Music Banter

Music Banter (
-   Reggae & Ska (
-   -   The Ska Education Thread (

Muzak 02-14-2006 11:22 AM

The Ska Education Thread

A Short History of Ska
Ska is dance music, first and foremost. Ska is a form of Jamaican music which began in the early 1960’s. In the UK, ska was also known as *blue beat* music. *Rocksteady*, and later, *reggae* sprang from the loins of ska in the late 1960s. Mid-1970s and 1980s/1990s revivals of this popular dance form have kept this music alive and fun through the present. The ska beat on drums and bass, rhythm guitar, lots of horns and maybe a Farfisa or Hammond organ -- that's the ska sound.
Musical historians typically divide the history of ska into three waves. Ska's popularity has waxed and waned since its original inception, and has had revivals of note in England in the 1980s and another wave of popularity in the 1990s.
First Wave
After World War II, Jamaicans purchased radios in increasing numbers and were able to hear American R&B from southern cities like New Orleans, Louisiana, whose artists (such as Fats Domino) had the most influence on early ska. To meet the demand for such music, entrepreneurs like Prince Buster, Clement "Coxsone" Dodd, and Duke Reid formed sound systems, portable discotheques which appeared at dances and other gatherings. Sound system operators were able to obtain records from Miami and New Orleans, and these records were hot commodities in Jamaica. Often, these sound system operators removed labels from the most popular records in order to enjoy a monopoly on the best-liked tunes and draw the most customers.
Throughout the 1960's the ghetto areas of Jamaica were filling up with youths looking for work that did not exist. These youths felt excluded and did not share in the optimism of early ska roots. These youths drew group identity as 'Rude Boys' (a term, by the way, that originated from a much earlier period: 1940s). Being Rude was a means of being somebody when society was telling you were nobody. The way the Rude Boys danced the ska was different as well: slower with a menacing posture. The rude boys connected with the scofflaws and the underworld... those who lived outside the laws, and this was reflected in the lyric of the music. (Side Note: The Rude boy outfitting was customarily pants that were way to short... a style could still be seen in the 1980's by English Beat Toaster Ranking Roger) Ska music once again changed to reflect the mood of the rude with more tension in the bass as apposed to the previous free-walking bass style.
Some believe that the early jazz and rock 'n' roll broadcasts from American radio stations were misinterpreted by an eager Jamaican music audience, hence the off-beat rhythms that almost mimicked the break up of weak radio signals that hit the West Indian shores. Others consider ska not a misinterpretation but its own response to American music. The sound of ska was created at facilities like Studio One and WIRL Records in Kingston, Jamaica, by producers like Dodd, Reid, Prince Buster, and Edward Seaga (later Jamaica's prime minister). The upbeat sound of ska coincided with the celebratory feelings surrounding Jamaica's independence from the U.K. Bands like Rico Rodriguez ,Ernest Ranglin, Don Drummond, Lord Tanamo, Prince Buster, and The Wailers, and the Skatalites were formed, moving people with their new style of combining American jazz with reggea. The Skatalites are known to be one of the most influencial ska bands in history. They made ska known to the world. In 1962, an event commemorated by ska songs such as Derrick Morgan's "Forward March" and the Skatalites' "Freedom Sound".
Second Wave
In the 1970's the Rude Boy ideals were revitalized and expressed in the fusion of reggae and punk. The Two Tone (or 2 Tone) era was named after the similarly titled record label, formed by Jerry Dammers, keyboardist of The Specials. The band was formulated from the greatly diverse West Midlands region of England in the late 1970s, with bands such as The Beat and The Selecter in support of the scene. The Two Tone movement pushed towards racial unity, and was symbolized by a black and white checkerboard pattern. The black and white suits often accompanied by a pork pie hat. Bands formed all over the U,K such as Madness and Bad Manners in 1976, The Selecter in 1977, and The Bodysnatchers in the early 80’s. The Toasters appeared in the early 80’s but is controversially considered Third Wave since they are from the U.S as oppose to the British Two Tone of the Second Wave. Although Two Tone ska did not hide its musical roots and was not afraid to cover some of the great older songs, it definitely had a sound of its own. Two Tone recordings are characterized by faster tempos, fuller instrumentation and a harder edge than original 50's and 60’s ska. The branches that stem from the influence of some of these ska bands are long reaching, a number of bands like The Police, The Clash, and Elvis Costello mention ska music as being incredibly important in their musical background and the number of bands that were influenced by bands such as those goes on and on. Two Tone bands may have been the most popular from 1978-85 however they were not the only ones playing ska. Others included The Tigers, Ska City Rockers, The Akrylykz (with Roland Gift on Tenor Sax who later joined ex-english beat members Cox and Steele as singer for Fine Young Cannibals), The Employees, The Pirahnas, and many more....
Third Wave
Beginning in the late 1980s and gaining popularity in the early 1990s, the third wave of ska moved across the Atlantic Ocean and became hugely popular in the United States. Combining elements of ska with rock, punk, hardcore, and jazz, musicians of the third wave created a new style of ska. Ska punk and skacore, sub-genres of the third wave, make up a majority of this genre.
Some of the most popular and long lasting third wave ska bands include Fishbone, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Reel Big Fish, The Aquabats, Catch 22, Rx Bandits, Mustard Plug, Buck-O-Nine, and Operation Ivy. .
In recent years, ska has attempted to make a comeback. After the major ska surge of the 90's, the third wave ska movement died, only to be found rekindling in new bands, both ska and ska punk in the 2000s such as Big D and the Kids Table, The Taj Motel Trio, High School Football Heroes, Perfect Orange, Long Shot Hero, Too Short Notice and older bands that are now making a comeback The Planet Smashers, The Toasters, and Slow Gherkin.

