Kolumnen by Dell
LETTER FROM ENGLAND
(since 10 years: 2009 - 2019)
The gigantic Christopher Wardell aka "Dell" has been writing his insightful "Letter from England" column for more than ten years now. His almost infinite knowledge and competence often stems from his personal proximity to the greats of the British and international Ska scene.
He brings the things to the point and is sensationally current, as if he has just whispered the information in the corridor of the rolling Ska Trains and tells us.
So he is always well informed and up to date and has provided us with lots of fantastic information over the years. Thank you for all of this, Dell.
LETTER FROM ENGLAND (10/2019)
Hello from England my friends,
Here is the latest ska news brought to you from the Backdoor Promotions headquarters in Darlington.
To mark the 40th Anniversary of 2 Tone, Coventry City FC launched a new black and white checked strip last week, and at the media launch, Neville Staple and Neol Davies were present to help promote the release with the club also printing a special 2 Tone themed match day programme. Unfortunately, the strip didn't change Coventry's luck on the pitch as they were beaten 1-0 by Tranmere Rovers in front of a mass media presence.
Madness have just issued a book entitled Before We Was We, which was written by the band themselves, which makes a refreshing change. Although I have yet to read the book, it's got a big thumbs up from Madness fans across the UK. The book explains their rise to fame and how it all started from humble beginnings in North London in 1976, and it should wet the lips of all Madness fans across the globe.
Too Many Crooks have been in the studio recently, recording a new album in Brighton. The group have always been one of my all time favourite ska bands, and I for one, look forward to hearing the new tunes. I booked the band a show in Deutschland several years ago, and they were so good that night, that they even managed to give veteran ska traveller and hoof sketcher, Mick Cotton, a hangover the next day, and he only usually drinks pop !
A fantastic line-up has been assembled for the next Skamouth festival which takes place at the Vauxhall Holiday Park in Great Yarmouth in November. Headlining the event are Bad Manners and Keith & Tex, along with a host of other acts and DJs, so make sure you check it out at www.skamouth.co.uk if you're interested in booking a ticket.
I'm so pleased to announce that the chart success of The Dualers continues. As most of you will know, the group had three hit singles in the UK circa 2004 - 2006, but the band have scored their biggest hit yet with their new album, Palm Trees & 80 Degrees, reaching no.11 in the UK album chart ! All of the remaining Dualers shows for this year are sold out, so if you wish to catch the band in action, you best book a ticket early for next year. With The Specials hitting the no.1 spot in the album chart earlier this year, it proves that the United Kingdom still has a lust for ska music and it's a love that will never fade.
Sean Flowerdew has brought together an array of classic acts to perform at his London International Ska Festival next year, with The Pioneers, Dennis Alcapone, Dave Barker and Hollie Cook performing at venues across the capital. Also included in the mouth watering line-up are Arthur Kay & The Originals, Zen Baseball Bat and The Magnetics, assisted with many other bands and DJs.
The Hotknives play a rare hometown show in Brighton on 29th November at The Prince Albert, so if you're on the south coast and fancy a jolly good night out, get yourselves along to the gig and enjoy a winter ice cream on the Sea Front before you go to the venue, because once you arrive at the venue, the band's hypnotic ska beats will soon warm you up and have you thrusting back and forth like an athlete warming up before a poll vault at the Olympics. The energetic motions of poll vaulters intrigue me, along with the kooky adventures of Wrestling referees.
It's been a busy year for The Selecter with Pauline Black and Gaps and the band touring all over the world spreading the Gospel of 2 Tone. Fellow 2 Tone icon, Rhoda Dakar, has supported the group at a number of concerts this year too, and it's so pleasing to hear that they've sold out most of the venues they have performed at, continuing to grip crowds with On My Radio, Three Minute Hero, Too Much Pressure and other delights from their 40 year career. I've always loved The Selecter, and it's truly worthy that the band still pack out venues four decades on after the release of the debut single.
Well, my friends, that's the latest ska news from the UK, but before I sign off, I would just like to mention that after thirty years of being in The G Men, I have retired and left the band. We formed the group when I was a teenager in 1989, and after three decades, I've decided to call it a day and I wish Dins and the lads all the best. I have enjoyed every single minute of it, but at the ripe old age of 47, it's time to concentrate on the other things that I do. The buzz I got from performing in front of crowds will stay with me forever, but it's time that this old boy moves on and says auf wiedersehen to the stage. Thank you to everyone who attended the concerts and thanks to the band for all the fun and laughs. Respect to you all, and at long last, Mr. Sausage has left the spaceship. X
LETTER FROM ENGLAND (01/2019)
Hello and a warm welcome from a very cold England.
The Specials are just about to release a brand new studio album entitled Encore. Featuring Terry Hall, Lynval Golding and Horace Panter from the band's original line-up, the album features ten tracks in total, including the recently released Vote For Me and Ten Commandments singles, and it's the band's first album to feature Terry Hall since More Specials back in the sweaty days of 2 Tone.
Ranking Roger has announced that he's battling cancer and my thoughts and best wishes go out to the singer. A video was recently released on You Tube of Roger talking about his illness, and he's currently taking six months off to battle the dreaded decease. Fans of The Beat will be pleased to read that the band are just about to release a new album in the UK. Public Confidential hits the shops later this month, and very good it is, too.
