On the first RSST of July of last year, we declared July “Space Month” and we haven’t forgotten! In “Everybody Ska,” Minister of Science and Space Exploration Prince Buster conducts an EVA from Tommy McCook’s famed Rocket Ship to the lunar north pole, where he finds… you guessed it, Ska On Top of the Moon! After the hat-trick of “Earth Man,” Leave Earth,” and “Man Is Going to Leave Earth,” Martian giants (and their guns!), time machines, Telstar, stardust, a bad moon, and, of course, ganja, all find their way into the “Ooh” mix this week. When Sherwood takes over, things get even further out, with Ga-In’s “Tinkerbell” (remember, she’s real and she’s a 3-way intergalactic traffic collision!), Emil Richards’ fortuitously-titled July calendar-album track “Ruby” (listen for the ramblings of a certain Galactic Gumshoe, a good one, mixed in with this choice cut) and Mutant Frogs’ own “Jungles of the Galaxy,” in addition to “Flying Saucers,” a “Space Moth” and the always-welcome “Little City in Space.” The spaceyness continues into the Home Stretch with a “Marvelous Trip to the Planets,” Roy Ellis on the Moon, and oddly enough, a 5@5:05 that have fiddly-all to do with space… and that’s ALL they have in common! But fear not, there’s more cosmic skankin’ to be done next week, so tune in,,, and stay tuned!
It’s Space Month, week 2! In the era of NASA’s Project Mercury, the US space effort was being followed worldwide, including in the newly-independent island nation of Jamaica. There, drummer Lloyd Knibb, one of the inventors of a brand-new rhythmic style called Ska, was inspired to suggest “The Satellites” as the name of what would become the island’s premier orchestra performing this music. Tenor saxophonist Tommy McCook, pointing out that the band played Ska, modified “Satellites” into “Skatalites.” The name stuck, and the rest is history. The “Ooh” celebrates this mighty outfit with live early-‘80s reunion performances from Kingston’s Blue Monk Jazz Gallery before taking us back to the classic Studio One era with a couple of great Don Drummond trombone cuts and songs by a who’s who of singers the Skatalites, and their sequel band the Soul Brothers, backed on record. Our opening segment winds up with a track from McCook’s Treasure Isle band The Supersonics, contemporaries of the Soul Brothers. Our middle segment finds Sherwood B. Funn continuing the spacey mood with the sounds of Sun Ra, Attilio “Art” Mineo, Russ Garcia and other cosmically-minded artists, including Shiina Ringo with “Carnation,” the clearly Star Trek-inspired video for which has been highly-praised in past RSST Nutshells. The Home Stretch forgoes a GotchaSKAvered selection… in part because we’ve already featured “Ball of Fire” (Ernest Ranglin’s version gets excerpted just before “The End” this week), but also because we wanted to try to play a start-to-finish (aero-) space-themed Home Stretch… and we damn near pulled it off! Even Umbrella Bed’s “I Remember You” came from an album called One Small Skank For Man… but you’ll have to use a little imagination on the second Tokyo Ska number “Film-makers Bleed.” Let’s try it. Hmmmm… howzabout “(Sci-fi) Film-makers Bleed (Green)”… Next week: The Moon! Tune in… and Stay Tuned!
Space Month,week 3, and we cut straight to the Home Stretch in this week’s Nutshell. By way of celebrating the 45th anniversary of Neil Armstrong’s moonwalk (a.k.a. One Giant Leap for Mankind, and yeah, the Apollonauts even beat MJ to the Moon!) we took up most of the Stretch with an extended salute to… Moon Ska Records! Of course, we threw in non-Moon artists The Liptones’ actual song “Moon Ska,” but for the most part we stuck strictly to Moon (and subsidiary Ska Satellite) Records, complete with the ’97 edition of The Supersonics’ salute to The Toasters, followed up by the actual band of the same name led by Moon Ska founder Rob “Bucket” Hingley. Working back through Sherwood’s Planet, everybody from Raymond Scott to Chuck Sagle to Ferrante & Teicher to Lydia Lunch had the Moon on their minds. The Ooh got a wee bit on the bit-of-imagination-required, “tangential” side, with titles like “Thunderball” (The Soul Bros.’ tribute to the Bond flick about 007’s bid to stop a plot to destroy Miami Beach with two stolen nuclear warheads) “Miss Universe” (following Jimmy Cliff’sother “Miss” title, “ …Jamaica”) and “Pound for Pound” (of thrust,perhaps? It was, after all, by The Fireburners… ) So Space Month continues for the next two weeks… tune in and stay tuned!
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