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REGGAEFESTFINALPOSTERIt’s a dream come true – a major outdoor festival with a serious SKA focus. How on earth did this happen? Let’s just say good karma was bound to come our way after all the hard work the Jamaican Oldies team put forth over 2 years at the Mayne Stage. We got word about the fest just in the nick of time – permits were getting approved and budgets were being figured out. Kickstand Productions, who book local rock clubs Subterranean and Beat Kitchen, were put in charge of the gargantuan task of booking the fest. Much to our delight (and after a long stream-of-consciousness message / proposal) – JUMP UP was involved and was added as a talent consultant. About this time TOOTS’ lawsuit was finally settled and it was announced he was ready to perform again – and when he accepted our offer we knew this was gonna be BIG!  [click to continue…]

RUDEPAPERRUDEPAPER2RICOCASSETTEWe are SO excited to get these limited edition imports direct from KINGSTON RUDIESKA in South Korea! Those cats have amazing taste – you’ll LOVE these two gems! RUDE PAPER are an amazing roots reggae band with digi-dancehall style vocals sung in Korean! Deluxe edition CD, gold embossed cover with a big full color booklet, features Jamaican musical veterans Dean Fraser on sax and Earl “Chinna” Smith on guitar! Simply incredible! Get this, we have a new CASSETTE TAPE release too!! NST & THE SOUL SAUCE “Song For Rico” is an incredible tribute to the late great RICO RODRIGUEZ, six tracks including versions & dubs. Very collectible, comes with download code and sticker. Limited to 100 copies.

RODDYCLEARRODDYTOURFar too often when a band claims to combine two dissimilar styles of music into an all powerful “new” hybrid, fans get a wee bit skeptical. After all, in most cases these creative endeavors fail miserably – and quite often it involves ska music. Simply put, this stereotype does not apply to the SKABILLY REBELS. RODDY RADIATION’s band successfully takes the best parts of rockabilly, minus the cheesiness that all too often is associated with the genre, and then puts it to a laid back traditional ska beat. Should we expect anything less? Of course you already know him as the legendary guitarist of The Specials (who also wrote their classics ‘Rat Race’, ‘Concrete Jungle’ & ‘Hey Little Rich Girl’), who also later formed blues influenced acts The Bonediggers and The Tearjerkers. He’s a veteran and true innovator of both the 2-TONE ska movement and the English rockabilly revival scene.   Check out these YouTube album samplers for a taste: [click to continue…]

STPETERSRUSSIAWe are so proud to have our first shipment from MAGNETIC LOFT Records from RUSSIA – and what an amazing first shipment it is! Where do we begin? Back in the CD heyday we traded with several labels to get the finest ska sounds from Russia, and we distributed many by ST PETERSBURG SKA JAZZ REVIEW. In the early 2000’s Megalith Records released a CD too! A female fronted new-traditional band that truly rocks, fast tempos and summery ska jazz is the order of the day – and their latest “ELEPHANT RIDDIM” is now out on VINYL! Guess what? The MIDDLE VOLGA SOCIAL CLUB has a very similar sound, they remind me of EASTERN STANDARD TIME in the sense that spy-themes and cocktail jazz is a heavy part of their sound. Their debut “GIVE ME THE WAY” LP is a MUST HAVE too!! Check out the tunes at the label’s Bandcamp!  Keep a look out for the WHEELER DEALERS as they are the next big act from the Russian Federation!