London based band The Trojans have just released a Best Of compilation on Gaz's Rockin' Records. Top Hits features tracks spanning their 33 years in the business, including their biggest selling singles Gaelic Ska, Lumpi and Stop Breaking My Heart.
The Hotknives recently played a handful of dates in Deutschland with their original vocalist, Mick Clare. Word has it that all the venues were packed to the rafters and there are rumours that there could be more shows in the pipeline with their former frontman.
The G Men celebrate 30 years in the ska business this year and it only seems like yesterday when we formed the band. Our mascot, the Reverend John Crawford, is visiting Egypt next month to study ancient texts which he believes were written and left behind on Earth by celestial beings from space, which is rather ironic, as I've recently written a new song called Gifts From The Cosmos.
While on the subject of anniversaries, this year also celebrates the 40th Anniversary of 2 Tone. With The Specials and The Beat both just about to release new albums, I think we can also look forward to a brand new release from Madness as well, with The Nutty Boys airing a handful of new songs during their recent tour of the UK.
The London International Ska Festival will take place in April. Sean Flowerdew has assembled a rather splendid line-up for the festival which will feature the legendary Georgie Fame headlining the festival ! Other acts performing across London for the Easter Weekend event include Keith & Tex, Buster Shuffle, Owen Gray and Pama International while Masons Arms will be flying over from Deutschland to bring their special sounds to the capital of England.
Well, my friends, that's the latest ska news from the UK. Enjoy the snow, if you have any, and please continue to support the ska scene, because without you, it would be a very boring world. See you soon, somewhere, I hope.
Love and respect,
LETTER FROM ENGLAND (05/2018)
Hello my friends,
Here is the latest ska news from the United Kingdom.
The Beat, starring Dave Wakeling, are set to release a new album entitled Here You Go Love on HWG Records on 25th May. Wakeling and company have recorded 13 songs, which have already received the thumbs up from the original Beat producer, Bob Sargeant. The band appeared on television on the BBC a few months ago, where they premiered their recent How Can You Stand There ? single to an ecstatic nation of 2 Tone diehards.
While on the subject of 2 Tone bands, I met up with Buster Bloodvessel in Berlin recently, where Bad Manners went down a storm at the Berlin Ska City festival. The Lord of The Jellyfish and the band were on fine form and there's talk of another Bad Manners compilation album being issued on the Warner Bros label.
Trojan Records continue to come up with the goods to celebrate their 50th Anniversary. The label is planning to release a number of albums this year to mark the occasion, but one to look out for is This Is Trojan Roots which will be released in June and feature the delights of Max Romeo, Marcia Griffiths, Justin Hinds, Lloyd Parks and a host of other greats.
Kevin Flowerdew from the Do The Dog fanzine and record label has started work on his autobiography, under the banner of Memoirs of A Ska Librarian. Kevin, along with his brother Sean, have helped to steer the UK ska scene since the late 80s, and the book will detail Kevin's ska memories from his time in the business, and it's one that this 6' 2" tall Gemini cannot wait to read.
Those very nice chaps from Too Many Crooks are celebrating their 25th Anniversary this year and they are visiting Deutschland again soon, this time appearing at Westwerk in Osnabruck on 18th May and at Kiefernklause in Bielefeld the following evening. I was with the band in Mainz a few years ago, and to this day, I still state that it was one of the best ska concerts I've been involved in, even if it did take me a week to fully recover !
Freedom Call is the title of the new Maroon Town album and their recent Rebel single has been played on numerous radio stations in England, and vinyl fans will be thrilled to hear that the album is also available on, erm, vinyl. Those Essex based ska and reggae soothers, The New Town Kings, have released their new Reach Out album to rapturous applause from ska fans across the nation, and to promote the release, they are touring throughout England this summer.
Sooooooo, that's the latest ska news from the UK, my friends. I hope to see you at a venue very soon, but in the meantime, enjoy the World Cup this summer and good luck to all the nations that are taking part, especially England and Deutschland. Hip, hip, hoorah !
LETTER FROM ENGLAND
Hello my friends, a big hallooo from England. Here's the latest ska news from the UK.
Riding high on the chart success of their Subculture album in 2015, those 2 Tone veterans The Selecter are in a celebratory mood after their new Daylight album reached no.66 in the charts. Along with the recent hit albums by Madness and The Beat, it appears that the United Kingdom is still ska crazy.
The volcanic showman, Buster Bloodvessel, returns to Deutschland in the New Year. The Lord of The Jellyfish will be performing at the Ruhrpott Ska Explosion in Dortmund and also at the Berlin Ska City festival in January with Bad Manners. I'll also be at the festival in Berlin, so if any of you would like to meet up for a Currywurst, you will see me trying to hide from the infamous ska adventurer, Mick Cotton, somewhere in the venue. Probably inside a cupboard.
