May 2014 Rocket Ship Ska Trip Archives

5/1/2014 Rocket Ship Ska Trip

5/1 in a nutshell…

Frogzilla! 5 mighty Mutant Frogs skas made up the 5@5:05, including “Ska from Studio 5” and the bizarre “The Eye of Cyclophibius,” more “weirdsteady” than ska proper, but skankin’ nonetheless. The Specials kicked off May’s GotchaSKAvered Ska Cover-of-the-Month Club selection with the first of 5 “El Pussy Cats” which will eventually include the ’60s Roland Alphonso/Skatalites take, a cover of the original Mongo Santamaria jam … but only after we’ve been through Bad Manners, Sly & Robbie and a latter-day Skatalites re-do! Tune’s been around. Sherwood got his hands on Jah Wobble & the Modern Jazz Ensemble and played track 2… titled “9” oddly enough! Also heard: “Point Of View,” written for Fuji TV’s Ageru TV news show by Yasutaka Nakata and sung by adorable world-conquering cute queen Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. As far as we’re aware, this isn’t comparable to anything else in the world of TV news except in our wildest imaginings. Picture a hypothetical BBC News Hour theme being sung by Lily Allen and yer sort-of in the ballpark… except for the fact that the Kyary/Fuji thing is not hypothetical! This month’s calendar album tracks for May by Emil Richards and the psychedelically percussive Hal Blaine were “Emerald” and “Flower Society,” respectively. An “Emerald Flower Society,” anyone? Aah, the “Ooh” …including the opening “Rocket Ship” theme, the RSST blasted off with six Treasure Isle-label 45s in a row! I think we’ll make a regular first-hour opening feature out of this featured-record-label-set thingie. ‘Til next week, tune in and stay tuned!

5/8/2014 Rocket Ship Ska Trip

5/8 in a nutshell…

In 1964, the BBC unleashed This Is Ska on the world, a documentary considered in some circles to have been the Dance Craze of the original ska era. Watch, and you get step-by-step instructions for a variety of ska dance moves, as well as footage of enthusiastic clubbers ska-ing the night away at the Sombrero Club to a live performance of Byron Lee & the Dragonaires backing a who’s who of first-generation ska stars including Jimmy Cliff, the Blues Busters, Stranger Cole, Eric “Monty” Morris, Roy (Panton) & Yvonne (Harrison) and… the lone Prince Buster appearance, a buru/nyahbinghi-driven “Wash Wash” quite different from the official record release, making its RSST debut on this week’s show. Buster performed or produced over half the total back-catalogue of the original Blue Beat Records, our opening hour featured label this week and next. Hey, let’s skip over to the feature-rich Home Stretch. This month’s GotchaSKAvered selection, Mongo Santamaria’s “El Pussy Cat,” got the live Skatalites treatment down in Buenos Aires, Argentina, wound up on “In Orbit, vol. 1,” and made this week’s GotchaSKAvered installment. Theme of the 5@5:05 was Name That Ska… a buncha ska tunes with people’s names in the title. “Donatella,” “Jeanette,” “Cleopatra,” “Marcel Pierre,” and “Rosetta” were all at the party, but it doesn’t stop there… we had The Butlers and sequel band Lions Club (containing many of the same members) playing Dueling TV and Movie Themes, and who should turn up but “Perry Mason,” “Mary Tyler Moore,” “Magnum” (P.I.), “Charlie” (think “Angels”), “Inspector Gadget” (don’t know ‘is first name) and “Rocky” to deliver the KO! Now, the “Sherwood’s Planet” segment. Back-to-back horror soundtrack nuggets in the late going… Budy Maglione’s disco-fied “NYC Main Title” from Cannibal Ferox and the Tubby Hayes Quintet (as the “Biff Bailey Combo”) performing the announced “Ancient Voodoo Tune.” This was actually released as an extremely limited (666 copies!) vinyl 7” in ’09 on Trunk Records (on which the tune is identified simply as “Voodoo”), but we prefer the tune drenched in the sonically chaotic “supernaturally-besieged-nightclub” atmosphere you get with the actual movie (Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors) the tune originally appeared in. Also aliasing was Francis Bay (as “John Evans”) on the Directional Sound label with “Lisbon Antigua.” Well, more merry musical hi-jinks next week… tune in and stay tuned!

5/15/2014 Rocket Ship Ska Trip

5/15 in a nutshell…

This week on the “Ooh”… Blue Beat Records, Pt. 2, and bigger… a whopping 9 choice BB cuts, most of them Prince Buster-related, and including the first of three 45s the Prince made bearing the title “Big Fight.” Sherwood’s portion of this week’s playlist looks shorter than it really is ‘cuz of all the long tunes on it… stretchers by Quincy Jones, Steve Turre, Lee Morgan and Herbie Hancock, among others. GotchaSKAvered kicked off the Home Stretch with Bad Manners’ “El Pussycat,” a guy named Tenoshi mashed Edwin Starr’s “25 Miles,” fittingly enough, with Don Drummond’s “Man in the Street,” and that’s what we call walkin’! Five currently-active British bands delivered two apiece for a special 5×2@5:05, and The Miceteeth teamed up with Bonnie Pink to knock out a fine Pretenders cover, “Don’t Get Me Wrong.” So, don’t get us wrong… we’re perfectly capable of doing that ourselves! ‘Til next time, tune in… and stay tuned!

5/22/2014 Rocket Ship Ska Trip

5/22 in a nutshell…

The “Ooh” skipped the record-label feature this week because another idea hit us… let’s call it “Sea of Ska.” After The Melodians’ “Sweet Sensation,” this set started “On The Beach,” where Owen Gray grooves to the sounds of Studio 1 as selected by King Stitt, The Paragons have a ball at a party U-Roy also just happens to be at, and where Millie Small pitches some woo at “Poor Little Willie” down where the sea caresses the shore. Oh, but offshore, The Sensations see “War Boats” sailing… The action takes us from the “North Coast” to the “South China Sea” to “Montego Bay.” Could almost be part of the set-up for the next Godzilla movie. Btw, I strongly suspect Mothra’s gonna be in that one, as she gets name-dropped via marked masking tape on an old terrarium in the current Gareth Edwards monstravaganza,.. Anyway, Jack Walrath’s take of “Mothra vs. Godzilla,” from his Akira Ifukube-themed Godzilla Jazz, makes Sherwood’s Planet this week, sandwiched (as if it were possible to “sandwich” Mothra!) between Steve Turre and Señor Coconut. Also listen for a hat-trick’s worth of Les Baxter from Space Escapade. The Home Stretch opens with Sly & Robbie (and Mikey Chung) mouthing the horn parts on “El Pussy Cat Ska,” followed by a bit more nautically-themed tunage before the 5@5:05 (well, closer to 5:10) cover The Beatles in ska style, and The Majaicans and Gerhana Ska Cinta bring the sunshine as the morning sky brightens. Program note in print: RSST gets next week off to make room for 24 hours of “Turtle Island Voices Rising,” an entire Thursday’s worth of Native-themed programming. Now if only that turtle were named “Gamera”… well anyway, tune in and stay tuned!

5/29/2014 Rocket Ship Ska Trip

5/29 in a nutshell…
The RSST crew had the week off to make room for KFAI’s 2nd-annual “Turtle Island Voices Rising” 24-hourthon. Indigenous DJ Larry Knudsen, who kicked things off in the RSST timeslot last year, had the last two hours of the ‘thon this time around, and he was JAMMIN’!!! We’re back next week… tune in and stay tuned!