Ska Oddity: The Terrorists (NYC)

Posted on February 19th, 2008 by JJ Loy

Here’s another of those “bands that time forgot”. When we tell the story of Ska we tell how the Two Tone movement revolved around the UK in the late 70′s- we say that the US had very little interest in the sound until years later, when the likes of The Toasters and Fishbone hit the scene- we tell a story that isn’t inaccurate, just incomplete.

What would you say if you learned that a New York band was playing Traddy Ska and Roots Reggae before anyone had even heard of The Specials? They were called The Terrorists and you can still hear their original material compiled by ROIR records.


The number one band playing reggae, ska, dub and punk on the East Coast, particularly New York City, were Terrorists. They were regularly gigging in N.Y.C. at Max’s Kansas City, CBGBs, Irving Plaza, Mudd Club, Hurrah, Tramps, the 80′s. Their unique punky, reggae, dub, ska were in great demand….

Because of the involvement of Lee “Scratch” Perry, who traveled with and fronted the Terrorists over 20 years ago, and the many tracks with Roland Alphonso of the Skatalites, also from 20 years ago, this is an important slice of reggae, ska, punk, dub from Manhattan in the late ’70′s. This is an historic document with material that is absolutely marvelous and unique. It puts a totally new perspective on reggae in Manhattan evenings during that period just before Marley was breaking through internationally with “Exodus” and brought reggae to a new tidal wave.

You can get the CD at Amazon, CD Baby and eMusic.

Comments (0) Feb 19 2008

Ska Online: NPR hearts Jamaican Music

Posted on November 16th, 2007 by JJ Loy

Maybe you are already a fan of NPR. For those of you that aren’t- that’s National Public Radio. Think PBS, only radio. My love of NPR began with shows like Car Talk and This American Life, and has since grown to include the core of Public Radio’s musical programing. Shows like, American Routes and World Cafe offer listeners music and context that steer towards ethnic, traditional and revivalist styles and away from commercial influence.

Links of Interest:

Live Performance:
LIVE NOW: Toots and the Maytals in Concert
Dave Wakeling: Ska and The English Beat
Lily Allen in Concert with The Bird and The Bee
NPR’s All Things Considered: The Slackers

Ska Cubano

Gypsy Punk Group Gogol Bordello in Concert
Fishbone Flies the Black Rock Flag High
Jackie Mitto: Infectious, Philly-Style Soul, by Way of Jamaica
Ska Cubano: A Parallel Musical Universe
Bob Marley’s Music and Magic Endure
Bob Marley and the Culture of Reggae
Music Review: ‘Mento Madness’ from Various Artists
Jamaican Independence Day

Desmond Dekker, the ‘King of Ska’
Remembering Reggae Pioneer Coxsone Dodd

Comments (2) Nov 16 2007

Cut the Chit Chat – 05 -Ska Demos

Posted on October 23rd, 2007 by JJ Loy

This Episode of Cut the Chit Chat isn’t the pretteiest or the most accessible; I’ve made- but it’s one that I’ve been dying to make for a long time. The reason being that I’m an amateur tape trader, and I get very few excuses to show off some of my rare stuff.

If you put up with the raw mixes and the loud hisses, you’ll be rewarded with alternate takes and a backwards engineered reflection of the recording process.

The introduction to the show features what can’t be aptly described as a demo, but is just as scratchy and hard to find, as anything else in the show- Bob Marley’s Rudie Cut. I started the first set off with three rare Slackers tracks that embody their early Two-Tone style, including the earliest version of You Don’t Know I, that I’ve ever heard. I keep the sound in NY for the next couple of demos by Mephiskapheles: Doomsday and My Three Favorite Americans. The first set ends with tracks from Fishbone and The Toasters, respectively. These tracks aren’t exactly rare, but might serve as a curiosity to those who haven’t heard them before.

The next set kicks off with the Violent Femmes’ Reggae-licious demo of Please Don’t Go (compare this to the original studio version to note the progress of this amazing bass solo). A pair of Hepcat demos follows, early cuts of Nigel and Take Dat. Although, these versions have never been released, you’ll find a lot of Hepcat fans already have these tracks on their ipods. The 7 Song Demo that Hepcat made for Moon Records is standard fare for Ska bootleggers. Following right behind comes some early Specials, or rather, The Coventry Automatics. This (hornless) version of Dawning of a New Era has been released dozens of times, but is very much a rough outline of the track we all know and love. And much the same could be said of the next demo track by The Clash, Rudie Can’t Fail from the Vanilla Tapes- not hard to find, but not quite ready for the big leagues.

The final tracks are what I believe will be of most interest to my listeners- but first, a bit of history: I’m sure many of you remember when the first Give ‘em the Boot compilation dropped. Nearly every track on that $5 cd was steller, but one song stood out over all the others, in my opinion. The Silencers’ Policeman was that song- ghostly and urban, the sound was very Two-Tone, faster than The Slackers but not as Punky as Rancid. The liner notes confirmed that this was a team up between Vic Ruggiero and Tim Armstrong, and promised a forthcoming album. Years go by and still no sign of a Silencers record. Ruggiero mentions in an interview, that an albums worth of songs were, in fact, recorded an are just waiting for some attention, but also, to not hold our breath. Then, about two years ago, I found (through a P2P service) a folder labeled, Life Won’t Wait Demos. Sure enough, many of the files were early demos of songs that would end up on Life Won’t wait, but the last few in the folder were unique. They would never become Rancid songs, and they featured Ruggiero more prominently. I believe this session, the Life Won’t Wait demos, to be all there is to The Silencers rumor. But please correct me if I’m wrong. This also reconfirmed a theory of mine, that Ruggiero had a great deal of influence on Rancid’s Life Won’t Wait. To finish the show, I picked two tracks from these bootlegs, the demo for Policeman and a much lower-fi version of the Rancid B-side, Brad Logan.

Also, check out the previous episode, Ska Rap, to hear another Silencer Sessions cut, Express Yourself (an NWA cover).

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Comments (2) Oct 23 2007

Ska Online: Internet

Posted on October 8th, 2007 by JJ Loy

I’ve been into live set trading since posted a link to The Slackers 01-01-01 show. That was back when About Ska was still vital, and it had yet to be incorporated into And for a while, SoulSeek was the place to find and trade live ska sets. But these days, if you want to find or share live recordings, is the site to go to. Find the artist you like, review the set on the provided flash player, and pick your compression method, download freely and you are good to go. uses online tools to collect any kind of info that has fallen out of copyright. Old films and websites are compiled here, but its the Live Music Archive that I’m concentrating on, today.

Here’s some sets of interest:

The Allstonians from 1996
Camper Van Beethoven from 1985
The Toasters (2 shows)
Fishbone (5 shows)
The Slackers (3 shows)

Dub Trio (9 shows)
Dub is a Weapon (8 shows)
Antibalas (24 shows)
Giant Panda Guerrilla Dub Squad (8 shows)
Matisyahu (94 shows)

This is several days worth of listening, and I’m sure that there’s more to be found. Browse by band and find what I didn’t.

PS – The archived link to was provided by’s Wayback Machine.

Comments (0) Oct 08 2007