The G Men also returned to Deutschland recently and we had another great time at the Riverside Stomp festival in Mainz-Kastel, where we shared the stage with the Queen of 2 Tone, Rhoda Dakar, and several other acts. The former Bodysnatchers and Special AKA vocalist went down a storm at the annual outdoor summer event at The Reduit, and it was nice to meet up with her again. We also enjoyed performing our set at the festival too, but some of us can't remember much after midnight. We were later seen shouting for assistance and entry back into our hotel at 3am, but we blame the countless bottles of Becks we drank for that, and also thank the hotel owner for letting us back into the establishment at such a late hour.
I recently met up with Dave Wakeling from The Beat while he was touring the UK with his band. Dave has lived in the USA since the late 1980s, where the band had a lot of success, and he told me about his forthcoming new Beat album, 'Here You Go, Love', which will have a worldwide release early next year. The Beat Starring Dave Wakeling were on top form and the new songs that they performed on the tour sounded excellent.
The former Hotknives singer/guitarist, Gary Marshall, is working on a solo album and those who have heard the tracks so far are saying that we are in for a treat, so that's a release for us all to look forward to.
Randale Records have just issued The Best of The Rough Kutz on vinyl. The album contains ten of the finest tracks by the band, with anthems that include England's Glory, Warriors and Different Day. The Rough Kutz have a Christmas Party show lined up in their hometown
of Stoke-on-Trent on 27th December, so expect a few more dates next year, too.
While on the subject of compilation albums, Do The Dog Records have just released the Studio Sessions album by those former ska terriers, The Bakesys, with classic skanks from the 1990s featuring Sex Freak, The Lick and Open All Hours.
A band worth checking out are Esperanza. Based up in Glasgow in Scotland, this eight piece ensemble are superb and I highly recommend that you purchase their Back On Hope Street CD that was released last year.
That's the latest ska news from the UK, my friends. Support your local ska scene, have fun, pass on my regards to Deutschland and I'll see some of you at the Berlin Ska City festival in January, if not before, maaan.
Kind regards, Dell.
LETTER FROM ENGLAND
Hello my friends. Greetings from a wet and windy Darlington.
Here is the latest ska news from the UK.
2 Tone legend, Rhoda Dakar, is heading to Deutschland this summer to perform at the Riverside Stomp Festival in Mainz Kastel on 8th July, where she will be backed by members of the Moon Invaders and playing a collection of songs that she performed with The Bodysnatchers and Special AKA. Rhoda recently performed at the London International Ska Festival with her backing band and she will also be playing at the 2 Tone Village in Coventry in May.
Pama International are releasing their new Love & Austerity album in June. It will be Pama's first album release in seven years and it will include their recent adorable Heatwave single.
Buster Shuffle have signed a record deal with Burning Heart Records in Sweden and the Orebro based label will be releasing a new album by the band some time this year.
Brighton based skasters, Too Many Crooks, are back playing gigs again. The chaps have already played a couple of hometown shows recently but they will also be headlining this year's Kippertronix Festival in Wales and performing at the Dublin Castle in London in July, too.
Cartoon Violence are half way through recording their third album. Band leader, Chuzz, has assembled a new line-up which includes former 3 Minute Warning members G.R. Harold and Matt Jones.
The new Neville Staple album is out at long last. The Return of Judge Roughneck is available on Cleopatra Records and it also features Neville's wife, Christine Sugary Staple, who co-produced the album with the Rude Boy himself and Tom Lowry.
One of the unsung heroes of the 2 Tone era, The Equators, were one of the main attractions at the London International Ska Festival recently. The Midlands based band, who were signed to Stiff Records in the early 80s, have recorded a handful of new songs and will be making a special appearance at the Lightswood Park Fun Fair in Birmingham next month. The last time I was in Birmingham, I watched a chap explain to a small crowd how he once fell in love with a Kit Kat, and how the four fingered chocolate snack guided him on a weekend retreat in Shropshire, but I'm sure there won't be people like him at Lightswood Park Fun Fair. I hope ?
Suggs has had his debut solo album, The Lone Ranger, re-issued by Cherry Red Records. Originally released on WEA Records in 1995, and containing five hit singles, the CD contains an incredible 23 bonus tracks, ranging from B-Sides to a variety of different single mixes from his solo catalogue.
Missing Andy will be performing at the Brentwood Festival in Essex in July, along with some heavyweight former chart acts that include Status Quo, Heaven 17 and Midge Ure. The band have had two Top 40 singles in the UK and will soon be announcing some more shows.
The Riffs are quite busy this summer. The veteran UK ska band have four dates lined up in Tonbridge, Wendover, London and Uxbridge during June and July, so get yourselves along to one of their shows if you can make it, as they're still a very special band. I'll never forget that momentous concert with The Riffs, Alpha Boy School and Yebo in Berlin in 2004, when was thankfully stopped by Reception staff at the hotel afterwards from sleep walking out on to Wilhelmstrasse, in the nude !
Well, my friends, that's the latest UK ska news. Have a nice summer and I hope to see you at the Riverside Stomp Festival in Mainz-Kastel in July, where I'll be performing with The G Men and enjoying the usual amusing antics with my bandmates and the Reduit crew.
Yours forever in ska,
LETTER FROM ENGLAND
Hello my fellow ska fans,
Here is the latest ska news from the UK.
