Skip

To be born English is to win first prize in the lottery of life
October 24, 2008 8:50 AM   Subscribe

"No other country could have produced the Specials. Terry Hall grew up with Jamaican culture as well as English culture, that’s the only way The Specials could have happened. If you listen to American ska bands, they don’t sound authentic, it's like surf music with reggae mixed with it." Tricky talks about Englishness.
posted by parmanparman (84 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
Tricky's alright, isn't he? (That's rhetorical.) But I'd hoped this was a post about Terry Hall, who's really amazing and whose collaboration with Mushtaq, "The Hour Of Two Lights," is one of the most underrated album of this century . . . and one I must promote here. It's kind of like the Specials doing an even more far-out version of "Sandinista!" with various musicians from Jewish and Arabic musical worlds, refugees stuck in London, some Roma musicians and more. Plus one track lifts a vocal part from "Ghost Town" in a truly brilliant way.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 8:59 AM on October 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


America having ska is just a weird concept I can't get my head around. And I've heard it described as a 90s thing - WTF, late to the party or what?
posted by Artw at 8:59 AM on October 24, 2008 [1 favorite]




Third-wave American ska is fun and all, but it's really pop-punk with horns and a reggae groove. A lot of it is different enough from Jamaican and British to be its own thing, and it's got a party music goofiness, as opposed to the sort of understated sadness, that completely sets it apart from stuff like "Ghost Town." It's good for what it is, although I much prefer The Specials, Desmond Dekker, and Toots and the Maytals.
posted by infinitywaltz at 9:14 AM on October 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm more or less with infinity. (Although I tend to think of Toots and the Maytals as roots--which is mostly where I live.)
posted by snuffleupagus at 9:19 AM on October 24, 2008


This post needs music:

A Message to You Rudy
Monkey Man


Everybody dance!
posted by caddis at 9:26 AM on October 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


When I was a kid we used to fight or rob the people we wanted to fight or rob, we didn't walk along the street, kick someone's head in, and film it on a mobile phone

The good old days. Pretentious twat.
posted by Not Supplied at 9:28 AM on October 24, 2008


I think The Slackers (NYC) deserve a little credit for keeping it real during the third wave. And The Toasters, but their front man was a British ex-pat.

You could probably lay a lot of the "blame" on The Bosstones. They were fun and all, but basically a heavy metal band with horns. I saw 'em live a few times, and I skanked it up and had a blast. Maybe Tricky would disapprove.
posted by bardic at 9:34 AM on October 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Dick Hebdige talks about this too in Subculture: The Meaning of Style. Although the book is about punk, he talks about some similar things.
posted by zennoshinjou at 9:38 AM on October 24, 2008


For a counter-point, as an American who was a teen in the 90s, it's hard for me to imagine Ska being anything...you know..better.
posted by paisley henosis at 9:40 AM on October 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hooray for a Specials post on the front page!
posted by baphomet at 9:41 AM on October 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Sounds like he's been smoking a lot of green lately. And it probably ain't English green.
posted by blucevalo at 9:43 AM on October 24, 2008


Moaning on about the good old days seems to be a bit of a hazard for ex-pats. I think you get an image stuck in your mind of what the country should be like and become mentally incapable of updating it, and then anything that causes cognitive disonance with that becomes immensely irritating.

Like Tricky I'm loss a filthy traitor whose moved to Yankie Land, so I'll probably go that way myself soon.

Then you get weird thinsg like complaining that common innovations that have popped up everywhere don't exist back home, when actually they do now. that sort fo thing is why I don't spend much time hanging out with ex pats - I prefer hanging out with yanks and try to resist giving them nauseating and ill informed lectures on why Britain is better even though I don't live there.

(I save those for you lot)
posted by Artw at 9:45 AM on October 24, 2008 [4 favorites]


Seconding the recommendation for the Terry Hall/Mushtaq album. Along with the Jewish and Arabic influences it also mixes in some hip-hop. It's a great album that I haven't listened to in a while, so thanks for reminding me.

Also, please play Ghost Town at my funeral. And at all my birthday parties until then. And at all parties at your house. I really, really love that song.
posted by ericthegardener at 9:45 AM on October 24, 2008


You know what's another great Specials song? "Too Much Too Young."
posted by infinitywaltz at 9:52 AM on October 24, 2008


Trying to think of other musics done perfectly and solely by the English. Mod, certainly. Trip Hop, perhaps? And Oi, of course.

