Skip navigation

Tag Archives: Ska

I’d sworn off Ska for the rest of my life…until I listened to this record.

Flashback to 2002

The memory of when Ska went on my permanent shit list is still very vivid. During college a friend had invited me to a Reel Big Fish concert at Bogart’s. I told him I’d have to think about it because of one major factor: Bogart’s is easily one of the worst venues of past, present or future. Its bouncers are usually current or former members of a lame straight edge “gang” named, laughably, Courage Crew. The members are composed of nerdy dudes who found themselves bullied incessantly throughout high school and, as a result of their endless wedgies, joined a “gang” after graduating or dropping out to feel tough.

I use the term gang with quotations because the terms team, organization or club can’t be used to describe a bunch of dudes who roll 20 deep and pick fights with a single guy because he and one of their slut girlfriends used to neck behind Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken in Covington. And they aren’t into cooking meth, trickin’ hoes, doing anything illegally profitable, so the unquotationed term gang really isn’t appropriate either. Until I find a good descriptor for their douchey little group the quotations will have to do.

ANYWAY, I didn’t want to see Reel Big Fish in the first place and especially didn’t want to get hassled by oily sXe dudes at the shit stain that is 2621 Short Vine. However, the the tickets were free, it was my friend’s birthday and he’s a pretty swell guy so I sucked it up and boarded the Oi Oi Express.

Big mistake. Throughout Junior High and High School I’d surfed the Ska tsunami that engulfed teenage America in the mid 90s. I was listening to it all: The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Operation Ivy, The Voodoo Glow Skulls, The Aquabats, Hepcat, and whatever bands were on the endless Ska compilations I bought at Best Buy. However, I never attended a single Ska concert because my Mormon parents prohibited any social activities within Cincinnati city limits, or as the Mormon bishop called it, Strumpetville. If I’d seen the terrible spectacle of live Ska at an early age I would have ceased and desisted wasting my parent’s money on Ska box sets much, much earlier.

Ok, I’ve never admitted this, even to my therapist, so I’m going to come right out and say it. I had to endure 2 hours of unadulterated and unyielding skanking at that Reel Big Fish Concert. It was much like the following video, except it was scrawny white dudes instead of Hispanic folks. And it was really dark and damp. And I was crying.

Round and round they went. And round. And round. And after a while the spinning rude boys, paired with the nauseating trumpet which spewed from Bogart’s shitty PA, made a brother wanna hurl. So, in knee-jerk fashion, I ran outside to avoid soiling the dance floor. Once outside I unleashed my vomitous fury upon the adjacent storefront of the long-abandoned Jupiter And Beyond Arcade. It was at this moment I swore, much as I did with Goldschläger after a particularly debauched Halloween, that I would never ingest Ska again so long as I lived.

Fast forward to Present Day

Last week I was down at Mole’s Record Exchange in Clifton perusing their small but sweet collection of used vinyl. I happened upon The English Beat’s Special Beat Service and remembered I was quite fond of one of their songs, “Save It For Later”. Sure enough it was on this album, so I picked it up and brought it home for a listen.

What the rest of the disc contained was a delightfully British form of early Ska. They even use an accordion…and it makes so much sense it hurts. It also includes a song from the Ferris Bueller’s Day Off soundtrack. The part you’re most likely to recognize starts at 2:16.

Last week I would have said that under no circumstances would I be listening to Ska in 2011 (with the exception of Hepcat, because Hepcat owns). But this album is telling me that 2011 is brimming with of all sorts of pleasant surprises. So, stay tuned with an open mind for tons of great music to come at Rebuilt Tranny’s Rat Rod Record Exchange.

>>>Click here to download Special Beat Service at 320 kbps

Tracklist

A1 I Confess 4:33
A2 Jeanette 2:48
A3 Sorry 2:33
A4 Sole Salvation 3:07
A5 Spar Wid Me 4:32
A6 Rotating Head 3:26
B1 Save It For Later 3:36
B2 She’s Going 2:11
B3 Pato And Roger A Go Talk 3:20
B4 Sugar & Stress 2:57
B5 End Of The Party 3:33
B6 Ackee 1 2 3 3:13