The plain traditional version, most of the true ska bands are from the first and second wave.
Examples Include: Prince Buster, The Wailers, The Skatalites, and Eric "Monty" Morris.

Reggae may be used in a broad sense to refer to most types of Jamaican music, including ska, rocksteady, dub, Dancehall and Regga. Characteristically, this beat is slower than in reggae's precursors, ska and rocksteady.
Examples Include Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Matisyahu, Prince Far I, and Toots & the Maytals.

Rocksteady was a style of music that developed out of ska in the 1960s. In its simplest terms, rocksteady is half-speed ska with the trombone replaced by piano and prominent bass.
Examples IncludeThe Techniques, The Termites, Phyllis Dillon, The ***lads, and The Melodians.

Dub is a form of Jamaican music, which evolved out of ska and reggae in 1970s Jamaica. The dub reggae sound includes adding extensive echo and reverb effects to an existing music piece, sometimes accompanied by snatches of the lyrics from the original version.
Examples Include King Tubby, Augustus Pablo, Mad Professor, Lee "Scratch" Perry and Scientist

Two Tone
Coming from the Second Wave, Two Tone Ska became big in the U.K during the late 70's to late 80's. It combines European Punk with the traditional Ska sound usually with Horns and/or Keyboard.
Examples Include: The Specials, Madness, Bad Manners, Go-Feet, The Beat, and The Selecter.

Ska Punk/Core
Ska punk is a musical genre derived as a fusion of Jamaican ska and British and American punk rock. It can range from "Pop" Ska Punk to Hardcore Ska Punk (or skacore). It is a sub-genre of third-wave ska.
Examples include: Catch 22, Operation Ivy, Voodoo Glow Skulls, The Flatliners, The Toasters, and Against All Authority, Reel Big Fish, The Aquabats, Less Than Jake.

Muzak 02-14-2006 03:55 PM

Since Ska isn't a genre well known (well not as other genres) I decided to post some songs from various Ska bands. *Warning: Some Songs swear and stuff so if you don't like that kind of stuff then piss off and dont click the links*

Reel Big Fish- Somebody Hates Me

Less Than Jake- Automatic

Insyders- Jigsaw

The Specials- Blank Expression

The Skatalites- Golden Love

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones- Devil's Night Out

sleepy jack 02-14-2006 04:21 PM

Skacore is like Against All Authority, and Less Then Jake is barely ska, more like pop-punk with horns. Christian music is a catergory not a genre, you completely missed bands like Leftover Crack and No Cash. I think you should've done a bit more research because alot of it is mislabeled and or totally wrong. I will give you this aside from those errors, its well written and its done good.

bungalow 02-14-2006 04:26 PM

Does he really have to include every band that fits into each of the sub genres he outlined?

Muzak 02-14-2006 07:09 PM


Originally Posted by RazorsInTheNight
It's not his fault he doesn't want to add crap bands.

I have heard you are an expert on Ska, do you approve on my summery?:)

hookers with machineguns 02-15-2006 07:29 AM

You really need to bulk up the first & second wave with more bands and history. The third wave and skacore/skapunk/christian stuff needs to get cut down by quite a bit or just rid of all the wrong idea. It needs to be about the origins, otherwise no one will learn anything from this.

hiu 02-15-2006 11:55 AM

Indeed, you only mentioned a few bands in each of the first and second wave histories.

deadkennediespunk 02-17-2006 05:34 PM


Originally Posted by RazorsInTheNight
It's not his fault he doesn't want to add crap bands.

whats wrong with leftover crack :(

hiu 02-17-2006 07:29 PM


Originally Posted by Muzak
If that is what everybody feels then so be it. Mods go ahead and take down this thread.
:jailed: I am sorry, I have failed you all.

Don't worry, it's better than the hardcore/emo thread.

hiu 02-17-2006 08:44 PM

The bottom stuff in red should just be edited out. Otherwise it's good enough for anyone interested in getting into ska.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:11 AM.

© 2003-2022 Advameg, Inc.