American ska is really really terrible, except for totally out-there stuff like the Blue Meanies.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:53 AM on October 24, 2008


Friday Night, Saturday Morning

and the Nouvelle Vauge cover
posted by The Whelk at 9:54 AM on October 24, 2008


When I bought a vinyl of The Specials AKA, Specials back in 1979 – it was a celebration that presaged a Ska Revival. Every other band was put in Coventry. The same thing happened with the Sex Pistols too, but they didn't come from Coventry.
posted by tellurian at 9:57 AM on October 24, 2008


A vision of pop as an inclusive social and racial ideal that has yet to be matched: if we're talking about The Specials, let's not forget Jerry Dammers, kids.
posted by Kinbote at 9:58 AM on October 24, 2008


TEX MEX!
posted by cowbellemoo at 10:03 AM on October 24, 2008


Ghost Town sucked me in, Rude boys outta jail had me dancing like a nutter. (Link leads to live version, not the B-side stwo tone single that I have which sounds vastly different). My legs are still sore.

Seconding the props to the toasters during the third wave, and Terry Hall had an interesting career post-specials. Remember it ain't what you do it's the way that you do it with Bananarama?
posted by dabitch at 10:08 AM on October 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


If you listen to American ska bands, they don’t sound authentic, it's like surf music with reggae mixed with it.

Not entirely the case, but, yeah, that pretty much sums up the majority of US ska. The trouble, I think, is that most American ska is made by white Californians and put out by a small handful of rather homogeneous pop-punk labels. (Indeed, they're the very same labels that turned punk rock into mall pop.)
posted by Sys Rq at 10:17 AM on October 24, 2008


most American ska is made by white Californians

Well I'd argue that the driving force behind third wave was actually the Mid-west and North-east in the late 80s, not the Rancid stuff of the late 90s. But then, I still have a leather jacket with buttons on. YMMV.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:21 AM on October 24, 2008


The first Specials song I ever heard was "Friday Night, Saturday Morning", which was probably the first ska song I ever heard, followed quickly by "Ghost Town", which was getting lots of play on UHF video shows at the time. I couldn't imagine it getting any better - until I picked up that first Specials album. That record plays like a greatest hits album - every cut is a winner.

I saw the first (most-of-origianal-members) reunion tour, which was a blast, but I would have loved to have been able to Terry Hall with them. If you ever saw the Specials with Terry Hall - then I'm envious of you.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 10:23 AM on October 24, 2008


America having ska is just a weird concept I can't get my head around. And I've heard it described as a 90s thing - WTF, late to the party or what?
The Specials were really popular among slightly-alternative pre-teenage suburban white kids in the mid to late-'80s. At least, that was true where I grew up. The Selector, too, although they were slightly more obscure and thus cooler. A lot of those kids formed bands, which were pretty awful, mostly because the kids were 12. Most of those bad bands broke up, some moved on to other musical styles, and some of them kept playing bad, knock-off ska. By the mid-'90s, the former 12-year-olds were old enough to get record contracts, which is how bands like No Doubt came to be on the radio in 1996 or so.
posted by craichead at 10:31 AM on October 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Eh, I'll disagree with the notion of 3rd wave being "ruined" by the white Californians, but I'm biased as I was a white kid who grew up in the 1990s, in California, skanking at little shows. Maybe some if it was moving beyond strict 3rd wave (wave 3.5?), but music is ever changing. The shows I went to were generally a bunch of upbeat kids, skanking and having a good time. I do think things changed for some bands towards the end of the 1990s, and I know a few bands and labels did drop the horns and embrace Pop Punk.

But how can you find fault with The Aquabats!? I actually saw them a few years ago, and the crowd was really interesting - a LOT of teens and pre-teens, but also a lot of 20 somethings and older. The show was all-ages at a bar, one of the few decent venues in my little town. The kids in black confused me, but they sang along. I don't think there was a lot of skanking going on, but some people did come in full Cadet gear.

Thanks for the tip on The Hour of Two Lights - it sounds fascinating.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:40 AM on October 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


The Hour Of Two Lights, I can't recommend it enough. And I should probably throw in a recommendation for the second Specials album, More Specials. Pretty much panned on its release, and fractures within the band were obvious . . . but the 'space lounge' vibe is incredible (though this was the aspect of the album most derided) and it's pretty obvious to see the roots of more experimental musics (like what Tricky does, or triphop) coming from this album. One of the few albums I know that sounds perversely better each year.