First of all, I would like to dedicate this version of the UK Ska News column to Prince Buster, who sadly passed away recently. I met him a couple of times during the years and he was a lovely man and so down to Earth and friendly, so, I dedicate this article to the King of Ska. Thanks for the music and influences, Buster. Your name shall live on.
Madness have just released a new studio album. Can't Touch Us Now should be in all good record stores now, and it's very good, too. I Believe and Grandslam are two mighty reggae anthems while Mumbo Jumbo is a fast paced ska tune. Other highlights include Another Version of Me, Herbert and Don't Leave The Past Behind You. Also featuring the recent radio friendly single, Mr. Apples, their new studio offering is another classic Madness album with the usual witty lyrical input.
The Beat returned to the British album chart in October, with their new long player, Bounce. Reaching no.49 in the Hit Parade, the album was released on the DMF label which also released the Subculture album by The Selecter last year, which also made it in to the UK charts, too.
Bosky from The Hotknives is currently writing a collection of songs which he hopes to release as a solo album next year. The Hotknives also have plans to release a live album in 2017 and the band have two rare shows lined up here in England in November and December.
The G Men are off up to Scotland on 4th November to perform a show at the Citrus Club in Edinburgh. Also performing at the concert will be the local hosts, Big Fat Panda, and a punk band called Panic Attack. This will be our first show in Scotland since 1724 and our band mascot, the Reverend John Crawford, said that he intends to bathe in Belhaven beer while we are staying in Scotland.
Too Many Crooks returned to play a concert in their home town of Brighton recently, and word has reached me that the band were on superb form. I booked TMC a show at the Reduit in Mainz-Kastel with Hermann Junglas a few years ago, and they are one of my all time favourite ska bands and it's nice to see the chaps back in action.
Bad Manners are celebrating their 40th Anniversary this year, and Buster is currently touring Australia and New Zealand. Fans of the original line-up will also be pleased to hear that Louis Alphonso will be performing an intimate concert in Paris in November with The Poison Hearts, while drummer, Brian Tuitt, is currently drumming with the Legends of Soul at various venues in England.
Pama International recently released their first single in several years. The outfit will follow up their Heatwave release with another single, which will also be issued on the Cherry Red label next month.
That's the latest UK ska news, my friends. I hope to see some of you soon, but in the meantime, turn up the volume and play the music that we will always love. Ska, ska, ska !
LETTER FROM ENGLAND
Hello my friends,
Here is the latest UK ska news which sees chart action, album news and an old boys reunion.
Beaming as wide as the Atlantic ocean, 2 Tone stars The Selecter recently hit the UK charts with their latest album, Subculture. Peaking at no.54 in the Hit Parade, it's the first Selecter album to chart since their Celebrate The Bullet album, and in my eccentric opinion, their finest release since Too Much Pressure. The band will be touring the UK in November and December and will also headline the Berlin Ska City festival, along with Doreen Shaffer and Stranger Cole, at the Astra Kulturhaus in January. See you there.
Cathal Smyth and Woody of Madness fame have both released solo albums this year. Cathal's album is a heartfelt collection of wonderful songs and Mr. Woodgate's CD is finger flicking seaside pop at its finest. A Comfortable Man and In Your Mind are available to buy in the usual outlets and also online, too.
UK ska veterans, Natural Rhythm, are looking for shows in Deutschland. Most of you will remember their Bluebeat And Ska album which was released on Unicorn Records in 1990, and the lads were one of the frontrunners of the late 80s British ska scene. If you are interested in booking Natural Rhythm, please contact me at email@example.com . Their uptempo Blue Beat anthems are quite delicious, just like custard with apple pie.
The G Men recently got together for the first time in over three years for a rehearsal in Darlington. The session was watched by the Reverend John Crawford and much fun was had and quite a number of beer cans were left in the studio. We have already been invited to perform in Deutschland next summer, but at the moment, we are all doing other things, like, erm, working in a lab, teaching and ghost hunting.
A new band from Wales have recently emerged on the scene. The Chalk Outlines mix ska with Balkan and Latin influences and they are in the process of recording an EP, which should be released soon.
Catchy Leeds based combo, The Indecision, are in the studio working on an album. Them group are turning quite a few heads on the ska scene, and they have been booked to play at the next London International Ska Festival.
The Paradimes will be releasing their Sweet & Dark album in December. The eight piece Leicestershire outfit are staging an album launch party on New Years Eve, where punters have allegedly been invited to come along dressed up as the former football player, Kevin Keegan. We often do things like that here in England, because we are a little bonkers.
Bad Manners will releasing their What Simon Says single again this Christmas, with all the proceeds being donated to a Foodbank charity. You can view the video on You Tube, which sees numerous Bad Manners fans appearing in the production, and you will be able to download the single in December.
Madness recently aired a number of new songs on their recent UK tour, and I've been told that they have also been in the studio. A new album perhaps ? Let's hope so.
Phoenix City Records have just released a new album by Rhoda Dakar. The former Bodysnatchers vocalist has recorded some of the bands anthems, to what has been described as 'the lost 2 Tone album'. Do Rocksteady, Easy Life and 007 are featured on the album and it's a must buy for all 2 Tone fans. Rhoda Daker Sings The Bodysnatchers is out now in all good record shops and available online at www.cherryred.co.uk .
