The World of Reggae Music: Two-Tone Ska

The World of Reggae Music

Two-Tone Ska

The Jam-Tex selector presents a new chapter in the Wolrd of Reggae Music Collection on the second wave of Ska Music called “Two-Tone Ska” or “2-Tone.”

The Jam-Tex selector has been working on a study and organization of the essential tracks of reggae music called The World of Reggae Music Collection.” The selector invites others to comment on the selected tracks and to join in on the conversation about the history of reggae music.  This collection of singles began with the greatest roots reggae hits in categories entitled: “Reggae’s Superstars: The Lions of Jah” and “Reggae’s Superstars: The Lion Youth.”

Now the selector moves back in time to the roots of reggae, exploring the greatest singles from the ska tradition. Please feel free to suggest your favorite singles. The examination of the ska genre included a focused study on the founders of ska music from the late 1950s to the 1960s called: “The Ska Originals.” This posts explores the Two-Tone Skamovement of the 1970s and 1980s often called the second wave of ska music. A future post will focus on Third Wave Ska music that fused ska and elements of punk rock music.

Two-Tone (2-Tone) ska music emerged  out of Great Britian during the 1970s and 1980s. English lads played Jamaican music, including ska, rocksteady, and early reggae music, often immitating, adapting, and appropiating the music of the Caribbean islands. It reminds me of the ways in which Southern white Americans (Elvis “The King” Presley, Jerry Lee “The Killer” Lewis, Johnny “The Man in Black” Cash, etc.) and even British bands (The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, etc.) immitated and transformed the rhythm and blues of African-American musicians. In a similiar fashion the working-class kids of England found something compelling about Afro-Caribbean musical forms, especially ska and reggae music. I personally think they found something honest and soulful in the music. But most importantly it moved them in new and interesting ways.

The Specials stick out as the prime example of this Second Wave musical movement. Some Jamaican artists crossed over into this genre riding both the original and first wave, and also the second wave in England. Desmond Dekker, one of the orignators of ska music, found himself participating in the second wave touring throughout the UK. The Untouchables, the Bad MannersBig Five, the Toasters, King HammondSelecter, and Mark Foggo’s Skasters are all representative  artists of the second wave. Some big U.K. pop stars participated in this second wave ska movement including the Beat, Madness, and even the legendary Elvis Costello cut a few 2-tone ska tracks.

The Jam-Tex selector proudly presents…

The World of Reggae Music Collection

Two-Tone Ska

The Specials – Rudi, A Message To You

Maroon Town – Average Man

Madness – Our House

The English Beat – Mirror in the Bathroom

Riffs – These Things

Selector – On My Radio

The Loafers – Everyday

Elvis Costello & the Attractions – Watching the Detectives

Rico – Sea Cruise

Madness – One Step Beyond

Big 5 – Live Injection

Maroon Town – City Riot

King Hammond – King Hammond Shuffle

Madness – The Prince

Judge Dread – Reggae and Ska

Selector – James Bond

The Specials – Ghost Town

Madness – Madness

Ska Boys – Norwegian Wood Disco

Selector – Train to Skaville

Rico – Carolina

The English Beat – Ranking Full Stop

Madness – Bed and Breakfast Man

Bad Manners – Wooly Bully

King Hammond – Skaville UK

The English Beat – The Tears of a Clown

Judge Dread –  Big 8

Laurel Aitken & Potato 5 – Blue Beat Suit

Madness – Night Boat to Cairo

Special Beat – Rough Rider

Big 5 – Skinhead Love Affair

The Specials – Monkey Man

Madness – Rockin’ In A Flat

Elvis Costello – I Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down

The English Beat – Save It For Later

Mark Foggos Skasters – Hello

Judge Dread – Big 9

Madness – Swan Lake

International Beat – Magical Feeling

Potato 5 – Do The Jerk

The Loafers – Laughing Loafer

Madness – Grey Day

Riffs – One Egg (Nevilles Breakfast)

The Specials – Too Hot

The Toasters – Flight of the Bumble Bee

Bad Manners – Lip Up Fatty 

Madness – House of Fun

Mark Foggos Skasters – Skadansk

International Beat – Hands Off She’s Mine

Madness – My Girl

Bad Manners – Can Can (Live)

