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We’ve turned 4!

Happy Birthday to us, it’s Versions Galore’s 4th anniversary!
I am pleasantly surprised we have endured this long. Last year for our 3rd we did a special little mix for everyone, but this time around we’re going to get our feet (ears?) wet this week by turning over the cover controls to some very special guests. Some are from fellow bloggers we follow and respect, and others, neoptism be damned, are from some very talented friends.
Which leads us right into our first guest: fellow blogger Marco On The Bass. For us children of the late 70s/ early 80s the energy and culture of 2nd wave, punk-infused Ska left an indelible impression on us. MOTB is a one stop hub for music and features about those golden years as well as current revivals in rocksteady, ska and other things UK & Jamaican.
Always glad to see someone still carrying the torch for 2-Tone.

Here is his mix:


And here’s a what Marco had to say about his contribution:

The Back Stabbers – The Professionals
Belize’s The Professionals morph The O’Jays 1972 Top 10 Philly Soul hit “Backstabbers into horn-drenched reggae that retains its ominous warning.

Baltimore – The Tamlins
The Tamlins were a 70’s Jamaican reggae vocal group that gained wide attention for their Sly and Robbie produced dub reggae version of the Nina Simone lament about inner city life in Baltimore

Heart-Shaped Box – Little Roy
Aging Reggae lifer Little Roy (with help from UK producer King Fatty) finds the sweet humanity hidden inside one of Kurt Cobain’s darkest songs making it bob and weave its way into your memory.

You’ll Never Find – Dub Pistols
U.K. reggae/club collective Dub Pistols pay homage to John Holt’s reggae cover of Lou Rawls 1976 R&B hit by sampling Rawls singing the memorable chorus and Holt’s killer bass line.

Cupid – Amy Winehouse
Ska aficionado and noted Specials fan Winehouse recorded a soulful rock steady version of the Sam Cooke classic that mines its sadness while remaining eminently danceable.

It’s a Shame – Alton Ellis
The Stevie Wonder penned Motown hit for The Spinners, about a man who complains about a lover “messin” around on him, was memorably covered by Jamaican reggae and rock steady innovator Alton Ellis in 1971.

Sugar Sugar – Bigger Thomas
Long running New Jersey ska and reggae band recorded a poppy dub/reggae version of the 1969 hit recorded by the fictional TV show band The Archies. Ron Parker, the Father of Bigger Thomas guitarist Steve Parker was in the studio band that recorded the original providing a perfect musical symmetry.

Cecilia – Suggs
Madness lead singer Suggs recorded a Sly & Robbie produced pop reggae version of the Simon & Garfunkel classic, which pays homage to St Cecilia, patron saint of music.

Golden Years – Special Beat
Early 90’s 2-Tone ska super group Special Beat, featuring Ranking Roger of The Beat and Neville Staple, Horace Panter and Lynval Golding of The Specials recorded this never before released ska demo version of David Bowie’s hit from the Station to Station LP.

Orgasm Addict – SKAndalous All-Stars
The SKAndalous All-Stars were a late 90’s U.S. ska super group featuring members of The Slackers, The Skatalites, Mephiskapheles and Stubborn All-Stars who recorded an albums worth of 3rd wave ska covers of punk classics including Buzzcock’s paean to onaism.

Lunatics (Have Taken Over The Asylum) – Los De Abajo
Mexico City-based Latin ska band Los Del Abajo recorded Spanish and English language versions of the Fun Boy Three track featuring a guest appearance from Specials and Fun Boy Three front man Neville Staple.

Strawberry Fields – Los Fabulosos Cadillacs
Argentine ska band Los Fabulosos Cadillacs recorded a 60’s styled Jamaican ska version of The Beatles “Strawberry Fields” sung in English and Spanish that features Blondie’s Debbie Harry as well as horn lines worthy of The Skatalites.

Tu Gotnisht (Do Nothing) – King Django
New York ska legend and trombonist King Django (The Boilers, Skinnerbox, Stubborn All-Stars) recorded an all Yiddish-language album of klezmer meets ska and reggae songs including this faithful cover of The Specials “Do Nothing”.

Fast Car – Wayne Wonder
Jamaican vocalist Wayne Wonder puts a Dancehall reggae spin on Tracy Chapman’s narrative tale of generational poverty.

For The Turnstiles – Bim Skala Bim
Boston’s Bim Skala Bim, who were one of the first American ska bands to emerge in the early 80’s, recorded a sublimely soulful reggae version of Neil Young’s rocker.

Live And Let Die – Byron Lee
Jamaican music pioneer, producer and leader of The Dragonaires was a fan of The Beatles, recording reggae versions of many of their most popular tracks. He later recorded this incredibly soulful version of Paul McCartney & Wings theme song for the James Bond movie of the same name.

We Gotta Get Out Of This Place – The Ska-Dows
The Ska-Dows were one of the many U.K. ska bands that sprouted in the wake of the 2-Tone explosion. Signed by Chas Chandler, bassist of The Animals to his Cheapskates Record label in the late 70’s, the band recorded a rollicking ska version of The Animals hit from 1965.

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5 Responses to “We’ve turned 4!

  1. Vamp On a Wire Says:

    Woot! Congratulations Leo!!!!!

  2. Alison Says:

    Congratulations and thanks for all the great music! Really enjoy your blog.

  3. Big Daddy Says:

    Happy Versions Birthday Mr. Stotch. Looking forward to tomorrows mix!!!!!

  4. Pauline Says:

    Thank you

  5. ska covers mix tape » The Skamonics | The Skamonics Says:

    […] That tradition has continued. So it good to see this free download compiled by Marco on the Bass on the wonderful cover versions blog Versions Galore. […]

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