Well, my friends, that's the current UK ska news. Keep skanking, check out the above releases and support your local bakers shop, because without them, we would have to go to town.
A handshake and smile from England,
Here is the
ska news from the UK.
LETTER FROM ENGLAND
Here is the latest ska news from the United Kingdom.
Madness legend, Cathal Smyth, AKA Chas Smash, will be releasing his debut solo album on 11th May. 'A Comfortable Man' will be available on CD and limited edition vinyl. For further information, please visit www.cathalsmyth.co.uk. A video of the album's first single, 'Do You Believe In Love ?', is available on You Tube and Cathal will be returning to London to perform at Bush Hall on 14th May.
Another Madness legend, Dan Woodgate, is also releasing his debut solo album this year, too. The tunes were written by Woody and his brother, Nick, and the songs feature the vocal talents of Dan Shears. The album will be entitled 'In Your Mind' and its release date is 1st June.
Bad Manners have recently been touring on the Continent. It's quite hard to believe that the band released their debut 'Ska 'N B' album 35 years ago on Magnet Records. I met up with the group's original drummer, Brian Tuitt, for a few refreshments in London earlier this year and he's still busy banging the drums and he recently performed with the 'Cockney Songbird', Linda Lewis, at the Music Hall in Ramsgate.
Dave Wakeling of The Beat will be coming over to these shores in the autumn for a tour with his band, The English Beat. The singer/guitarist and his outfit will be playing in various towns and cities, that includes London, Manchester, Derby and Scunthorpe.
The funky titled new Talks album, 'Commoners, Peers, Drunks and Thieves' is available to download via iTunes and Amazon, or if you are a CD enthusiast like myself, you can order the disc from www.thetalks.co.uk . The eleven track album has been receiving some rave reviews in the Press, with Vive Le Rock magazine stating that it's "an exhilarating album".
Four former members of The G Men have teamed up with some of our fellow skasters to form a new band called The Skapones, and we have been invited to perform at the Feuerwerks Festival at The Reduit in Mainz Kastel in June, with the mighty Doreen Shaffer from Jamaica and E.S.T. from America. The Skapones will also be performing at the Stone Valley Festival and The Great Northern Ska And Mod Festival in England during the summer alongside ska legends Bad Manners, The Beat and The Selecter, and mod icons, Secret Affair and The Lambrettas.
The annual London International Ska Festival recently took place at various locations in the capital. This year's event saw the likes of Lee Perry, Derrick Harriott and Bitty McLean perform at the festival, along with 2 Tone legends, Rhoda Dakar and Everett Morton, and a host of other acts such as Freddie Notes, Two Tone Club and a fabulous new combo called Paperboy from Brighton.
Cherry Red Records have released the two albums that Desmond Dekker recorded for Stiff Records in the 1980s. Black And Dekker and Compass Point both get that special re-issue treatment, with both of the CDs containing added bonus tracks.
Derek Bowyer from 'The Fans of The Original Hotknives' Facebook page recently issued the band's hometown performance from Champagnes Nite Club on CD. The show was recorded in Sussex in 1987. The disc has been playing continuously on my stereo since it arrived and I can see it becoming a collectors item. The former Hotknives frontman, Mick Clare, will also be performing at this year's Freedom Sounds Festival in Cologne in April, so get yourselves there to shake your legs to some fine ska beats.
The Kubricks have just put out their new 'Ghosts' video for the world to see. The band have already received the thumbs up from Horace Panter of The Specials, Huey Morgan of The Fun Lovin' Criminals and Phil Harvey of Soul II Soul, so expect something quite special if you visit You Tube to have a peep.
South London ska stars, The Dualers, have released a brand new album. Back To Paradise is available to purchase at www.thedualers.com. To promote the release of their new album, the lads are heading out to play a number of dates up and down the country, starting off at The Rescue Rooms in Nottingham on 9th May.
Well, my friends, that's the UK ska news for now. Enjoy yourselves, support the ska scene and continue to love music.
Letter from England by Dell
Hello from England, my friends. Here is the latest ska news from the UK.
I have heard that Madness will start work on a new album in the summer, and I've also been told that The Nutty Boys will be touring the UK in the winter, so make sure to put a warm coat on if you intend to go to any of the concerts later this year. I intend to.
Those nice chaps at Cherry Red Records have reissued the Heavy Petting album by Bad Manners, and at long last it now has a UK release, eighteen years after it was released on Pork Pie Records in Deutschland (under a different title) and Moon Ska Records in the USA.
To celebrate the 35th Anniversary of Too Much Pressure, Captain Mod Records have reissued the classic 2 Tone album by The Selecter with three bonus tracks and some sleeve notes by Pauline Black. The Beat will also have their entire back catalogue released as The Complete Studio Recordings in a four CD box set on Edsel Records in May.
Maroon Town are heading over to Deutschland to play at the Freedom Sounds Festival in Cologne. The London based outfit also have a date lined up at The Hootananny in Brixton.
