A Global Ska Sampler
Moon SKA NYC
Ska goes multi-cultural on Moon Ska’s latest compilation. Ska United is pretty much what its subtitle advertises, a sampler of 20 ska acts from around the world (actually 21, including the hidden track collaboration between Germany’s Skaos and Buster Bloodvessel of Brit 2 Tone veterans Bad Manners, covering Laurel Aitken’s classic “Sally Brown”). There’s a wide range of styles here, from the Bosstones-styled rock-ska of the Porkers’ (Australia) “Chemical Imbalance” to the always sublime Dr. Ring Ding and the Senior Allstars (Germany) with another fantastic traditional track, “Lord Have Mercy,” so there’s enough to please most anyone.
There are several interesting tracks here, including a live version of “Summertime” from the Busters (Germany), tasty traditional ska from Rocking Time (Japan) on “Kimi to Kakayoku (You Are My Girl)” and Intensified (England) on “Road Rage,” rollicking 2 Tone flavor from Liberator (Sweden) with “Mr. Wright” and Mark Foggo’s Skasters (Holland) with “Knifeman Jack,” an interesting dub-flavored remix of Bad Manners’ “That’ll Do Nicely,” the ska-punky Rude Bones (Japan) with “Where Are You Now?,” Slavic punk-ska from Russia’s Spitfire on “Mama Mia,” and the Hotknives (England) doing their best Madness impression on “In My Dreams.” The US is represented by two bands, one from each coast. New York’s ska kings the Toasters toss in the previously-released “Underground Town,” while Seattle’s Easy Big Fella contribute the brand-new “Big Guns Down.” Other represented nations include Denmark (Napoleon Solo), Spain (Dr. Calypso), Holland (Mr. Review), France (Spook & the Guay and Skaferlatine), and Brazil (Subtones). However, probably the biggest point in Ska United‘s favor is “Big 7,” a collaboration between Dr. Ring Ding and late British ska legend Judge Dread, one of the last tracks the Judge worked on before his untimely passing earlier this year.
It’s good to see such a wide variety of styles coming from such a diverse geography of bands. Ska United is proof that ska will continue to grow, evolve, and most importantly, remain healthy, for years to come. Moon SKA NYC, P.O. Box 1412, Cooper Station, New York, NY 10276; http://www.moonska.com