International Beat – Mirror in the Bathroom (Version 2)

Madness – It Must Be Love

Special Beat – Ranking Full Stop (Live)

Madness – Cardiac Arrest

NEED

  1. The Specials Maggie’s Farm
  2. Rico – Jungle Music
  3. BodysnatchersPeople Do Rock Steady
  4. Swinging Cats – Montavoni
  5. Apollinaires – Envy the Love
  6. SelectorThe Whisper
  7. UntouchablesFBI (I Spy For The)
  8. Bad Manners My Girl Lollipop
  9. Desmond Dekker & the Specials Take It Easy
  10. LoafersIt’s So Easy
  11. Selector – Too Much Pressure
  12. The Riffs Blind Date
  13. The UntouchablesBe Alright
  14. Judge Dread – Big Seven
  15. Mark Foggos Skasters – Captain Skarlet
  16. Coventry Automatics – Concrete Jungle
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The World of Reggae Music: Two-Tone Ska

The Human Nature of Michael Joseph Jackson

Smokey Robinson opened the service reading condolence letters from Diana Ross and Nelson Mandela. Watching the Michael Jackson memorial I was struck by Mariah Carey’sI’ll Be There.” And then Queen Latifah read a poem “We Had Him” written about Michael Jackson by the famed poet Maya Angelou. Lionel Richie performed “Jesus Is Love.” Berry Gordy of Motown Records gave a stirring memorial detailing how little Michael Jackson blew him away in Detroit as part of the Jackson 5 and then blew him away again with the moonwalk at the 25th anniversary of Motown Records when Michael broke off on his own and went solo with “Billie Jean (Single Version).” Gordy called him “simply the greatest entertainer that ever lived.” Following Gordy, Stevie Wonder made his way to the piano to thunderous applause and performed “Never Dreamed You’d Leave In Summer.”

Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson addressed the crowd. Magic Johnson recalled his experience starring in the “Remember The Time” video and sharing a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken with Michael Jackson. Magic thanked Jackson for “opening doors” for African Americans across the world. Jennifer Hudson then performed “Will You Be There.” Al Sharpton spoke of the working-class Jackson family with nine children coming up and out of Gary, Indiana and Michael Jackson’s ability to breakdown racial barriers. “There’s nothing strange about your Daddy” Sharpton told the children of Michael Jackson, and then he thanked Michael Jackson for never stopping.

John Mayer performed “Human Nature” letting his guitar lead the song. After the weeping guitar solo Brooke Shields spoke of her friendship and bond with Michael Jackson. Shields claimed Michael Jackson’s favorite song was “Smile” written by Charlie Chaplin. Jermaine Jackson then performed a heartfelt soulful rendition of “Smile.” Bernice King and Martin Luther King III, the children of Martin Luther King, Jr, remembered Michael Jackson and spoke of loss and of the way that Michael Jackson reached out to Coretta Scott King. United States Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee of Houston, Texas spoke of the healing power of music making me proud once again to be a TEXAN. She talked about the message in Michael’s music. “Beat It (Single Version)” was about beating the violence and “Man In The Mirror” asked men and women to really take a look in the mirror at themselves. Congresswoman Lee reminded us that Michael Jackson visited wounded troops at Walter Reed Hospital.

An emotional Usher performed “Gone Too Soon.” Smokey Robinson recalled Michael Jackson singing the hit “Who’s Loving You” written by Smokey, but sung so wonderfully by Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5 that it became a huge Motown hit and many assumed it was Michael’s song.  The child singer Shaheen Jafargholi then performed “Who’s Loving You.” The performers from the upcoming tour sang “Heal The World” and “We Are The World” with the memorial guests. 

I’ve been listening to Michael Jackson and Jackson 5 albums this week. The guy could sing. And when you see the videos the man could dance. Can’t believe MC Hammer ever challenged Jackson to a dance contest. Jackson would have slaughtered Hammer on the dancefloor. I’ve also been listening to remixes and different versions of his hits. Tarrus Riley’s version of “Human Nature” is one of the best reggae covers of a Michael Jackson song that I have heard.

The Human Nature of Michael Joseph Jackson