The problem with those third generation ska bands was it didn't sound like they'd ever heard the first wave artists. The second wave bands played with ska only as a fraction of their sound, and moved away from it pretty quickly (often by the second album). This kept it pretty fresh and real, and even though the second albums by the Specials, the Beat, the Selecter and Madness were all seen as inferior to their first albums, I rather think they were pretty fun, with noticeable growth in songwriting and ideas. In fact, did any of those second albums contain a song that was truly "ska?" I can't think of any, except a few lesser ones on the second Selecter album.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 10:57 AM on October 24, 2008


S'long as we're riffing about our favorite Specials song, it's gotta be "Longshot Kick De Bucket" (yt).

Listening to this song makes me feel alive. Thinking about listening to this song makes me feel aliver.
posted by bardic at 11:06 AM on October 24, 2008


I love the specials! That's all I wanted to say...
posted by cell divide at 11:11 AM on October 24, 2008


you listen to American ska bands, they don’t sound authentic

Amen in spades! The Selecter, Specials and NO MADNESS PLEASE (no offense). I wonder if US ska-esque stuff sounds the way it does partly because of the ubiquity of madness and the relative underexsposure of the Selecter and the Specials.

Of course, no look back at two-tone would be complete with a lingering glance upon the Mirror in the Bathroom. I realize that I Just Can't Stop It is a different beast from the classic Selecter and Specials sides, but man, what an LP.
posted by mwhybark at 11:15 AM on October 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Good lad, Tricky. He's even right about the food.
posted by Abiezer at 11:23 AM on October 24, 2008


There is some American ska that stays fairly true to the old sound. For instance, I used to have a thing for The Skalars: here's a good example of their music. As far as I know, they only ever released a single album, Skoolin' with the Skalars.
posted by snuffleupagus at 11:27 AM on October 24, 2008


No mention of Buster.

Personally, the authenticity thing doesn't bother me too much, things mutate and move on. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones put out lots of good tunes, so did Fishbone; yesterday I was listening to The Planet Smashers and they're pretty good too.

Slack-a-gogo: Envy me, for they were mighty (back then you did have to take your chances with skinheads at pretty much any gig though).

Oh yeah, hell is around the corner.
posted by mandal at 11:39 AM on October 24, 2008


To be fair, the Bosstones never self-identified as ska, and quickly but politely corrected any interviewer that called them ska. They knew they were a metal band with horns. That could put on a hell of a live show.
posted by Quonab at 11:45 AM on October 24, 2008


I love the specials! That's all I wanted to say...

Ditto...
posted by fixedgear at 12:08 PM on October 24, 2008


This thread isn't complete with some 1993 Propagandhi. (ska sucks. ska revival isn't cool, you stupid fucks)
posted by anthill at 12:14 PM on October 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wait, no one's complained about Japanese ska yet!

Skamikaze! (Don't blame me, that's the title of it.)

Tons more on Youtube. I have no idea to what degree the Japanese identify ska with England, etc. (They definitely identify punk with the UK, at least visually.)

Anyway, I'm going to go catch up on my music history with the other links--thanks, OP and commenters!
posted by wintersweet at 12:32 PM on October 24, 2008


Thank you, anthill.
posted by Seamus at 12:52 PM on October 24, 2008


Of course, on reflection, 'authentic' is a totally meretricious metric to apply to ska in the first place. Did English ska sound like the Skatalites? Not so much, really. Elements combine and change, wot?
posted by mwhybark at 12:58 PM on October 24, 2008


Moaning on about the good old days seems to be a bit of a hazard for ex-pats. I think you get an image stuck in your mind of what the country should be like and become mentally incapable of updating it, and then anything that causes cognitive disonance with that becomes immensely irritating.

Like Tricky I'm loss a filthy traitor whose moved to Yankie Land, so I'll probably go that way myself soon.


That's absolutely true, and I've started to do that a bit recently. The guardian article about Englishness is great too. It's this line that struck me: Sellotape was peeling away from a picture of the Queen stuck to a curtain at the front of the room.

Somehow that encapsulates Blighty for me and I hated it when I lived there. The drabness the grey skies, the feeling that everything is so enclosed in own perception of itself but then again, that's what the place is and its part of me even though, like you and Tricky I'm a traitor too.