The Talks have just released their Don't Look Behind You single. The Hull based four piece are set to release a new album too, and I'm really looking forward to hearing it. So much so, that I'm actually sat at my desk with an inflatable parrot on my shoulder. I really like The Talks. A nice bunch of lads, too.
Another new UK ska release to hit the shops this year will be the Arise album by Rebelation, which will contain nine new tracks by the traditional ska and reggae hipsters.
Former Specials member, Neville Staple, has released a new solo album, containing some original and classic ska numbers. Ska Crazy is out now on the America label, Cleopatra Records. Roddy Radiation has recently quit The Specials too, and he intends to concentrate on playing some dates with his Skabilly Rebels band.
Dave Wakeling of The Beat recently toured Britain as The English Beat for the first time in several years. Most of the shows were sold out, and he intends to return to these shores in the future. Hopefully his band will get the chance to play on the Continent, too.
The Amphetameanies are still working on their long awaited third album up in Scotland. Last Chance Bordello will be released some time this year.
Australian ska legends, The Strange Tenants, will be touring the UK in August. The band will be supporting Jimmy Cliff in London and also performing some shows in other parts of the country. I must go and see these chaps in action, as I have a friend who lives in Australia, and I can ask them to take some cans of Boddingtons beer back to Oz for her.
No news about The G Men at the moment, other than that Mark, Josh, Neil and myself are currently rehearsing in a new band called The Skapones. While mentioning The G Men, our bass player, Andy Wears, claimed that he was recently abducted by aliens while he was out cycling in the countryside, and I intend to hypnotise him to find out some more information.
That's the latest ska news from the UK, folks. Keep on stomping and I hope to see you at a ska show in Deutschland soon.
Letter from England by Dell
Hello my friends,
Here is the current ska news from the United Kingdom. Yeehaw !
The recent Madness album, Oui Oui Si Si Ja Ja Da Da, has found itself back in the charts. After reaching number 10 in October, the album has climbed back into the charts at number 16, due to the media exposure of their latest single, Never Knew Your Name.
Some of the original Bad Manners members are keeping themselves busy.
Martin Stewart is performing shows with The Skatalysts, Brian Tuitt is busy
with a new reggae project, David Farren is often touring the UK with The Rollin' Stoned and Chris Kane is also still involved with music, performing
theatre shows with a Billy Fury tribute band and also teaching people to play
the sax. Louis Alphonso lives in Paris, Paul Hyman works in the London stock
exchange, Winston Bazoomies enjoys a quiet life in the English capital, Andrew Marson is a joiner and Buster Bloodvessel can still be spotted all over the world.
Cherry Red Records have released some classic ska CDs in recent years, by
acts such as Bad Manners, Laurel Aitken, The Toasters and The Dualers. Next up to get the special Cherry Red treatment are a few releases by Moon Ska World, Moon Ska Records and Moon Ska Europe with the Upsessions, Skoidats and Farce albums getting the reissue service with picture disc CDs and poster booklets.
Neville Staple has left The Specials, shortly after the 2 Tone outfit
announced their forthcoming UK tour dates. The toaster and vocalist will still
perform shows with his own Neville Staple band, and he is off to Australia to
perform some dates during Easter.
The Riffs have announced that they are to release a new album this year. It
will be their first studio album since the 1989 release, Who Wants It?.
Talking about new albums, Pauline Black has recently stated that the Selecter will be releasing a new album, as well. String Theory is the title, and it will be available on Vocaphone Records.
Welsh skasters, Cartoon Violence, also have plans for a brand new album and the four piece band will be out and about promoting its release with a number of shows in the UK and Deutschland.
100 Men will be performing at the London International Ska Festival, which
takes place in March. Other acts that will take part include Intensified, Pama
International and Maroon Town, along with the legends Rico Rodriguez, Owen Gray and BB Seaton.
Suggs' book about his life and times of being a pop star and a celebrity is
to be issued later this year. He is also touring some of the nation's theatres
with his life story, and previous media reviews have been very good. In other news from the world of literature, I'm currently in the process of writing a Press article about today's international ska scene, writing about and giving a mention to some of the bands and people involved in it.
The Third Great Skinhead Reunion takes place in Brighton during the summer and local ska stalwarts, Too Many Crooks, have been asked to perform at the event along with a few ska DJs. The band also appeared on the recent Ska Jam compilation, along with The Hotknives, Smoke Like A Fish, Splitters, The Dance Brigade and 1 Stop Experience.
Ladies and gentleman. That's the latest ska news from Britain. Have a nice day, believe in UFOs and I hope to see you all soon.
Letter from England by Dell
Hello from England, my skanking friends. Sit back, switch on a lamp and read the latest ska news from the United Kingdom.
It has been an interesting year for all lovers of ska, here in the UK. During the summer, myself and the Bad Manners historian, Dave Turner, organised a band reunion with seven members of the original band and Paul Hyman (trumpet), Chris Kane (sax), Andy Marson (sax), David Farren (bass), Martin Stewart (keyboards), Winston Bazoomies (harmonica) and Brian Tuitt (drums) all met up for a beer in Hackney, London, along with the band's former roadie, Royden Stock.
