The Skatalites tonight
Legendary Jamaican band The Skatalites are creating a dance party in Santa Fe tonight. Learn about the group and the history of ska via an interview with the band’s manager (and sometimes keyboard player) here: The Skatalites won’t simmer down.
with The Blue Hornets
Monday, April 2, 7:30 p.m.
Santa Fe Sol
37 Fire Place, Santa Fe
Tickets: $17, all-ages
The Skatalites Won’t Simmer Down
Although only around for a year and a half in its original 1964 permutation, The Skatalites is an institution. Its musicians formed the backbone of ska, as well as offshoots rocksteady and reggae, and developed many of the playing styles associated with the genres.
The Blue Hornets suit up for a ska-tastic EP release party
Once upon a time, Robert Kerley was the keyboard player for ska band Giant Steps. The Albuquerque native relocated to Lawrence, Kan., where he still resides, playing in a few bands, including a ska group called Checkered Beat. On Dec. 29, he’s reuniting with Giant Steps for a show at the Launchpad. In anticipation of that reunion, we asked Kerley to put his digital music library on shuffle. “I promise this is how the list came out!” he says. “The sixth song was actually from another band of mine—I have 30 gigs of music on my Zune and probably less than 1 percent is my own stuff.”
A Recordless Record of Treasure Beach, Jamaica
Greetings everyone out there in Alibiland. This week I've found myself on honeymoon in the southwestern corner of Jamaica. It's warm and very windy here, much like New Mexico is at times, but with a bonus blue ocean.
I chose to come to Jamaica for two reasons. The first was to swim up to a bar that served drinks in coconuts. The second was to purchase old ska, rocksteady and '60s reggae '45s.
While we've had several amazing coconut-derived beverages here, none were served while wading in water, in an actual coconut. And to the people we've encountered, vinyl is like something that no longer exists—like unicorn-drawn carriages.
On the bright side, we did take a boat out to a bar on stilts in the middle of the ocean where we drank rum punch as sting rays swam around us. We've had amazing food, including a dish of pumpkin, plantains and callaloo (a green), served in a curry coconut cream sauce with rice. And we visited a place called The Wild Onion (which had two sole '45s tacked to the wall behind the bar) and experienced a Jamaican sound system. It was as loud and clear as a crystal unicorn. Also, you can't argue with sitting around in a swimsuit reading a book.
The kids here are really hot on dancehall, and I'm trying to keep a log of the popular tracks. At The Wild Onion, Garrett, who we met on the boat to the bar in the middle of the ocean, told me about the new stuff that played on the sound system. At one point a song came on and three dudes started a line dance that featured a pantomime of joint-rolling. Garrett told me the track was a love song about marijuana.
Oh, and just like you've heard, they smoke tons of the marijuana here.
Music to Your Ears
The King Is Dead, Long Live the King
Born Lester William Polsfuss in Waukesha, Wis., Les Paul had just turned 94 in June. He died on Thursday, Aug. 13, 2009.
Les Paul’s solid-body electric guitar started as the basement tinkering of a gifted musician. Where it led was rock and roll as we know it—and the foundation of innumerable permutations we haven’t gotten to yet. Even if you just look at the instrument and the ways its architect figured out how to play it—put aside, for a moment, the game-changing recording processes he pioneered like multitracking, overdub or delay—without Les Paul’s innovations in design and technique, the Book of Rock would have scant few pages and not much of an alphabet. The Edison of amplified music is gone. But because of Les Paul, rock and roll will never die.