TheBigSkaBandBIGSKABANDJoe Ferry is grammy award winning record producer, author, bassist and educator. Over the course of his 35-year career, he has produced records and played bass for numerous artists, including The Skatalites, Dr. John, The Roches, The New Orleans Klezmer All-Stars, SKAndalous All-Stars, Uzimon, Huey Lewis and the News, and Joey Ray. [click to continue…]

lp-winstonfrancis-justintimeWINSTONCOLORSIn November 2014 Chicago and Los Angeles were lucky to have showcases with one of the sweetest soul voices in Jamaican music history, Studio One legend WINSTON “Mr Fix It” FRANCIS.  The 60’s hitmaker was one of Coxson Dodd’s biggest singers, and his 1969 “Mr Fix It” LP featured the hit songs “Too Experienced”, “Same Old Song”, “Fools Fall In Love” plus the title track. His second album “California Dreaming”  continued the tradition of soulful reggae covers, including  “Yester Me Yester You” , “Groovy Situation”, “Always Something There To Remind Me” and the hit Mamas & The Papas tune that named the album. In between these albums WINSTON would release two tunes that would drive collectors crazy 45+ years later – “THE BREAK” under the moniker BOB MELODY, and “YOUR CHEATING HEART” – a duet with LLOYD ROBINSON. Both these original 7″ singles fetch INSANE amounts on eBay – yet strangely both tunes have never appeared on reissue – UNTIL NOW! [click to continue…]

LAITKENJAMBOREELaurel Aitken released some fantastic sides during the 80s! One of my all time favorite albums of the late 80s European ska revival was LAUREL AITKEN meets FLOYD LLOYD & THE POTATO 5. Fantastic UK roots ska band produced by GAZ MAYALL, putting two great vocalists together for the first time. This LP originally came out in 1987 and features the hot ska scorchers “TEAR UP”, “JESSE JACKSON”,  “WESTERN SPECIAL”, “SALLY BROWN”, “SAHARA” and more. RECOMMENDED. RUDI GOT MARRIED is a collection of 80’s selections including 2 from the POTATO 5 album, the 4 tracks released on I-SPY Records, plus material recorded with the PRESSURE TENANTS.  In 2000 Laurel Aitken went into the studio with German band COURT JESTERS CREW and released “JAMBOREE”, a modern day classic that includes covers of VAN MORRISSON, and CURTIS MAYFIELD. Many missed this album when it came out…so here’s your chance once again!  [click to continue…]

godfatherofskalaitkenlonghotLAURELClassic LAUREL AITKEN  vinyl back in stock on vinyl from GROVER RECORDS Germany! See below for full tracklistings – featured are some of the hottest singles of all time!

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Did you hear that the original DGB lineup (being called O.G.D.G.B.) is played a one-off show in Chicago on April 2nd? In celebration of this we have knocked $10 off the vinyl box set so more fans can re-live the songs from the first three albums! Colored wax, 3xLP + 7″  for $25 is a STEAL!

This epic “WELCOME TO THE VAULTS” collection (which was released as a CD box years ago) is a 3 x LP colored vinyl set limited to 300 copies only: ”LARGE AND IN CHARGE” on yellow vinyl, “OVERBOARD” on blue wax, “GUIDE TO BOAT DRINKS & CRUISE COCKTAILS” on red vinyl.  On these slabs of wax you’ll even find rare tunes only found on compilations,  including  ”STACK-O-LEE”  (STAGGER LEE)  and the Western inspired HANG ‘EM HIGH”. We are even tossing in a bonus 7″ featuring two legendary DGB covers – BOB DYLAN’s “MASTERS OF WAR” and JUDGE DREAD’s “Dread Rock”!  If you were fan of the original Mike Park-era band (who is now fronting  THE CROMBIES), or just want a piece of DEAL’S history, get this set now before it’s gone!

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PRIZEFIGHTERSSPREADHave you been keeping up with our Jamaican Oldies shows in Chicago? If so you know that  Jamaican foundation ska legend CHARLEY ORGANAIRE is a regular fixture on the Chicago scene!  THE  harmonica sound on thousands of early ska sessions at Studio One, Treasure Isle, etc – he was also an accomplished singer / band leader / arranger / label owner who released singles in the 60s on his own ORGANAIRES imprint. The success of his Chicago appearances, dare  we call it a  “return to the scene”,  has lead to a tremendous relationship with Minneapolis’  THE PRIZEFIGHTERS resulting in six tracks being recorded together in the Spring of 2014. [click to continue…]