Saturday, November 26, 2016

Not Quite Ska - Part 1

Quite often I find a lot of music on eBay, Discogs, and other online sellers that is sold as "ska" which isn't ska. I have been disappointed so many times by buying things blindly that you would assume I would learn my lesson at some point and only buy things that I hear first, but I keep falling for it. There are a couple reasons for this - firstly, when I go to record shops, conventions, thrift stores, etc. I take way more chances on things than I do when I buy online and I have struck gold too many times that I see no need to to change my ways. Secondly, I listen to lots of different types of music (we all do, I know) so, even though it may not be what I'm looking for, it might still be good.

Here are a few things I bought thinking they were ska but they aren't - but they're still pretty good.

Drive-Ins - Movie Girls (1985)
I'm posting this one because I get requests for it - a lot of requests. It's labeled as ska on Discogs but it's not ska at all. It's upbeat new wave/rock with lots of keyboard, distorted 80s guitar, and a bit of saxophone here and there. The closest it comes to ska might be the title track "Movie Girls", or maybe the song "Get the Message". But it is very rare so you might want to download it for that reason alone.

1 Just Respondin'
2 Don't Kiss My Face
3 Movie Girls
4 You're so Independent
5 Life ain't no Day on the Beach
6 Busy Signal
7 Sylvia
8 Secret Sessions
9 Echoes of War
10 Get the Message


Grunwaldt & Bley - Shout it Loud 12" (1987) 

I knew this one wasn't ska before I bought it because there is an edited video for the song. How do you not like that energy?

A - Shout it Loud
B - Sing es Laut

Alleybirds - Habasit 7" (1981)

This one was on my wishlist for years because it was sold on eBay as a ska record. I think this was only due to the title of the b-side which is neither ska nor reggae. I quite like the a-side though.

A - Habasit
B - Reggae Music


Buddy System - Sad Story 7" (1983)
I am not a fan of Buddy System. They had a hard rock look with a soft rock sound and all of their music was incredibly 80s. They wanted to impress Cyndi Lauper's, Poison's, and Bonnie Raitt's fans all at the same time. They were radio-friendly enough to the point of being bland.
Now, after slandering their good name (I know they have a fan base that wouldn't tolerate my comments all that well), I have to admit that I absolutely love their first record. Both sides are great. It doesn't sound like their other releases. Both songs are a little more heartfelt and there is a slight-but-noticeable ska influence in the rhythms of both songs. I heard samples of both songs before I bought this one and I sat on it too long so somebody else bought it. It took me years to find another copy and the small sample ate at me for those years.
Some of the other stuff in this post is just okay. This is one of my favorite records ever.

I have included their self-titled record and the "Go Back to Hollywood" single so you can compare it to this release.

A - Sad Story
B - Lonesome Cowboy



Linneman said...

Wow...excellent stuff; thanks! The Buddy System does sound like they took some cues from 2tone, especially on "Sad Story." And that Alleybirds track is a lot of Manu Chao with an 8-bit band behind him.

Tone and Wave said...

You did inspire the post so I'm glad you like it. Thank you for commenting. I have a lot of stuff like this so there will be more similar posts coming up.

Anonymous said...

I can't wait for some more of this semi-ska gear. Have you heard the Hail Reagan 7" by German band Blitz? The flip "No Time" seems appropriate for this site.


Anonymous said...

I’m sorry to hear you were disappointed in “Fall Flat,” but thanks for the mention on your blog. As a founding member of Harvard WingTip Collection and co-author of the songs, I’m sure I could answer any questions you may have; for instance, no, we didn’t think of ourselves as a ska band as such, although ska was one of our many influences. We are in the process of putting together a retrospective—original demos, live tracks, a single we recorded in London. I’ll let you know when that’s finished if you wish.

We do have to ask that by April 21, 2017, you stop sharing our music, for example through this download link, as this infringes on our intellectual property rights. Your taking this step now will avoid our having to pursue other recourses.

We look forward to your cooperation and again thanks for the mention. Hopefully our other material will be more to your liking.