Do The Dog Music
A Thoughtful Modern Twist on Old-Skool Ska.
To most people I know Ska starts and ends with Madness; although a few still ‘remember’ the Specials and…..sadly they run out of ideas at that stage.
But; there is still a very strong and vibrant British Ska scene bubbling under the surface and has been for over thirty years to my knowledge, playing to sold out halls (large and small) every weekend of the year; all of which can be found in the magnificent magazine Do The Dog who have been chronicling albums and gigs from around the world for many, many years.
Editor of Do The Dog, Kevin Flowerdew also has a popular, (but only occasional) Beat Combo all of his own too; The Bakesys, and I am still a proud owner of their 2011 debut album; funnily enough called….The Bakesys!
Due to popular demand (?) the original trio have finally pooled their pocket money and recorded this brand new EP.
Taking their lead from 60’s Jamaican Ska legends like The Skatalites, Tommy McCook and The Dragonaires The Bakesys’ ‘sound’ is a lot slower than the latter 2-Tone movement, and opening track Anything & Everything with it’s ‘tough times ahead’ and anti-austerity message sets the groove perfectly for what I want from my favourite Ska Band.
That theme carries through the next song, If You Ain’t Got It (You’ll Never Get It) and you quickly understand why the guys felt the need to write about what they see around their neighbourhoods every day; and the end result is well worth hearing……and spreading around.
I will nip past track #3; as it is my ‘favourite track’ and tell you about When The Zombies Come. Can you guess what it’s about? Yep; a couch potato who spends all day playing video games and The Bakesys warn him that he needs to up his game and get fit……because ‘when the zombies come/you better run Rudy run!’ Hahahahaha……it is what is and I likes it a whole lot.
The EP comes to a an all too swift conclusion with track #5 No Time For Counting Sheep; about the way many, many people feel these days with a work/sleep/work/sleep conundrum to make ends meet…..and the way the electric organ keeps going fuzzy really does represent the way I/we feel some days when you can’t remember if it’s Tuesday or Sunday!
Whoosh…..let’s slip back to track #3 Your 10ft Smile, easily my ‘favourite track’ here. In another life this tale of a ‘cheater’ being caught out on a gut-punch of a Broken-hearted love song, could have been a Country Song; but the Bakesys chunka-chunka Ska beat and judicious use of electronic effects makes it Classic Ska of the finest vintage.
Not only is MORE BAKESYS danceable; it most certainly is; but more importantly the guys have something to say about the state of the country (and world) and say it ever so eloquently.
Do the right thing……buy it; you won’t regret it.
Released October 2nd 2017
LIAR LIAR! GE2017 (Single)
I haven’t been this politicised since the cusp of the 1970’s and 80’s when my country was going to Hell in a handcart and me and mostly my family were collateral damage in Maggie Thatcher’s Broken Britain and I’m devastated to find the same and perhaps worse (Food kitchens!!!!!!!) conditions prevail in 2017.
I’ve been endlessly promoting the recordings of Quiet Loner who has put my political feelings and those of many of my friends in song.
Jump back to those heady days 40 years ago and one of our anthems was Stand Down Margaret by the Beat which quickly became the riotous encore at RAR and Support The Miners concerts, but more noticeably for me….. Geordie legends Arthur 2 Stroke and the Chart Commandos closed every show with it.
A couple of days ago a friend told me about this wonderful re-worded song by another Ska band ….Captain Ska.
As I type this LIAR LIAR! A cool Ska footstomper full of righteous indignation and razor sharp observations about the snivelling twists and turns from our new Illustrious Leader Theresa May (and featuring some of her snide sound bites) is on the cusp of the Top 40!
A little push from me urging you to squander 100 British penny’s on the download will surely get it into the charts and……onto mainstream radio! (Oh…all profits go to 2 great charities too so its a Win-Win situation)
Come on guys……you know it makes sense.
Released May 1st 2017
The Beat (featuring Ranking Roger)
Fresh Faced Reggae-Ska Fusion With a Bit of a Message Deep in the Grooves.
Ranking Roger has been proudly flying the Beat flag for many years now; and while the live shows feature all the original hits; ‘this’ band has actually developed and evolved their very own sound and songs over 30 years on the road.
