I ran across this mixtape podcast and the DJ’s name immediately struck me as familiar. After digging a little deeper, I found that the man in question, DJ Wade, was a Ska and Reggae jockey for a St. Louis college radio station, and toured with the STL’s own Isaac Green and The Skalars. You might also recognize his name from his dub version of the Skalar’s Don’t Count, which appeared on the Bang Soundtrack.
His podcasts are literally mixtapes, which he made in 1995- ripped, encoded and organized by side. They lean towards Roots Reggae, Dub and Dancehall, and he knows a lot about where his various riddims come from. Link to DJ Wade’s Reggae Mixtapes
If you aren’t familiar with the Skalars (or it’s earlier incarnation, Isaac Green and the…) then hot tail it over to Amazon for a cheap used copy of either of their albums. They were the best local Ska band during my youth, and raised the bar considerably for the marching-band turned-ska-band wannabes that flooded the STL scene in the 90′s.
However, their tempos were often too fast to be considered First Wave revivalists, like their colleagues in Cali, Jump With Joey and Ocean 11. Still, their lack of power chords and abandonment of any punk elements set them apart from the Ska-Rockers that shared their bill. They weren’t doing the Big Band-Ska thing, but there were some Swing elements to their approach. Many of their songs could be considered Rocksteady, but bursts of tempo changes and heavy horn solos prevent them from being strictly so.
They were college kids who, while trying to figure out how to play this music got signed to Moon and hit the ground running. The resulting sound was completely unique, Rootsy Ska played on the banks of the Mississippi in the last years of the 20th Century.
Link to Keep on Keepin’ on With IGATS (a documentary of the Skalars tour of the West Coast)
Link to The Skalars video for the single, High School
Comments (0) Feb 28 2008