Rocket Ship Ska Trip

RSST as a weekly four-hour tour debuted in September.  Starting and ending with traditional, 2-tone and modern ska and rocksteady, sandwiching an hr.20min. of space-age lounge, latin jazz, higher-AND-lower-than-fi exotica, moog-o-phonic-a-delia, extremely jazzy ska/lounge and more of all eras in the middle.  Due to Sherwood's Planet, Vershuub, having fallen through a wormhole, a naturally-occuring teleport engine, and having emerged in a location with ESO 593-IG 008 (a cosmic 3-way intergalactic traffic accident resembling "Tinkerbell") vividly taking up a good chunk of night ska, er, sky, the planet's rotation on its axis has been mysteriously altered to 1 day = 32 (Earth-standard) hours, or 1 &1/3rd days, resulting in Sherwood's Planet, the radio show-within-a-show, adding 20mn. to its run-time to reflect the fact that 1hr. Vershuubi time = 1 1/3rd hr. Earth time. The rest of RSST will accomodate, as follows: 

The "Ooh": 2:a.m. - 3:20a.m.

The "Voov": 3:20a.m. - 4:40a.m.

And the rest (The "Home Stretch"): 4:40a.m. - 6:a.m.

The 4(+?)@4 now mutates into the 5(+?)@5:05.

Hr. 1: The "Ooh" (pronounced "oooooh!") The Opening Oldies Hour, consisting of classic Jamaican ska and rocksteady (Skatalites, Cavaliers, Wailing Wailers, Desmond Dekker, plus some international surprises from around the globe), 2Tone (both the label _and_ the era, so think Specials, Selecter, Bad Manners, as well as '80s ska one-offs by The Lambrettas, (Donatella) Rettore, Yellow Magic Orchestra(!) etc...  and Ska's Lost Decade (roughly '68-'78), peppered with rare mid-'70s ska by names like Zap Pow, Skatalites founder Tommy McCook,  Haruomi Hosono ("Ska Beguine" anyone?) and others!

Hr. 2: Sherwood's Planet...  a.k.a. "The Voov"  ...short for the "Voovie Doo Lounge",  middle-hour alter-ego host Sherwood B. Funn's orbital party palace famous galaxy-wide (at least in the hyperactive imaginings of Mr. Funn) for orbiting the aforementioned "Planet", and also for spinning space-age trop/pop, exotic jazz, moog-o-phonic-a-delia and the like, by everyone from Duke Ellington to Les Baxter, Cal Tjader to Arthur Lyman, Combustible Edison to Tipsy, Senor Coconut to Perrey/Kingsley, Shiina Ringo to Yasutaka Nakata... and that's just lopping the tip off the iceberg!

Hr. 3: The Home Stretch...  this feature-packed hour:20 includes the GotchaSKAvered Ska Cover-of-the-Month Club at 4:40,  the 5:05 5(+?)-in-a-row and a local-to-global ska selection encompassing The Prizefighters, The Dropsteppers, Umbrella Bed, The Slackers, The Pinstripes, Westbound Train, Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra, Cabernet Deneuve, Jazz Jamaica All Stars... mixed in with a stray musical wild-card here and there... and you get bumpers by RSST's very own Mutant Frogs (and Carr/McWheele Orch.) throughout the whole show...  2 Much for 3 Hours, so we've gone to 4!

And don't forget, if you miss the show, listen anytime on the internet... all KFAI-originated shows are archived online for 2 weeks_ sometimes more!

Recent Playlists

7/10/2014 Rocket Ship Ska Trip

The RSST Nutshell – 7/10/14

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!

7/3/2014 Rocket Ship Ska Trip

7/3 in a nutshell…

On the first RSST 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!

