We broke format this week, as Caravan Palace (Cedar Cultural Center, Sat. 4/5) found their way onto the “Ooh” portion of our playlist, usually reserved for ska and rocksteady oldies of the ’60s and ’70s. We were also offering up free admission to the show as a pledge premium for our Spring 2014 fundraiser, along with Bim Skala Bim’s comeback release, Chet’s Last Call, from which we played “Summer Of Ska” and other tunes as pledge bait. But seriously, I wanna head down to the Cedar this Saturday and find the place packed to the gills… the Palace deserve it for being such a foremost exponent of the occasionally ska-influenced Django-Reinhardt-meets-Daft-Punk rhythmic stew known as Electro-Swing. Last time they played the Cedar, this DJ/bandmember was out of town on a gig and couldn’t go, so this time I ain’t missin’ it for the world, boss. Emil Richards got two of his calendar-album tracks aired in the Voov, “Diamond (April)” and “Emerald (May)” from Stones, and with that Sherwood took his “Planet” globetrotting all over the place: Korea (Ga-In), Japan (Unchain, Melting Holidays), Sweden (Little Dragon featuring Yukimi Nagano), and France (had to get some Caravan Palace into the mix). The Home Stretch introduced “Ball of Fire” as the GotchaSKAvered Ska Cover-of-the-Month Club selection for April, leading off with the Ernest Ranglin version from Below the Bassline. Keep in mind that every version of this tune you’ll hear this (or any) month is a cover of British TV’s “Echo 4-2” theme, but to the best of my knowledge. the only ska band calling it “Echo 4-2” has been Bad Manners. Which leads us to…. the 5@5:05. Last Friday, RSST essentially filled in for a vacationing Simon on KFAI’s True Brit and put on… The Great British Skaaaaaaa!!! Wanting to continue that business here, but with bands we didn’t play last Friday, the result was… The Meow Meows, The Delegators, Phoenix City All Stars, The Dualers, and King Porter Stomp. And from there, it was a hop, skip and a jump to The End. Next week, Spring 2014 pledge drive RSST week 2! Tune in and stay tuned!
Gotta play catchup, because we mustard… and we’ll work backwards from the Home Stretch.
This was the spring pledge drive show week 1, as evidenced by the premature appearance of “The Night Sky’s Turning Blue” and an interrupted, higglety-pigglety 5@5:05 that was eastern-US-themed from the looks of it. “Ball Of Fire,” our GotchaSKAvered selection this month, reverted to its original “Echo 4-2” title, as played by Bad Manners. Sherwood rediscovered Chrominance Decoder, an old April March album he used to play every March… and April. Here the title track is sandwiched between choice cuts by vibists Victor Feldman and Milt Jackson. A well-rounded Opening Oldies Hour includes, among other things, guitar ace Ernest Ranglin ska-ing up the Von Trapps! The hills are alive indeed… with deer, drops of golden sun, and Mi, all skankin’ to the beat. Join us, won’t you?
Happy eclipse, skassengers! To celebrate, the Home Stretch’s 5@5:05 expanded to 7… seven choice cuts from the late, great Moon Ska label, that is, including two from Moon founder Rob “Bucket” Hingley’s band The Toasters. In the GotchaSKAverred, Jazz Jamaica All Stars sent this week’s “Ball of Fire” plummeting through the atmosphere. Working our way back through Sherwood’s Planet, Margot Blanche, who would’ve sounded fabulous out in front of any of Duke Ellington’s legendary orchestras, entirely has her way and the highway with Duke’s “The Mooche,” reinventing it as “Material Love” in the process. A highlight among many in the Ooh (Opening Oldies Hour), meanwhile, would be Hybrid Kid Morgan Fisher’s 2Tone-ization of MacArthur Park… released, incidentally, in January of ’79… half a year before the actual July launch of 2Tone! “MacArthur” follows the Specials’ stompin’ Peel Session take of “Stereotype.” Earlier, we had the Martian Giants of Navarone (Colonel Elliott mixed into The Skatalites) and a slow, mellow ska-steady boogie-jazz number called “Soul Junction” by The Soul Vendors. That’s the way it was…
As far as we know, the first cover of “Echo 4-2” to fly under the name “Ball Of Fire” was the one The Skatalites cut back in the mid ’60s, and that’s the one which wraps up our month-long GotchaSKAvered tribute to the Laurie Johnson composition this week. As we noted back in July 2012, “As ‘Ball of Fire’, the Echo 4-2 theme got the Skatalites treatment, and the Laurie Johnson -penned TV tune’s been leading a double life ever since!” An all-local 5@5:05 set not involving Mutant Frogs didn’t quite happen; it got interrupted by “Agave Dub” when we couldn’t locate The Jinkies in time and decided to go live on-mic, complete with Froggie bumper. Working back, Sherwood had the Voovie Doo jumpin’ with the sounds of Billy Strange (“I Spy”), Tadd Dameron (“Casbah,” on “Out Of Nowhere” changes), and Masaru Sato (“Godzilla vs. Anguiras,” from Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla) …and chillin’ with more sounds from the likes of Art Of Noise (“Eye of a Needle”), Haruomi Hosono (the “Galaga” video game theme) and Claus Ogerman (“Tequila” set to some really wigged-out changes). Warming up in the “Ooh” are Derrick (“Derriiiiick!!”) Morgan, The Blues Busters and… Claude Gray? Yep… and he’ll just have a cup of coffee, then he’ll go. Pretty much like young Robert Marley, who covered Gray’s caffeinated lament for Leslie Kong down at Beverley’s. Welp, gotta go… ‘cuz I’ve had some coffee! Tune in and stay tuned.
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