The Skatalites Review
Every ska revival band owes a huge debt to The Skatalites. Their early 60s period helped create a blueprint for the genre, bringing brass and beats to countless classic upbeat anthems. Tonight, trilby-wearing skanksters gather at the Concorde2 as the city rolls out her chessboard checkered carpet to Kingston’s rocksteady musical pioneers.
They piece together a captivating tapestry of classic tracks such as ‘Guns Of Navarone’, ‘Ska Ska Ska’ and ‘James Bond’. ‘Latin Goes Ska’ is one of the many tracks that really get the crowd going but the venue is buzzing throughout the show.
‘Al Capone’ is a real treat for us Ska fans and we enjoy the opportunity to sing along to the track Prince Buster originally sang with the band in 1967. The song’s a reminder of all the collaborations they recorded back in the day.
After a separation of 18 years The Skatalites reformed in 1983 and have been playing together ever since. Sadly, the only original founding member is Lester Sterling on alto saxophone. However, the ten-piece have lost little of their verve since they toured Jamaica in 1964. They are arguably the true creators of ska and tonight they successfully hold their title high.
The guys do a cover of The Specials ‘A Message To You, Rudy’ – originally by Dandy Livingstone – which adds icing to the cake, and crowd participation during ‘Three Little Birds’ from the works of Bob Marley truly captures the mood of the moment. Every song is audio nourishment and it feels right to be here, it is a totally uplifting experience.
Concorde2, Sunday 20th May 2012