6/26/2014 Rocket Ship Ska Trip

6/26 in a nutshell…

Wow… the Ooh dropped a whopping 8 massively classic skas from the Top Deck label, as reissued (or, in some cases, issued for the first time) by West Side. Sherwood went all vibraphonic for a good chunk of his show-within-a-show, and the Home Stretch wrapped up the GotchaSKAvered salute to James Bond with a band called The Lunatics, not to be confused with “Colonel” Ken Elliott’s crew of ex-Vulcans. A 5@5:05 tribute to Madness included Jools Holland with Suggs, the Lee (“Kix”) Thompson Ska Orchestra, Thompson and Chris Foreman’s almost “Pet Ska Boys”-esque electronic project Nutty Boys, Madness in its “Dangermen” Jamaican cover-band guise, and lastly-but-certainly-not-leastly plain ol’ Madness (as if Madness could ever be “plain ol’ “… and after learning of Colombia’s victory over Japan in World Cup action, we followed up TSPO’s “You’ll Never Walk Alone” with Los Vagabundos, a Colombian ska band… which we promptly followed up with more Skapara, of course. So what’s in store next week? You’ll just have to Tune In… and Stay Tuned!

6/19/2014 Rocket Ship Ska Trip

6/19 in a nutshell…

Forgoing the “featured label” thing again this week, we featured a loose circle of musical associates including Rico, Johnny “Dizzy” Moore, Bunny & Skitter and others, centered around the Nyabinghi rhythms of legendary hand drummer Count Ossie and his crew circa 1961-2, as well as a couple of boogie shuffles that were likely the work of Clue J. & his Blues Blasters. In the middle, Sherwood got “Spooky” with Dave Pike, “Pogoed” with Al Romero, enjoyed “Apple Sauce” with Sil Austin, and speaking of apples, found Shiina Ringo in the middle of a current creativity binge of 15th career-anniversary releases, from which we heard “Blink of Youth,” from an album of her own covers of songs she wrote for others. The “wicked ‘n’ evil” thing we started on the “Ooh” last week continued in the Home Stretch this week as the 5@5:05. The Skatalites, ’90s edition, put out “Ball of Fire” for Island Jamaica Jazz, containing this week’s installment of “James Bond” in GotchaSKAvered, and Hollie Cook sang a ska titled “Ari Up” in honor of the late Slits’ singer. That’s yer RSST wrap-up for the week… for more, tune in and stay tuned!

6/12/2014 Rocket Ship Ska Trip

6/12 in a nutshell…

The Ooh had a block of 5 old skas on the Worldisc label, led off by a favorite Lee Perry cut, “Wishes of the Wicked.” 2 more “Wicked” tracks were to be found among the five, Neville Esson’s “Wicked and Dreadful” and Wicked Man” by Shenley Duffus. And speaking of wicked, who should turn up in Sherwood’s playlist but Satan… and on holiday at that! Big-bandleader Tommy Dorsey and his fellow trombone star Warren Covington have the lowdown. That follows the calendar-album segment featuring the psychedelically percussive Hal Blaine and mallet master Emil Richards, who both played on Blaine’s album (Psychedelic Percussion) and recorded his own (Stones). “Trippin’ Out” and “Moonstone” are their June selections. In the Home Stretch, “James Bond” got the live Selecter treatment, from Out On The Streets – Live in London, The Melodians bookended an all-‘70s “Ska’s Lost Decade” 5@5:05 set, and there were back-to-back movie and TV themes served up piping (and skankin’) hot by Tsuyoshi Kawakami and Pannonia Allstars. More wicked grooves next time… tune in and stay tuned!

6/5/2014 Rocket Ship Ska Trip

6/5 in a nutshell…

R&B, as any good ska fan in the UK should know, stands for Rita & Benny King, founders of the Ska Beat label (after founding the R&B label!), and this week the Ooh’s featured label is in fact Ska Beat. Lord Tanamo, Baba Brooks, Derrick & Naomi and more Jamaican ska artists who were issued across the pond on Ska Beat are included in our set. The Home Stretch kicked off with two GotchaSKAvereds: wrapping up El Pussy Cat with the classic Roland Alphonso take, and then hearing him kick off a month of James Bonds to boot. The 5@5:05 took us to the Ska Zoo (lions, rhinos and wolves, oh, my!) and, backing into Sherwood’s Planet (ever just back into a planet?), Mr. Funn did some serious stretching out.

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!

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!

5/15/2014 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!

5/8/2014 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!