Also, I love the specials.
posted by ob at 1:21 PM on October 24, 2008


Filthy traitors are awesome.
posted by Artw at 1:22 PM on October 24, 2008


I'm pretty strong on the Toasters, but the Specials and early British Ska is my favorite. Also, I agree with brother Bardic that Longshot Kick De Bucket is a magical song. If you were a punk rock kid in New York (and probably everywhere else) in the 80's and early 90's you might remember that hardcore shows were often fun but could quickly get gnarly and violent and negative, but the same motherfuckers would be at a ska show the next week and just be skanking away, all smiles and good times. Good ska is good times.
posted by Divine_Wino at 1:26 PM on October 24, 2008


There was a special on Channel 4 a few years back called "Two-Tone." Anyone know where I could watch this again (online)?
posted by proj at 1:30 PM on October 24, 2008


Filthy traitors are awesome.

True but they're not quite as good as the dastardly sort. Ideally I'd like to aim for dastardly, but where to begin? A pencil mustache would be a good start methinks.
posted by ob at 1:38 PM on October 24, 2008


I love the fact that Britain's biggest pop star has ska in her roots. Could a Brittany or a Justin be this cool? I think not.
posted by cazoo at 1:45 PM on October 24, 2008


I'll love England as well when it is my rear view mirror. The problem is that right now I have to eat here and that is more depressing than the weather. I'd pay huge amounts for good bread, a dessert shop open at night, good BBQ, Korean food and a choice of more than 2 equally crap brands of peanut butter. The war ended a long time ago. When will the food rationing end?
posted by srboisvert at 1:45 PM on October 24, 2008


It's tricky - go the full top hat and cane route and people will just think you're some kind of steampunk idiot.
posted by Artw at 1:46 PM on October 24, 2008


Radio of Two-Tone here.
posted by srboisvert at 1:48 PM on October 24, 2008


It's tricky - go the full top hat and cane route and people will just think you're some kind of steampunk idiot.

No, that's not quite the ticket is it? Maybe a monocle and a spot of random cruelty will get the point across?
posted by ob at 1:49 PM on October 24, 2008


When will the food rationing end?

When we become more like our continental neighbours. This, so the newspapers lead me to believe, is the answer to all our problems.
posted by ob at 1:52 PM on October 24, 2008


Another filthy traitor here (in Canada this time) - yeah, definitely got a whiff of that expat nostalgia off of Tricky there. Not my cup of tea either.

That said, as someone who grew up in a racially mixed part of London, some of what he says actually sounds a bit like some of my attempts to explain to people what was good about it. More recently though, reading books like Gary Younge's "No Place Like Home" made me suspect that I had been viewing things through very rose-tinted glasses - Younge for example does not feel the least bit "English", to an extent that really surprised me. Of course, my excuse for this is that I am white - I wonder what Tricky's is?
posted by pascal at 1:57 PM on October 24, 2008


Well, just to get the ball really rolling, it'll be a class thing too between Tricky and Younge I'd hazard.
posted by Abiezer at 2:04 PM on October 24, 2008


It's tricky - go the full top hat and cane route and people will just think you're some kind of steampunk idiot.

You do that for the next meetup and I will pretty much guarantee my presence!
posted by mwhybark at 2:17 PM on October 24, 2008


It's tricky - go the full top hat and cane route and people will just think you're some kind of steampunk idiot.

If you had a top hat and a cane and loved the Specials I would have to gay marry you. Double time if you're Dastardly.
posted by The Whelk at 2:37 PM on October 24, 2008


Don't forget Bad Manners. ;-)

In the late 80s, there was a pretty strong scene in Toronto. Jamaican ska acts coming into town, bands like Skaface opening. So when people talk about a "third wave", I'm always a bit confused.

As for good US ska, Gangster Fun's first record is great.
posted by stinkycheese at 2:56 PM on October 24, 2008


("TEX MEX" is printed on Tricky's uniform in the Massive Attack video for Karmacoma. I'm very disappointed at the lack of favorites and need a tissue...)
posted by cowbellemoo at 3:24 PM on October 24, 2008


Good lad, Tricky. He's even right about the food.

To a degree, yes. English food can be really good provided that it's made with fresh ingredients and not cooked to death. Unfortunately the cuisine doesn't seem to travel well. I have not been able to find fish and chips stateside that compare to the chipper in my auntie's Kilburn neighborhood. And good luck getting decent bacon in this country.

That being said, just what is the deal with Salad Creme? It's like drinking mayonaise - utterly vile.
posted by echolalia67 at 3:56 PM on October 24, 2008


You're right of course, echolalia67 (including about salad cream). I was a bit spoiled growing up in the country with home-cooking of fresh local stuff. I'm sort of surprised srboisvert has trouble finding decent bread too; there were two trad family bakers and an organic hippy one in the small town I last lived near.
posted by Abiezer at 4:21 PM on October 24, 2008


salad cream
posted by Artw at 4:23 PM on October 24, 2008


Have I mentioned that "Three Minute Hero" by the Selecter runs 3:00?

