming weeks, we promise! Tune in and stay tuned.