Sunday, July 24, 2016

Carl Collins - Money in the Ghetto 7" (1980)


Jo Bisso was born and raised in Yaoundé, the political capital Cameroon. He grew up being a fan of American soul music such as Otis Reading and Wilson picket. In 1971 he left Cameroun to pursue his musical career. Beginning an 8 year stint of Paris to New York jet trips the young ambitious man forged his musical career on his own terms; Staring off with the minor hit “Flying To The Land Of Soul” which he signed to Decca and moving on to produce, finance, write and create several albums released under his own name and other artsits such as Sookie and Venise.
In 1975 Jo created his genre blended debut album “Jo Tongo” on the Paris based Disques Esperance label. Sung in English and his native language it was way ahead of its time for the day, blending Jazz, Funk, Soul, afro rhythms and the sounds that were at the time being come to be known as Disco. The album was produced by Jo who plays a wide variety of the instruements and contributes his baritone “Barry White” tinged spoken vocals about life and love.
The album opens up with the title track “Dance To It”, A slice of groovy lounge-funk. Part 1 is all about the driving catchy groove which is layered with a downtown funk saxophone lead line. Part 2 brings in Jo’s spoken vocals in his native language and English, setting the tone of the album to come. “Disco Madonna” introduces a Latin flavour with Spanish vocals, a rumba groove and darting percussion. “Ramaya” melds a playful, summery, euro melody with Jo’s throaty, fun-loving vocals and a nascent use of synthesizers.
“Lets Keep It Together” is a song in two parts. The first half builds the groove over washy guitar, and chords before breaking into a solid soul riff with bass, Rhodes and guitar. Over this Jo layers the catchy, soulful vocals, summer-breeze guitars and jazzy keys. A real treat. Flip over to the Vinyl B side for what is probably the albums most “getting down” moment. The driving funk of “Give It Up”. Stabby brass, whirling organ and tight bass which is all wrapped up in a one tight arrangement. Add in doses of Jo’s sulty vocal and that is a recipe for a real winner.
“Don’t Fight The Feeling” again furthers into real deep funk territory. Jo opening up with a sermon on “love and sex”. The album closes with the swinging soul of the pensive Jo and his thoughts on life, “Odwa”. What is going down?
The Give It Up track was a highlight of the recent Africa Seven debut release “African Airways Volume 1: (Funk Connection 1972-1979). To Follow that up Africa Seven are proud to repress the debut Jo Bisso album in its full glory.
Before returning to the US in 1981 he recorded two ska records in France but he used the moniker Carl Collins. The Gangsters featuring Carl Collins - "Who's That Man?" b/w "The Game" and "Money in the Ghetto" b/w "The Star" both released in 1980.
From 1981 to 1989 his lived in Cote D’Ivoire. He now lives in Paris and although he sometimes “finds it hard to listen to his albums”, he does thinks it great that people love his music and his debut album is getting a re-release all these years later.


A - Money in the Ghetto
B - The Star



The other single was previously posted on Tone and Wave HERE but I included it in this download.

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[This wall of text was respectfully plagiarized from THIS Soundcloud page on Jo Bisso.]

Blog Update:






As usual I have lots of rarities still to post. I need to focus a bit more on the cassette demos. The band J.C. Superska has two full albums that were released only on tape and, from what I can see, they have no online presence at all. I recently acquired two Skoi!dats demo tapes but I have been forewarned that I should probably get permission from the band before I post them.

I have some more rare California ska but I'm trying to space it out. It's not everyone's cup of tea and I don't want to bore anyone. I have about 80 rare ska and reggae songs from California from 1976 to 1987 and I've only posted about half of them on the blog so far so I will be doing a great big ol' compilation at some point.

In a recent comment I mentioned that I have plenty of records that are not ska, but ska-ish. A lot of them I bought without hearing because the seller said they were ska but they weren't. Others I did hear beforehand and I bought them because, even though I realized they weren't ska, they were still good records. I'm going to try and cram them into a post or two.



And here's a direct message to Mike Menchaca from the band The Specs:
Mike, your old T-bone player Cliff Lyons is trying to get ahold of you. He mentioned a reunion. He left his phone number on a comment but I don't want to publish it here. Contact me through my email address or my Facebook and I'll forward his number. For anybody who remembers the Specs this could be a really good thing. Anybody out there who knows Mike - let's get this message to him!





(This is a picture of the royal family visiting Jamaica in 1967. I wonder how much ska Prince Charles has in his collection.)


Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Corvairs [California]

This is the record that I consider to be the rarest California ska record ever released.

I have been collecting rare California ska for decades and this is the one record that eluded me year after year. I don't know how many copies were made and there are still some rare California ska releases from the 80s that I don't have yet but I'm basing my criteria on internet presence and how many people I've met at record conventions (and elsewhere) that have actually heard of these records.

