Tooth, Secret Weapon No More

Posted on June 10th, 2010 by JJ Loy

I’m not sure where I got my first copy of it- and I certainly didn’t know much about it once I had it.  What I did know was that this was digital ska gold.  This album I’m speaking of, this ska masterpiece that’s never been released in physical form, and hidden away from the world is Tooth-  and for years, it’s been my secret weapon.

I’ve dropped Running For The F-Train and Intello Punk on countless mix tapes, and Out Of The Fryin’ Pan and Banker have blown minds when played on Ska’s The Limit.  The response is always along the lines of, “Where’d you get this?,”  “Who was that band?,”  “Where can I get it?“  Until yesterday, I’d normally just smile and shake my head, “Oh that’s Da Whole Thing.  What you don’t have that?”

Da Whole Thing was a short-lived NY super-group and they were like the Sex Mob of Ska.  The group was the brain child of Patrick Carayannis and executed by some of the top names in US Ska, Victor Rice, Vic Ruggiero, Chris Murray and Agent Jay, so you don’t need to take my word for it.  Those of you that have been coming to Ska Blah Blah from the beginning might remember Da Whole Thing being a point of topic in the first series of podcasts.

Da Whole Thing’s first record, @Version City has been available online for several years, but Tooth has always been my preference- for it’s chaotic brilliance, it’s creepy humor and it’s sheer rarity.  Scratch that last one off the list, it’s time that Tooth was available to the masses, and time you got your hot little hands the mp3′s that have been my secret weapon for too long.

Whatevski Records, the online record shop that’s been dishing up Slackers bootlegs for almost a year now, is branching out.  Along with Tooth, Whatevski’s also hosting digi-downloads of The Great Rocksteady Swindle, and Mr. T-Bone’s Heroes- both available with drool-worthy bonus features.

Comments (1) Jun 10 2010

ReggaeTV knows their Ska

Posted on October 8th, 2009 by JJ Loy

I just discovered ReggaeTV.

Is it a video podcast?  An online TV show?  A collection of Reggae and Ska interviews?  I don’t know exactly, but it’s something like that.  In addition to interviews with such Reggae headliners, Owen Grey, Ras Michael and Steel Pulse- ReggaeTV also has a share of Ska coverage.

Two videos should be of particular interest to Ska Blah Blah readers, Vic Ruggiero and Chris Murray:

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I love Vic’s explanation of what he sees in Ska.  Plus, he makes a few comments about his father that add an interesting follow-up to the 2001 video I posted last week.

I’m also looking forward to checking out the episodes featuring Reggae historian, Roger Steffens and Heartbeat Records’ Chris Wilson.  Keep your eyes peeled for future episodes featuring Lee Perry and Tippa Irie.

Comments (0) Oct 08 2009

Ska Blah Blah Introduces Guest Blogging

Posted on December 8th, 2008 by JJ Loy

Hey kids-  In an attempt to include more voices and more opinions on this site, I’ve invited some of the most opinionated and knowledgeable folks in the scene to contribute to Ska Blah Blah.

The first of these is Victor Rice.  He was my first phone interview for the Conversations on a Revivalist Movement (even though Chris Murray got the first episode), and now he’s the first to submit for the Guest Blogging series.

Rice is going to be lending his sage-like wisdom to all the new bands that want to play ska- and they want to do it right, in a series he calls, So You’re Starting a Ska Band.  The first installment can be found in the post immediately preceding this one or by clicking here.

Keep coming back for more advice from the one, Victor Rice- and look forward to more Guest Bloggers in the very near future.  And, as always, your comments are more than welcome.

Comments (1) Dec 08 2008

Ska Oddity: The Notables

Posted on March 21st, 2008 by JJ Loy

I had noticed the disc, Quite Notable, in the Ska section of Vintage Vinyl since ’97. Despite the fun ska sticker on the cover and crazy named band members, I never ponied up the $13 that Vintage was charging for this mystery album. It wasn’t until last year that my buddy, Doug Morgan, from KDHX’s The Underworld, gave me a copy of this Skatalites influenced wonderfulness.

I was immediately disappointed in myself for letting such a great instrumental band slip through the cracks of my attention. Further research revealed that this “band” is actually a fantasy front for the two fellas behind the sound, and those crazy names are merely fiction. It’s an impressive feat to emulate an entire Ska-Jazz combo with only two musicians- and one that deserves comparisons to both Chris Murray and NYSJE.

Read More:

Comments (0) Mar 21 2008

Ska News To Me

Posted on December 13th, 2007 by JJ Loy

Here’s a quick rundown of a very busy week in the world of Ska:

After months without any new Slackers bootlegs, a new set hit the internet hit the internet like a cannonball. Recorded in Syracuse, NY on 11.15.07, the set has been dubbed Funk n’ Waffles, after the venue of the same name. I can attest to the live set’s quality, so feel safe clicking here for the .zip file, or here for the original post at Stubborn Records Forum.

Speaking of The Slackers, Dave Hillyard recently posted a very optomistic, State of the Scene-type blog post. What does he say? Ska is making a comeback. But you knew that. Link

This isn’t breaking news, but in light of Hillyard’s positive post, it serves proof of the scene’s recent strength. The popular series of Ska compilations, United Colors of Ska has just released their fourth installment, or 4.0. Much like my recent selections, the UCS folks have been using MySpace as the catalyst for finding new Ska music from around the world. Link

The Holidays are upon us (is Hanukkah really over, already?) and DC Ska is making it easy for you to find the perfect gifts for all the Ska Geeks on your list, with their handy Gift Guide. Link

Go Jimmy Go has gotten into the X-Mas mode, as well, giving us all the gift of a Holiday themed album, Holiday Hell Yeah. Link

Victor Rice is still bustin ass and maintaining his rep as the go to guy for all things Ska. Look for new recordings by Stingers ATX, Buford O’Sullivan, Chris Murray Combo, and Crazy Balhead (feat. Alex Desert, King Django, Steve Jackson, Bucket, and Vic Ruggiero) with Mr. Rice at the mixing board, next year. He’s also involved (to some degree) with a new Skatalites Live DVD.

It would seem that the rumors are sadly true, Lynette Knackstedt, founder and guitarist for Skankin’ Pickle died at the young age of 37. Here is the post where I found out. Here is Mike Parks personal blog post on the subject. And here is an odd turn of events effecting Lynette’s estate.

The other night, my roommate and all around cool guy, Jameson played about 6 Skankin Pickle songs for me and Dira at the 521A. We remarked at how long it had been since we played them. Jameson translated a few Korean lyrics for us. I commented at what a bad-ass guitarist the Pickle’s had. I would later learn that Lynette died sometime that evening. It was an eerie coincidence that my friends and I were missing Skankin Pickle while Knackstedt’s family was missing her.

Sources: DC Ska, Dancin Mood, Stubborn Forums, Asian Man Records, and Do the Dog Skazine

Comments (2) Dec 13 2007