Also, awesome track.

Favorite Specials cut: "Rat Race". I still have my black-and-white Specials jacket pin from back in the day. You can probably find them at antique stores by now.
posted by gimonca at 4:26 PM on October 24, 2008


I don't like Salad Cream which might make me even more of a traitor. Then again I like Black Pudding, so that sort of makes up for it.
posted by ob at 4:34 PM on October 24, 2008


Have you taken a tripe stance yet, ob? I think the public needs to know your liver-and-lights policy too.
posted by Abiezer at 4:40 PM on October 24, 2008


When I was a kid everyone had the same Specials tape which had been passed around, copy to copy, among, it seemed, everyone ever, for all that this post makes it clear that it wasn't actually 'everyone' everyone. Still, people you didn't know would have the same tape, with the same tracks in the same order. And by the time we had reached twenty, we had all lost that tape. It just disappeared. I would like that tape back. Preferably in a different format.
posted by motty at 5:06 PM on October 24, 2008


They were/are one of my all time favourite bands.

I remember sitting in my bedroom as a kid trying to work out the bass for Nightclub- drawing back and white checks all over my schoolbag, fighting with my mates over the thin black tie in the op shop.

what a wanker!
posted by mattoxic at 5:20 PM on October 24, 2008


I wanna be....I wanna be...
posted by gimonca at 6:01 PM on October 24, 2008


Oh, the hits keep coming.
posted by gimonca at 6:09 PM on October 24, 2008


This post needs music

Everybody dance!


The Special AKA's "Free Nelson Mandela"
posted by humannaire at 6:41 PM on October 24, 2008


Have you taken a tripe stance yet, ob? I think the public needs to know your liver-and-lights policy too.

One doesn't feel that offal is necessarily against the public interest whilst one doesn't personally consume said substances.
posted by ob at 8:05 PM on October 24, 2008


I'll stop mixed-grilling you on the matter then. Argh
posted by Abiezer at 8:33 PM on October 24, 2008


I love the fact that Britain's biggest pop star has ska in her roots .

Prince Buster rub up 'er mama? Golders Green Massive Represent!
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:38 AM on October 25, 2008


Here's another shout-out for More Specials. Both it and the debut are top-notch, but More's the one I keep returning to.

"Friday Night, Saturday Morning" (not on the album, but contemporary) is one of my all-time favourite songs to sing along to...let's just say I can relate to it.
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:57 AM on October 25, 2008


Tricky said: "When I was growing up, people always saw me as an English kid. I’ve grown up here, so I’m English. I’ve got a British passport, no-one can look at me and tell me I’m not English. So the racism might be against black people, but it’s never that you’re not English. I’ve been called racist names, but I’ve never been challenged as to whether I’m British or not."

That's the funny thing about South Bristol. Tricky and I grew up quite close together (he's a bit older than me though, and he was on a different council estate to me), and he must have been one of the only non-white kids for miles. I went to school with a kid whose parents were Spanish, and he wasn't ostracised or anything, but his skin colour was commented on as being different. I remember one kid being picked on because he was fat, not because he was Arab. South Bristol can be really really insular (eg: there are people that have never got on the bus and gone to the city centre, let alone left the city/country), but as soon as you're accepted, no one gives you a second thought. I've watched ex-coworkers slag off immigrants while sitting on the same table as a Jamaican guy who has only been in the country for 5 years. He was just another black guy to them.

God help you if you're an asylum seeker or Polish though.

srboisvert > "I'd pay huge amounts for good bread"

Funnily enough, that's my biggest complaint about North America. I can't find any good bread in San Diego, it all feels stale to me. What I would give for a good loaf of Hovis wholemeal on the shelves of Vons. I've no idea where you live or what your standards are, but come to Bristol, go to North Street in BS3 and get some crusty rolls from Denny's Bakery. They rule. Sainsburys also do really really great fresh bread in my area.

English food gets a raw deal. If you don't like meat and two veg, or Cornish pasties, or a nice ham sandwich, you're a fool (or a vegetarian/vegan of course).
posted by saturnine at 7:23 AM on October 25, 2008


Well saturnine, you've just answered one the greats mysteries for me. I just couldn't fathom how the bread could be so consistently bad, particularly in the grocery stores. It's almost always offputting under-baked moist stuff. France is just a hop skp and jump away and yet the bread here is awful. Turns out the answer is that the bread is damp/moist because that is the way English people like it.

