Rude Roots

pauline7

Here is a photo I took of the gorgeous and talented Pauline Black on September 14th, 2013 at RiotFest in Chicago where Selecter performed. She is amazing, her vocal range is impressive and what a show-woman! Because my blog focuses on the foundation of ska, I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about the link between bands like Selecter and the others of the 2Tone era with the roots of ska.

During their set, Pauline and Gaps sang some of their classics that brought the Jamaican foundation into the UK in the 1980s, and by performing them on stage today, they still are reminding the next generation of the foundation. “Carry Go Bring Come” was a Justin Hinds original, trombone solo by Don Drummond, of course, and what a masterful one it is! “Too Much Pressure” included a little segue into “Pressure Drop,” the Toots Hibbert classic. Plenty of 2Tone bands paid homage to their ancestors and breathed new life into these tunes.

Why did they do this? Well, first of all, they liked the sound. When the West Indian immigrants ventured over to what they thought were greener pastures on ships like the Windrush, the immigrants brought with them their culture and their music. This music, when played at house parties or clubs in the West Indian neighborhoods, was a way to remember home, a force of comfort in the land where rental signs brazenly stated they weren’t welcome–No Irish No Blacks No Dogs. Unemployment was rampant and white working-class youth suffered the effects. They lived in the neighborhoods where the West Indian immigrants played their songs from home, and so the sound leapt into new ears and was seen through new eyes. The message was the same–pressure, oppression, racism, struggle–but the sound was changed, blended with the British genres that surrounded this era–punk, rock, pop.

Styles were also adopted and adapted–scooters, hats, sharp suits, shortened pants with white socks and black shoes. And the culture was adored too–the rude boy, which was actually a very dangerous and deadly gangster in Jamaica, was turned into a badass in Britain, a character.

The following is a list of either cover songs or interpretations of Jamaican originals released on the 2Tone label. Since the days of 2Tone, the tradition to cover or be inspired by the Jamaican ska greats has produced thousands of songs:

The Specials:

Gangsters, inspired by Al Capone by Prince Buster

A Message to You Rudy by Dandy Livingstone

Too Much Too Young, inspired by Birth Control by Lloyd Charmers

Guns of Navarone by The Skatalites

Longshot Kick De Bucket by The Pioneers

Liquidator by Harry J Allstars

Skinhead Moonstomp by Symarip

Rude Boys Outa Jail inspired by Rude Boy Gone A Jail by Desmond Baker & The Clarendonians

Too Hot by Prince Buster

Monkey Man by Toots & The Maytals

Stupid Marriage inspired by Judge Dread by Prince Buster

You’re Wondering Now by Andy and Joey and later The Skatalites

Enjoy Yourself by Prince Buster

Madness:

The Prince inspired by Earthquake by Prince Buster

Madness by Prince Buster

One Step Beyond by Prince Buster

 

The Beat:

Ranking Full Stop inspired by Pussy Price by Laurel Aitken

 

The Selecter:

Everyday (Time Hard) by The Pioneers

My Boy Lollypop inspired by Barbie Gaye and later Millie Small

Carry Go Bring Come by Justin Hinds

Murder by Leon & Owen & Drumbago All Stars

 

The Bodysnatchers:

(People Get Ready) Lets Do Rocksteady by Dandy Livingstone

Too Experienced by Winston Francis

007 by Desmond Dekker

 

Rico:

Oh Carolina by The Folkes Brothers

Easy Snappin’  by Theophilus Beckford

Do The Reload inspired by Green Island by Don Drummond

Don’t Stay Out Late by Lord Creator

That Man Is Forward inspired by Joker by The Duke Reid Group

* Source: “Under the Covers.” 2-tone.info/articles/covers2.html