We had a terrific gig at Croydon’s Oval tavern last night.
The pub was packed, and there were people dancing almost all the way through both our sets.
We took the opportunity to try out four new numbers:
My Baby just cares for me, which although a song from the 1930s will always be associated with Nina Simone. But while sme may not have been aware of it, it is very definitely a ska rhythm going on in her right hand.
London Calling – there’s lot of reggae and ska influences in the Clash, but perhaps not so much in the original of this. Now it is ska.
Hall of the Mountain King is from the Peer Gynt Suite by Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg. We thought turning this into a ska tune was wildly imaginative – and then we found that Madness had done a version.
Come Dancing is a great Ray Davies song that was a hit for the Kinks. We just like it a lot.
Each seemed to get a good reaction from the crowd, which is not always the case. Sometimes something can sound good at rehearsal and then be a bit of a flop.
This is what we played in our two sets. And we hope it won’t be too long before we get invited back.
We spent yesterday in the recording studio and laid down five tracks.
Thanks to Andy at RMS studios for helping make it a productive day.
It’s our first time in a proper studio. Earlier recordings – including our cd – have been diy affairs. And while we were pleased with those, it was so much easier using a proper studio with great acoustics, good equipment – including microphones well outside our budget, and someone else operating the controls with both good ears and years of experience at getting good recordings.
It also meant that we were able to play as live. In the past we have always had to record the rhythm section first and then add horns and vocals as overdubs. But yesterday we were able to get down Latin goes Ska, all playing together, on the second take at the end of the day when we were running out of time.
The tracks we recorded were:
The Tide is High
Latin goes Ska
Now comes the slower job of mixing and mastering, but another advantage of having a great recording to start with is that this is much easier than with less upmarket equipment.
We also have some video, though that was a lower priority, and hope to have enough to put together one of us playing Tainted Love.
We played five new songs at our first gig of the year at the always great Dumplins Live Ska last night at the Fiddler’s Elbow in Camden.
That is almost half the set.
Brave, foolish or what?
This is what we played.
Latin Goes Ska
Harder They Come
Man In The Street
Tide Is High
Johnny Too Bad
Our first new song was The Harder they Come, first sung by Jimmy Cliff for the film of the same name. And while it is absolutely of Jamaica of the 1960s, its rhythm cannot easily be described as ska or rocksteady.
The Tide is High is probably best known today through the Blondie cover (or even that by Atomic Kitten), but was first sung by the Paragons – a fine rocksteady group.
Johnny Too Bad has also been covered by very many people. The John Martyn version is good, but very far from the original by the Slickers – also on the soundtrack of The Harder they Come.
Paranoid comes from our bonkers covers book. We think we may be the first band to give this a ska treatment.
Pata Pata is of course from the great Miriam Makeba. The reformed Skatalites did an instrumental version of this, which gave us the idea. It is likely to be the only song we do in Xhosa.