The Corvairs - Self Abuse 7" (1983)
A - Self Abuse
B - Never Stop Believin






They had an earlier release in 1981 that wasn't ska (but was still a great record):
The Corvairs - Took so Long 7" (1981)
A - Took so Long
B - Just a Friend




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Sunday, July 10, 2016

Splitters [California] - Don't Stop 7" (1982)

When I posted the RAM 7" I said that I considered that record to be in the top three of the rarest California ska records. I mentioned that I did not have the other two of the top three, but now I have them and I will be posting them here shortly.
The one I consider the absolute rarest (based on my own mission to find these gems) is by a band called The Corvairs. I have since acquired two singles by the Corvairs and, although I said in the RAM post that the rarest is not as good as good as the other two, I rescind that statement. Both of their singles are excellent.
The one I considered 'the third rarest' is a 4 song 7" by a band called Dutty Rass. I just got that one yesterday and I haven't actually listened to it yet.

The reason I'm saying all of this in this particular post is because this would be #4 on the list. I know nothing about this band except that the lead singer Dilithium Cristil (whose real name is Celena Allen) was invited to pose in Playboy in 1985 in an issue that featured 'The Women of Rock'.

Aside from that I can't find any information about the band or any individual members. I don't know if they ever recorded anything else but I know this record is extremely difficult to track down and both songs are great. Neither track is straightforward ska but quintessential new wave with the B-side showing a 2 Tone influence.

A - Don't Stop

B - Go Home

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The Parrots [Brighton, U.K.] - The Parrots EP (1980)

The song "Breaking Up New Ground" might sound familiar to you if you have the 100% British Ska compilation. Prior to recording this EP the band recorded two songs for the "Vaultage 78" compilation and later recruited a female vocalist and changed the name of the band to Vol Sec and they released a four-track cassette.

The cassette is nearly impossible to find but, lucky for us, every song they ever recorded is available on CD - 19 tracks recorded as the Parrots and as Vol Sec.

1 Photography Song
2 Home Sweet Home
3 Breaking Up New Ground
4 Serious Thing




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Steppin Razor - Studio Junkies (1982)

Steppin' Razor was not a band, but a studio project of two people in Florida. This is the only album they recorded. It's a blend of ska and new wave/rock. After they recorded this album they moved to California and formed the band Steppin' Lazer who released an EP called Plain Wrap which included different versions of Follow the Leader and Seein' What I ain't Got.

1 Follow the Leader
2 Seein' What I ain't Got
3 Another Pretty Face
4 You Don't Approve of Me
5 Another Way to Live
6 I Can't Afford it
7 I Really Wanna Dance with You
8 Ready to Break
9 Yellow Lights
10 Für Elise

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Saturday, July 9, 2016

Reluctant Stereotypes demo (1979)

This demo features Martyn Bates on vocals. Three of these four song were not later recorded by the Paul King version of the band.


1 Daily Excess
2 Happy as Sandboys
3 The Rev
4 The Lull

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Etch-A-Sketch [Ann Arbor Michigan]

The band Etch-A-Sketch from Ann Arbor Michigan made an impact in the American ska scene of the early 90s but, sadly, they never released anything aside from their very few appearances on compilations. They released two songs on the "Ska Takes the Great Lakes" compilation as well as the song "Too Late" on the "Death of an American Skathic" comp.

As far as I know they only got around to recording six songs in a studio. This download includes all six of those songs.

1  Hit the Ground
2 Inhibitions
3 (Spirit of) Leslie Kong
4 Too Late
5 Escape
6 Killer Bees



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The Riffs - Funny Little Fella 7" (1990)

This is being re-posted by request. It was originally posted in 2008. I have since re-ripped it and it sounds better now than the previous version I offered so, even if you downloaded it back then, I recommend you download this version. It's still not a great rip but it is better.

A - Funny Little Fella
B - Maybe Next Time

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J.J. Sparks and the City Gents - Brixton Blue Beat (1981)

1 Mama Kiss Him Good Night
2 Unity
3 I Have Got You Under My Skin
4 Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday
5 Sha-La-La
6 Three Nights in Lovers Town
7 Brixton Blue Beat
8 You Didn't Love Me
9 I Came Around
10 Feelings

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Sunday, June 26, 2016

City Beat - Late at the Office 7" (1984)

City Beat was a "ska-inspired" band from New York City who is probably best known for their song "It's Not Up to You" from the Skaville USA compilation (volume 1 - which was originally released in 1986 as New York Beat - Hit and Run on Moon).

The band was only three guys: drummer George Parker, bassist Jon Arzt, and guitarist/lead vocalist Gopalakrishnan Varadhan. They played numerous live shows in New York in the early/mid eighties but the song from the compilation and these two songs were the only things the band ever recorded. (Unless there's a demo tape somewhere out there.) I don't know if George and Jon ever did anything else in music but Gopal went on to work with G.G. Allin of all people. He started a job in the World Trade Center in August of 2001 and he was at work on September 11th. You can read about that HERE.

A - Late at the Office
B - Rocking Mesopotamia
* - It's Not Up to You

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Saturday, June 11, 2016

State of Emergency - State of Emergency 12" EP (1989)

This is State of Emergency's first release. They had a couple of songs on compilations and they released a 6-song 12" in 1990 called Ska-Terbrain.

A1 - Stranger
A2 - Can't Compare
B1 - Understand
B2 - Someone Like You





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