We spent the afternoon chatting and drinking beer in the blistering summer heat, reminiscing about old times. The reunion was arranged in connection with my 'Where Are They Now ?' Press article, which was published in The Northern Echo last year. To see several original members of Bad Manners back together again for the first time in 27 years was a joy for all, and Hermann and Birgit from The Reduit in Mainz - Kastel were also guests at this special reunion in the English capital, along with lifelong Bad Manners fans, James 'Bitburger' Brown and the Reverend John Crawford.
The Selecter released their new String Theory album to rave reviews earlier this year, and the band have performed numerous sell out concerts in the UK, America and also on the Continent. They are currently on tour with punk veterans, PIL. The 2 Tone legends have also just announced their 2014 tour dates, and Pauline Black has also had a busy year appearing on shows on the BBC and Channel 4, chatting about music and politics.
It's nice to hear that The Riffs and The Rough Kutz have also released new albums this year, too. I have read favourable reviews about FTP Future and Dirty Sex At Midnight, and it appears that both bands have came up with the goods again and I look forward to hearing the albums myself, along with my pet hamster, Henry. Other new British ska albums worthy of a mention are The Heat by Dirty Revolution, Tit For Tat by Cartoon Violence and Something For The Weekend by The Simmertones.
from Madness has just released an excellent album with his brother, Nick Woodgate. The duo call themselves The
Magic Brothers and their debut long player, The Magic Line, is available to purchase at www.magicbrothers.com . While
on the subject of Madness, Suggs is just about to publish his autobiography entitled That Close, and Chas Smash has recorded a solo album under the name of Cathal Mo Chroi, which will be
released next year, while Thommo is
busy performing shows with the Lee Thompson Ska
Neville Staple is set to release a new album. I have heard a preview of the new tunes by the original Rude Boy, including a
cover of Wet Dream by Max Romeo, and it
looks like all of us 2 Tone fans are in for a treat. I jumped for joy when news reached me that The Dualers are planning to release a new album. The South London chart stars recently played to a full house at the Indigo O2 in London, and I strongly recommend their new single, Running Around With Your Heads In The Clouds.
Amphetameanies have been putting finishing touches to their eagerly awaited third album recently and Squid 58, who
are fronted by the former Hotknives singer, Mick Clare, are going into the studio in November to record some new tunes. The band now call themselves Squid, and the recording sessions will take place in the Cider loving county of
The Talks have been mashing up a number of festivals in England, Deutschland and the Czech Republic during the summer, and the lads have been working on a new album and have also been added to the bill at the Madness weekender in Minehead in November.
Forum Music Centre here in Darlington is staging its first Decemberfest on 13th December, and lined up to play are
the ska bands Offbeat Offensive and The User Friendly, along with local punk favourites, Last Rough Cause.
The emphasis of the event is to provide the local music lovers with some ska and punk music, along with a variety of mouth watering beverages.
Ska veterans, Natural Rhythm, recently appeared on national TV in the UK in September. The soothing skanksters were filmed in an episode of the cookery show, Come Dine With Me, which was broadcasted on Channel 4. I am sorry to state that I missed the programme, but I would like to make it publicly known that I am a big fan of schnitzel and also the band's deluxe fusion of Bluebeat & Ska.
That's the UK ska news for now, my friends, and I hope to see you all soon. In the meantime, stay happy and support the ska scene. Yeehaaaw !
Letter from England by Dell
Hello my friends,
Welcome to the latest ska news from the UK.
Madness have been working on a new album for nearly two years now, and the band have recorded quite a lot of tunes in the process. New songs include Kitchen Floor, 1978 and My Girl II, and the London based combo intend to tour the United Kingdom later in the year to promote what will be their tenth studio album.
The Dualers have recorded an album of Prince Buster covers for the Phoenix City label, which will see the light of the day in 2012. The band have had a few line-up changes in recent years, but they are still in demand and are booked to play at this year's London International Ska Festival.
Too Many Crooks have just issued their Here Today Gone Tomorrow album on TMC Records. The Brighton based skasters originally released the new tunes via iTunes, but due to public demand, they have also had to release the masterpiece on cd.
A new British ska compilation has recently been put out by Do The Dog Music. This Are UK Ska 4 features tracks by Rebelation, The Amphetameanies, Too Many Crooks, Smoke Like A Fish, The Spiltters and a host of other acts. Featuring 21 bands, it's a must for all those who have a kinky admiration for UK ska music.
The G Men are currently recording a collection of new tunes at Studio 1 in Darlington. The band were formed in 1989 and two record labels have recently shown in an interest in the group. The band also look forward to returning to Deutschland this summer, and hope to perform at the Feuerwerks Open Air Festival at The Reduit in Mainz in June.
Bad Manners have been back on the road in Australia in January. The UK ska legends performed a World Tour in 2011, which saw Buster Bloodvessel and his outfit perform shows in Austria, Japan, USA, Deutschland, Slovakia, New Zealand and Canada. I have also been in contact with Winston Bazoomies recently, and had the pleasure of conducting a Press interview with him at his home in North London. The Bad Manners legend is fine and wants all ska fans to know that he says "hello".
