Reggae vs. Ska/Dub: Battle Royale
I like competition. When the the Olympics come on, no matter if it's summer or winter, I try to watch as many sporting events as I can. To me, seeing the various countries compete for the Gold Medal is sports in it's purest form. So, on this week's World Music Show (1/7), I decided to have my own battle of sounds. It's good way to get the new year started, don't you think? And I could think of no better opponents to battle it out in your speakers then Reggae vs. Ska & Dub. Sure, you could say that these Jamaican stalwarts are pretty much one and the same. But, there are some differences, hence the "battle."
In one corner, meaning, in the first hour, it's all about Reggae. First, we'll hear some Reggae music from around the world, from places like Nigeria, Sudan, Brazil and South Africa. Plus, I'll feature a couple of tracks from Bedouin Soundclash, who are from Kingston, Ontario Canada. And, I'll play a song from the New Zealand Reggae band Katchafire.
To complete part of the first hour, I'll feature some tunes from some Reggae heavyweights like Burning Spear, Steel Pulse and Shabba Ranks. And, I'll also play a cut off of the album "Rat in the Kitchen," by UB40 (*interesting side note: UB40 got there name from the form Londoners use to file for unemployment.)
Of course, the Reggae battle hour wouldn't be complete without a track from the master himself, Bob Marley. I'll feature a cut off an early LP called "Talkin' Blues." And, since there so much good Marley music out there, I'll have to let a few more of Marley's songs drift over to hour two. In fact, I'll even include a few tracks from Marley's son, Ziggy Marley, both solo and with his band The Melody Makers.
To kick off the Ska/Dub portion of the battle royale, we'll hear from some classic Ska bands, like The Skatilites and The Pioneers. Wedged in there, too will be a tune from the great Jimmy Cliff (which is actually sort of a Dub track). But if I were to place a bet on who the winners may be in this battle, I would have to place it on the chunk of music that features The Specials, Madness and The English Beat. They were all part of the Ska revival that took place in the early 1980s. I'll even throw in a Reggae-tinged song by The Police. Why would this chunk be my choice? Well, they're some of the bands that I grew up loving, so they all hold a special place in my mind.
For a couple of Dub tracks, I'll feature a classic track from the Dub great The Scientist. Dub, like Ska, was an off-shoot of Reggae music that was able to become it's own, unique genre of music. Another dub track I'll play is a more contemporary track from a band more associated with Rap music--The Beastie Boys. Off thier new CD "Hot Sauce Committee Part Two," they have a song on there that is clearly Dub inspired. It features the singer Santigold.
So, which genre will be a clear winner? You'll have to tune in and weigh in to decide. The World Music Show aires Saturday nights at 10:00 p.m. on WCVE Public Radio. You can follow me on Twitter, @wcveworldmusic.