It's always difficult to pick a theme once we've visited an area several times musically. Klawitter has done an amazing job of finding new diversions to keep us on the path to musical nirvana. Somewhere in the back of my demented mind the leap from SA to SKA seemed like a mere flash of a synapse; of course it could just as easily have been a misfire, but I'll stick with it anyway since I love ska! Once again youtube is loaded with examples of somewhat obscure music, so let's start with a song by arguably the inventor of ska music: Prince Buster.
Prince Buster - Madness (via MetryRoad)
There were actually 3 periods of ska music; the Jamaican period, The 2Tone period, and the Later period which included American ska. Let's continue with more gems from the Jamaican beginnings of ska and feature a band that everyone will know from their considerable fame as Reggae artists. The Wailers were there early on as ska musicians and are here playing with the Skatalites who were famous as ska originators in the early years of the genre
The Wailing Wailers - Simmer Down (via ASF1990)
Having mentioned the Skatalites, I'd be remiss not to feature at least one of their songs; this little ditty was named after a cigar smoking bearded old revolutionary from a nearby island.
The Skatalites - Fidel Castro (via geniorojo07)
If I were a more linear person, I would proceed on to 2Tone ska named after the London studio that fostered such bands as Selecter, Madness, the Specials, and the Beat (who were known here as the English Beat). I think I'll leave that for others to post since I really want to stay in Jamaica (don't we all this time of year?) and cover the other aspect of music that was a precursor to reggae; rocksteady. As ska came out of roots in American R&B and popular music it was mostly covers of songs with a Jamaican rhythm added. Rocksteady was similar, but with african drum rhythms added and while it didn't last long at all, a year or so at most, it set the stage for this island country becoming a huge player on the world music stage! Let's start off with some rocksteady by the Nightingales.
The Nightingales - What A Situation (via BRIGADIERLION)
While the ska uptone is present, you can hear the beginnings of the reggae style starting to show. You'll note that most of this material was recorded on the Studio One label in 1967, this was the birth and death of rocksteady; biologically similar to the lifespan of a butterfly. Delroy Wilson went on to some small fame as a reggae artist, but this song is from his earlier work as a rocksteady musician
Delroy Wilson - I Am Not a King - Original Studio One 1967 (via RootsDaughter41926)
I don't believe that Alton Ellis had any real career in reggae, but he did well in this genre. Here he performs "Breaking up is hard to do".
Alton Ellis - Breaking up is hard to do-Studio One Reggae (via funko92)
The last of the rocksteady links is a tune by the Techniques, this time on the Treasure Isle label.
The Techniques - Love Is (not) A Gamble - rocksteady 1967 (via pablowkingstoned)
So there you have it; my small venture into island music that may help to keep a smile on our faces in this Groundhog Day of a season. Post your favorite ska, rocksteady, or reggae music even if it's not from Jamaica (TMiss, with your youtube issues gone, have at it!). Klaw, thanks for keeping this thing going through all the ups and downs of this season, your efforts are much appreciated. Tim, this one's for you!