This description is gonna start from the middle and work its way out, ‘cuz wheeeeee, your weird uncle Sherwood’s been waitin’ a l-o-o-o-o-n-g time to get his hands on this…Tokyo Jihen, minus the voice of Shiina Ringo, and augmented by flute, vibes, and full-on hard-driving Brazilian carnaval samba rhythm, tearing through “Tengoku e Youkoso” (Tokyo Bay version) like the whole darn graveyard just woke up and took after ‘em! (“Tengoku… “ of course is Jihen and Countess Ringula’s vampire-themed Halloween staple we like to break out every year). Moving forward, Ringo herself chimes in two songs later with Sanmon Gossip’s big-band tour-de-force “Tsugou no ii Karada”. Stepping back, we had a space-themed set, pouring doubles by Frank Comstock, Russ Garcia and Les Baxter. Leaping into the Home Stretch, Amy Winehouse’s goddaughter Dionne Bromfield sang the Lollipop this week, the 5@5:05 all came from Ska’s Lost Decade, and Giuliano Palma & the Bluebeaters (might as well) “Jump”-ed. Oh, the “Ooh”! The mysterious Tammy (Who?) did a certain Byron Lee cover made famous among beach-movie fans by Annette (no “who?” necessary here!) Among other goodies, the Soul Bros. went “Searching for Weapons” and a young pre-Wailers Robert Marley had “One Cup of Coffee” …and I’m gonna go have some tea. Tune in, and stay tuned!
The Byron Lee/Danny Davis “Ska Dee Wah” MGM 45 is exactly the same cut as the “Ska-de-Wah” you hear on Lee’s Dance The Ska album… the only difference being full accreditation, including listing one Billy Mure as the composer/arranger! It’s sandwiched between the Dragonaire-backed “Soon You’ll Be Gone” (The Blues Busters) and “Hold Me” (Stranger & Patsy), both Kentone 45s on this week’s “Ooh”. Later on, listen just before Sherwood’s Planet for the really cool Grape 45, “Babylon” by Freddie Notes & the Rudies. Sherwood commenced the weekly orbit of his Planet with somebody named DJ Me DJ You with a spacey track called “Spa” and remember, spassengers, er, skassengers… “spa” is 3/5ths of “space” (har-dee-har-har!)… Besides that, everybody from Fred Katz to Caravan Palace to Walter Wanderley wound up on Sherwood’s playlist this week, so enjoy the ride! Howzabout a lollie, Pop? Nikesha Lindo, who calls reggae legend Willie Lindo daddy, has GotchaSKAvered this week. Bands with acronyms for names, including MFSB (but not thatMFSB) made up the 5(+1)@5:05, and a band called Viking’s Remedy sang about a certain “Mrs. Weed” …and unless I’m sorely mistaken, I believe that would be Mrs. Mary Jane Weed! If you’re her hub, this one’s for you. ‘Til next time, tune in… and stay tuned!
So, back in 1970, The Upsetters decide to hide one of their choice covers, Blood Sweat & Tears’ “Spinning Wheel”, from the global intellectual property mafia of the time, such as it was, by re-titling their version “Land of Kinks” …so what else do they do but put the thing out on a freakin’ label called “Spinning Wheel”!!! That’s called moxie, skassengers. That tune and more, including two by coming-to-towners The English Beat (Cabooze, Sun. 12/1) in this week’s “Ooh”. Next order of business: Sherwood’s heroine (and ours) Shiina Ringo marks the 15th year of her professional career this year, and hits big 3-5 herself on 11/25, as Mr. Funn announces over “Happy Birthday Ska” as done up by Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra. We get Shiina Ringo with Saito Neko, Shiina Ringo solo, Shiina Ringo with Tokyo Jihen, and something we’ve been hoping for a long time would come to pass… Shiina Ringo/Yasutaka Nakata (Mr. Capsule, Mr. Perfume, etc.) …and their new collab “Netsuai Hakkakuchu” closes out Sherwood’s Planet this week. We ain’t quite through with the Ringonalia just yet, though… you also get Ringrolled in the Home Stretch by the aforementioned Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra with SR out front doing “Mayonaka wa Junketsu” …but not before you’ve (hopefully) sung along to the 8-bit “Lollipop” (“Lollichip?”) arranged karaoke-style (meaning no melody; you sing that part) by one Remi Vicious. Given the full-tilt Shiina fever Sherwood’s Planet was in the grips of, it seemed natural to trot out another all-Japanese 5@5:05 (though coming as it did hot on the heels of the Ringroll, we’ll excuse you for thinking of it as a 5(+1)@5:05! Later on, we had two cuts from little-known (in the States, anyway) Selecter albums Cruel Britannia and Real to Reel, and we land the Ship right next to the Morning Blend timeslot with hometown heroes The Prizefighters,double-billing with the Black Market Brass (somebody other than the ‘Fighters got the gig… ) at the Nomad Sat. 11/30. Next week: Ringonalia Pt. 2, so tune in… and stay tuned!
Happy Skanksgiving and Gobble Gobble! The RSST Turkey Day Edition opened the “Ooh” with a set of food, drink, ‘n’ good-company-related oldies from down Yard way, including Bunny & Skitter’s timeless drunk-driving warning to “Mr. Chauffeur” that needs to be heeded whether or not it’s holiday season. By the time the Captain had “Chauffeured” us across space to Sherwood’s Planet, Mr. Funn had “Happy Big 3-5 Shiina Ringo, Pt. 2” waiting in the wings… but first, those wings! They included the infectious “Tak Boom” from Uzbekistan’s Yulduz Usmanova, as well as “Summer Sun”, Yukimi Nagano’s warm antidote to brain-numbing nighttime winter chill, found on Koop.‘s debut Waltz for Koop.Anna Calvi was also in the mix. Instrumentalists in the warm-up set included George Russell, Gary McFarland and The Raybeats. After the back-announce, it was Shiina time big-time! So, “where’s heaven?” as “Tengoku e Youkoso’s” official English song-title asks?… If you believe SR’s currently-disbanded Tokyo Jihen bandmates, it’s either in Tokyo Bay (in the parenthetically-titled “Tokyo Bay Version” heard here) or on the streets of Rio during Carnaval, if you go by the explosive samba groove that propels this jazzy arrangement straight into orbit. Waitaminnit: ORBIT… that’s a third possibility! This week, we also find Ringo in the company of her longtime orchestrator Saito Neko, glossy funk/fusioneers Tomita Lab, Takayuki Hattori & his orchestra (and being remixed by a certain Kobori to boot), and Soil & “Pimp” Sessions. By the time Sherwood was through, the Home Stretch was running 10 minutes late! Aaahhh, the Home Stretch… it was Laura Lee’s “Lollipop” this week, and at 5:05 we had ska (or at least ska-influenced) tunes by five Japanese outfits not known for their ska, including (Ringroll!) the Jihen version of “Mayonaka”, from the live Electric Mole dvd, plus a pre-Yasutaka Nakata Perfume, whose bouncy, steel-drum-happy tech-tone stomper “Kareshi Boshuu Chuu” was one of their first singles distributed only in and around the girls’ hometown of Hiroshima (and these days worldwide on the Web). We topped off the show with a set of 3 different funk outfits doing ska: Brick (the term “funksteady” popped into my mind when I first heard “Happy”), Captain Funk and Brooklyn Funk Essentials. Funk in and stay funked!
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