The album opens with the infectious Walking on the Wrong Side; which carries the trademark Beat ‘chunka-chunka’ Reggae-Ska chops; and Roger’s voice has never sounded better on a tale of the dangers black youth face on a daily basis.
The skanking continues with a vengeance over the next couple of songs; but The Beat enter heavy Bluebeat territory on Avoid The Obvious; a marvellous song just crying out for a Heavy Dub remix…..in my humble opinion.
My copy doesn’t make it clear; but I presume the dancelicious Talkin’ About Her is a duet between Ranking Roger and son and heir Ranking Junior (aka Matthew Murphy) and it works a treat; brining a little bit of Jamaican sunshine into my damp Summer.
To some degree I wish Roger hadn’t released this album under The Beat franchise; as he is selling himself short because this is very much is ‘his album’ with tracks like Work, Work, Work and My Dream owing more to Orange Street than New Street; and being all the better for it.
The endearing Reggae-Ska beats and melodies on offer here are all as fresh as a daisy; and only ever offer a nod to the past, with My Dream being a great example of a band being as tight as a badgers bum and top producer Mick Lister bringing the very best out of the crew.
Favourite track? Walking on the Wrong Side is the obvious choice for a single; but I love the heavier Roots of Close The Door which bookends the album and again features Ranking Junior Toasting in between Ranking Roger’s sweet voice on some fairly hard hitting verses.
While the album flows along very sweetly; two songs do stand out – Side to Side and My Dream, with both having a slightly heavier sound; and when you read that they were mixed by the legendary Dennis Bovell you will nod knowingly….. and I wouldn’t mind him having a go at remixing the whole album; or is that being greedy?
While I had my reservations when I first received this album; Bounce has been a delight from start to finish and has rekindled my love for Ska and Reggae music…..thank you Roger.
PS. The first time I saw this version of The Beat a young band from Leeds were third on the bill, and were laughed off the stage by us cool kids for ‘trying too hard’……whatever happened to the Kaiser Chiefs?
Released September 30th 2016
The Cut Throat Razors
Motown’s Lost It’s Soul (EP)
Ska-Soul Hybrid With a Cutting Edge.
What is it with Scotland and Ska music? To my reckoning there are currently at least 6 excellent Ska bands currently plying their trade in the People’s Republic; each with between 6 and 10 members at any given time, loaded with songs and tunes to satisfy even the toughest of critics.
The Cut Throat Razors only crossed my radar via the Twitter when this EP was being advertised by Glasgow’s Love Music Record shop.
A message was sent and 48hrs later the shiny new CD was in my player and I shuffling my feet and bum in time to opening track Motown’s Lost it’s Soul.
Less a denunciation of the Motown Record label (although that would be fair) and more a sharply observed comparison between the decline in the Detroit motor industry and singer Scott Crawford’s home town of Paisley on the outskirts of Glasgow. Sadly the sentiment throughout this cool dance tune will resonate with far too many people in the UK Heartlands North of the M25. Play LOUD and often!
Losing my mind is a full on foot stomping floor-filler, with a killer bass line. There’s a story in there about unrequited love; but this is a song for a night out and bouncing around too with gay abandon.
Track three opens with some sparkling electric piano as the band breeze into another slice of uber-cool Ska with a hook that would snare Moby Dick. A modern day love song between two Mods and by far my favourite track here. Reminiscent of Secret Affair in their prime, by the way.
Politics comes back to the fore with the final cut here; A Beautiful Day. How can that be, with a title like that you ask? Well; dear reader this song was written the day after Lady Thatcher died. If that sentiment makes you feel uncomfortable you are reading the wrong website!
To the rest of us (Up North) its a glorious ode to the dawning of what we thought was going to be a New Era.
For what it’s worth the day that ‘the announcement’ was made I was sitting in a cafe in Mexborough, South Yorkshire when an old man burst in, and shouted to no one in particular “The witch is dead! Thatcher is dead!” I sat in amazement as the 6 or 7 people shook hands and hugged each other before I was drawn in; by deed of being a Durham Coal Miners son.
We have long memories; don’t we?
Four cool slices of Pop-Ska with a soulful underbelly; and all bodes well for a forthcoming album.
Released November 27th 2015