The Pioneers, Dandy Livingstone, Dave Barker and Dawn Penn are some of the stars to appear at this summer's London International Ska Festival. Other acts include The Hotknives, Capone & The Bullets and Neol Davies.
That's the round up of the latest UK ska news, my friends. Keep stomping and support your scene.
Letter from England by Dell
Cherry Red Records have re-issued the first four Bad Manners albums on cd for the very first time in Britain. Ska 'N B, Loonee Tunes, Gosh It's and Forging Ahead are now all available to purchase on their Pressure Drop sister label, all with added bonus tracks. Bad Manners legend, Martin Stewart, has returned. The keyboard player has formed a new band called Ska Train with Jennie Matthias from the 1980s pop band, The Belle Stars. The duo have performed a couple of shows in London, and also have a few more dates in the pipeline.
Pauline Black and Gaps Hendrickson are working on a new Selecter album, and a single titled Big In The Body - Small In The Mind, will be released on 30th May. The 2 Tone legends new studio album, Made In Britain, will follow in September.
The Skabilly Rebels have also been in the studio, recording some new tracks. The band released their Blues Attack cd in 2009, and its a special collection of rockabilly skanks that have been praised by fans from all over the UK and also in Texas and Indonesia. Frontman, Roddy Radiation*, is quite a busy fellow and he will soon be rejoining The Specials on what is rumoured to be their final tour, later this year.
King Hammond is working on a brand new album. The North London based reggae performer recently played a show at The Reduit in Mainz, and hopes to return to Germany later in the year. His forthcoming cd, Showbiz, will be issued on his own N1 record label. Nick Welsh is also working on a solo album, with the recording sessions often taking place in the sexy district of Soho.
Intensified have just released a new album. Lunar City* is out now and it celebrates their twenty years in the business, boasting some splendid new authentic ska anthems and subtle reggae tunes. It's a recommended release, groovers.
Pama International have called it a day but band members, Finny and Sean Flowerdew, recently teamed up with their former band, The Loafers, to play at the London International Ska Festival. Also on the bill were the original Hotknives and Skaos amongst others.
The new Maroon Town album, Urban Myths*, is out now on the Rockers Revolt label. Some of the tracks have been licensed to appear in a couple of Hollywood movies, and the album is a storming mixture of ska, rap and dancehall from this applauded South London based collective.
Letter from England by Dell
april /may 2011
Hello my friends,
Here is the latest ska news from the UK. Cherry Red Records have re-issued the first four Bad Manners albums on cd for the very first time in Britain. Ska 'N B, Loonee Tunes, Gosh It's and Forging Ahead are now all available to purchase on their Pressure Drop sister label, all with added bonus tracks. Bad Manners legend, Martin Stewart, has returned. The keyboard player has formed a new band called Ska Train with Jennie Matthias from the 1980s pop band, The Belle Stars. The duo have performed a couple of shows in London, and also have a few more dates in the pipeline. Pauline Black and Gaps Hendrickson are working on a new Selecter album, and a single titled Big In The Body - Small In The Mind, will be released on 30th May. The 2 Tone legends new studio album, Made In Britain, will follow in September. The Skabilly Rebels have also been in the studio, recording some new tracks. The band released their Blues Attack cd in 2009, and its a special collection of rockabilly skanks that have been praised by fans from all over the UK and also in Texas and Indonesia.
Frontman, Roddy Radiation*, is quite a busy fellow and he will soon be rejoining The Specials on what is rumoured to be their final tour, later this year. King Hammond is working on a brand new album. The North London based reggae performer recently played a show at The Reduit in Mainz, and hopes to return to Germany later in the year. His forthcoming cd, Showbiz, will be issued on his own N1 record label. Nick Welsh is also working on a solo album, with the recording sessions often taking place in the sexy district of Soho. Intensified have just released a new album.
Lunar City* is out now and it celebrates their twenty years in the business, boasting some splendid new authentic ska anthems and subtle
reggae tunes. It's a recommended release, groovers. A summer ska festival is taking place at The Forum in Darlington on Friday, 24th June. Bands performing are The G
Men, The Rough Kutz and The Talks. Welsh icons, Smoke Like A Fish, will also return to the North East venue in October. Pama International
have called it a day but band members, Finny and Sean Flowerdew, recently teamed up with their former band, The Loafers,
to play at the London International Ska Festival. Also on the bill were the original Hotknives and Skaos amongst others. The new
Maroon Town album, Urban Myths*, is out now on the Rockers Revolt label. Some of the tracks have been licensed to appear in a
couple of Hollywood movies, and the album is a storming mixture of ska, rap and dancehall from this applauded South London based collective. On a sadder note, could I please take this oppurtunity to
say farewell to the Potsdam Ska Festival. For twenty years the Brandenburg based city brought some of the finest musicians to Lindenpark, and it
was an honour to be involved with the festival. I had some great times in Potsdam and met some very nice people, many of whom are still my friends today. A lot of Brits flew over to Germany for this
weekender, and we are all sad to hear that the festival has ended. That's the UK ska news for now, my friends. Wherever you are, please support your local scene as life would be such a bore without
ska music and the hard working musicians and loyal fans who keep the musical genre moving forward. Take care and I hope to see you all at a show sometime soon.