Joint Ventures in Ska
by Grant Thayer
Another compilation to check out. What’s so special about this one? Well, for starters, this compilation is a tribute to marijuana (or was the title just a little difficult for all you stoners?). There are a lot of big-names here: The Selecter, Bim Skala Bim, Bad Manners, Scofflaws, Buck O Nine, Magadog, Porkers, Judge Dread, Mudsharks, Johnny Socko, and Skinnerbox NYC, among others. The one drawback is that a couple of these songs can be found on other comps. That said, this CD flows very smoothly, from the first light of the EZ-Wider to the last bit of the roach, with no coughing and no seeds. The homegrown (Boston) influence is quite heavy, especially with Bim Skala Bim producing some tracks right in their studio, as well as appearing on other bands’ cuts (as did Django from Skinnerbox/Stubborn All-Star fame). The Scofflaws (w/ Django toasting) start the buzz off with a very smooth “Grazin In The Grass” that makes you wish you could roll as nicely as the keyboards melt in with the horns. Next toke is Daddy Long Legs from Michigan (w/ Vinny from Bim on T-bone) on “Search and Seizure,” which opens with a police radio dispatch requesting a canine unit. You’ll probably be getting the munchies right around Steady Earnest‘s “Skin It Up,” which has a phat-phat 11-piece horn section. Unfortunately, the production is stretched a little thin for all the horns. (Still really makes me wish Steady Earnest would play live again!) Another original production is Bim Skala Bim’s “Legalization,” which is a great double-horn-led, mostly-instrumental song. Right about the time you’re ready to spark up another, along come two big songs from the other side of the Atlantic. The Hotknives‘ “Skin Up Harry” and The Selecter‘s “My Collie (not a dog)” were both recorded live and make for a skanking finale. Even if you don’t smoke, you should definitely check this out for the exclusive cuts. I especially like the innovative scratch & sniff picture of the plant inside the jewel case! Still trying to guess what kind that is….
(DVS Media, 321 South Huntington Ave #1, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130)