I knew there were other areas where there were big cultural differences in taste - desserts here are far sweeter than in Canada, marmite exists and meat flavoured crisps (potato chips) to name a few but I never suspected there would be a difference in something as fundamental as bread. I guess I am gobsmacked.
posted by srboisvert at 8:26 AM on October 25, 2008


And I've heard it described as a 90s thing - WTF, late to the party or what?

The bad punk-rock-with-horns stuff, e.g. Reel Big Fish et al, was popular in the 90s, but ska came to America via the British second wave revival in the early 80s in the form of The Toasters and Moon Records, and was popular on the east and west coasts throughout the 80s. In fact, by the late 80s, it was considered kind of passe, until Operation Ivy, two of whose members (Matt Freeman and Tim Armstrong) had played in one of the aforementioned 80s west coast ska bands, Basic Radio, incorporated it into their punk rock/hardcore sound and basically started the third wave punk-ska crossover, although British bands such as 4 Skins had mixed punk rock and ska before.

Third-wave American ska is fun and all, but it's really pop-punk with horns and a reggae groove.

Bullshit. Many American third wave bands, for example Hepcat, The Slackers, The Scofflaws, hell, most of the Moon Records bands, were influenced directly by the original Jamaican sound and are more "authentic" than the British bands (which is a bullshit way to classify music, but if we're going to play that game...). They were no different than the late 70s-early 80s British bands, who were basically reviving a scene/culture that had been popular in the UK in the late 60s, when the original Jamaican ska/rocksteady sound had made its way there via Trojan Records, etc. The skinhead/rude boy/mod revival and second wave ska came out of all that. Hell, most of the songs the second wave bands did were covers or reinterpretations. If you've never heard 60s Jamaican ska but are familiar with The Specials, The Selecter, The Beat, etc., get a couple Trojan box sets and see how much of it you recognize.
posted by DecemberBoy at 11:25 AM on October 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


saturnine, I have a weird suggestion for you--go to Mitsuwa up in north San Diego and try some Japanese milk bread (Andersen's is also a Japanese bakery chain, so you can try it too--I think there's Andersen's down there). It may be closer to what you're thinking of. I don't have any familiarity with English bread, so I may be way off base here, but it's certainly different from standard American bread, and more moist.
posted by wintersweet at 12:57 PM on October 25, 2008


I saw Neville Staples' Specials recently. It was a banner evening.
posted by chuckdarwin at 5:41 PM on October 25, 2008




yeah, yeah, that may all be true, but the Specials still rule.
posted by caddis at 8:35 PM on October 25, 2008


Hell, most of the songs the second wave bands did were covers or reinterpretations.

True dat. I like The Specials, but how anyone could prefer their version of Longshot over The Pioneers original is a complete mystery to me.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 2:27 AM on October 26, 2008


Similarly, their version of Guns of Navarone over The Skatalites.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 2:34 AM on October 26, 2008


Or their version of Skinhead Moonstomp over Symarip's.

This is kind of bizzare though. Roy Ellis (Mr. Symarip) performing his biggest hit last year to a group of skinhead revivalists in Warsaw.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 2:44 AM on October 26, 2008


zennoshinjou: Dick Hebdige talks about this too in Subculture: The Meaning of Style. Although the book is about punk, he talks about some similar things.

Dick Hebdige actually wrote a book more specifically about West Indies music and its progeny (including Two-Tone) called Cut 'N' Mix.
posted by cobra libre at 11:18 AM on October 26, 2008


Bouncing back up a bit: I have no idea to what degree the Japanese identify ska with England, etc. (They definitely identify punk with the UK, at least visually.)

Japan's a diverse nation, and like any place that has constant contact with other cultures, there are bound to be some interesting groups that spring up and imitate or latch onto certain styles not found within their own country. For instance: reggae is also big in Japan, to the point where people attempt to look Jamaican not just with dreadlocks, but also with darkened skin.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:32 AM on October 28, 2008


True dat. I like The Specials, but how anyone could prefer their version of Longshot over The Pioneers original is a complete mystery to me.

That's actually the second "Longshot" song, a sequel to the original which was just called "Longshot" and was redone by The (English) Beat as "Jackpot", complete with horse-racing bugle call to start a song that now had nothing to do with horse racing.
posted by DecemberBoy at 2:09 PM on October 28, 2008


« Older God schmod. I want my monkey man.   |   And protected from witchcraft, too! Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post