music clip of the day


Category: ska

Wednesday, 1/25/12

trying to teach white folks

This Is Ska! (1964)



 found words

Real Messages from Heaven

—book title (Books-A-Million, 144 S. Clark St., Chicago)

Wednesday, 12/28/11

more favorites from the past year



Is any drummer more lyrical?

Paul Motian, drummer, composer, collaborator, bandleader
March 25, 1931-November 22, 2011

Paul Motian Trio (PM, drums; Joe Lovano, saxophone; Bill Frisell, guitar), “It Should’ve Happened a Long Time Ago” (P. Motian), live, New York (Village Vanguard), 2005



Sometimes he would strip a beat to absolute basics, the sound of brushes on a dark-toned ride cymbal and the abrupt thump of his low-tuned kick drum. Generally, a listener could locate the form, even when Mr. Motian didn’t state it explicitly.

“With Paul, there was always that ground rhythm, that ancient jazz beat lurking in the background,” said the pianist Ethan Iverson, one of the younger bandleaders who played with and learned from him toward the end.

Mr. Motian’s final week at the [Village] Vanguard was with Mr. Osby and Mr. Kikuchi, in September. “He was an economist: every note and phrase and utterance counted,” Mr. Osby said on Tuesday. “There was nothing disposable.”

—Ben Ratliff, New York Times11/22/11

(Originally posted 11/23/11.)


You’re never too young to die.

 Amy Winehouse, September 14, 1983-July 23, 2011

“Tears Dry On Their Own”

Take 1: original recording and video (2006)

Vodpod videos no longer available.


Take 2: remix by Organized Noize Dungeon Family (Big Boi)
(released 7/24/11)

Vodpod videos no longer available.

(Originally posted 7/26/11.)


Today we remember him with a mix of new clips and old favorites.

Gil Scott-Heron, April 1, 1949-May 27, 2011

“The Bottle,” live, Jamaica (Montego Bay, Reggae Sunsplash), 1983
Cool Runnings: The Reggae Movie (1983)


I’m New Here (2010)

“Where Did The Night Go”


“Me And The Devil” (Robert Johnson)


It’s a remix world.

“New York Is Killing Me” (2010), Chris Cunningham remix


Here’s the original track, followed by a couple more remixes.

Vodpod videos no longer available.


With Nas

Vodpod videos no longer available.


With Mos Def

Vodpod videos no longer available.



musical thoughts

In the dark times, will there also be singing? Yes, there will be singing. About the dark times.

—Bertolt Brecht

(Originally posted 5/30/11.)


Lloyd Knibb, drummer (Skatalites, et al.)
March 8, 1931-May 12, 2011

Lloyd Knibb’s importance to Jamaican music can’t be overstated. The inventor of the ska beat at Coxson Dodd’s Studio One, Knibb created a sound that spread like wildfire the world over.

—Carter Van Pelt, host, Eastern Standard Time, WKCR-FM

“Freedom Sound,” live, Belgium (Lokerse Festival), 1997


Live, Los Angeles, 2007




(Originally posted 5/18/11.)

Wednesday, 6/29/11

Certain musicians never let me down. They always lift my spirits.
This guy’s one.

Hamid Drake (drums) & Bindu, live, Finland (Tampere), 2010

Vodpod videos no longer available.

More? Here. And here.

Wednesday, 5/18/11

(an occasional series)

Lloyd Knibb, drummer (Skatalites, et al.)
March 8, 1931-May 12, 2011

Lloyd Knibb’s importance to Jamaican music can’t be overstated. The inventor of the ska beat at Coxson Dodd’s Studio One, Knibb created a sound that spread like wildfire the world over.

—Carter Van Pelt, host, Eastern Standard Time, WKCR-FM

Skatalites, “Freedom Sound,” live, Belgium (Lokerse Festival), 1997


Skatalites, “Latin Go Ska,” live, Los Angeles, 2007


Skatalites, live, Los Angeles, 2007


Skatalites, “(Straighten Up And) Fly Right”



reading table


It would be
good to shrug
out of winter
as cicadas do:
look: a crisp
freestanding you
and you walking
off, soft as

—Kay Ryan

Wednesday, 2/3/10

Last week we heard the Blues Busters and the Maytals.

Here’s a very young Jimmy Cliff.

Jimmy Cliff, “King of Kings,” live, Jamaica (Kingston [Sombrero Club]), 1962



The Sound System was and is an integral part of the Jamaican social scene especially the working class who rely on this for their entertainment and social life. The middle and upper class fly to Miami and N.Y while the working class depend on the Sound System, which had an impact on my life from my boyhood days in the countryside of Jamaica where I could listen the Sound System at the big upstairs house that was beside the little house where I lived with my Father and my Brother.

This big upstairs downstairs house had a bar called ” Money Rock Tavern ” where the Sound System called “Pope Pius” would play and this was my me only opportunity to hear different kinds of music especially Latino.

My parents were staunch Christians so I was not permitted to associate with those kinds of music so I had to hide and steel away to go to the fair grounds where dances and fairs were held. I could see and learn the latest Dance moves and hear the latest, Rumba, R’n’B, Calypso, Merengay etc…

A little later in my youth life my Father managed to buy a little battery powered radio so I had another opportunity to tune in to American radio particularity New Orleans and Miami, and of course Cuba which is close to Jamaica only 90 miles away. On the local radio station I learned of local Artists writing and recording their own songs so I decided to write my own while still in school, quite a fete for a little country boy but I had high ambitions. Among the locals that inspired me wave Derrick Morgan, Prince Buster and Monty Morris.

After leaving primary school at Somerton my father took me to the capital of Jamaica Kingston to go to Kingston technical school, with a few songs in my head I had written. Where I was going to live was unknown but I ended up in East Kingston. Miss Gwen a stranger Lady said she would cook and wash my clothes while I slept with my cousin in his one rented room.

I was happy to be in Kingston to fulfil my dreams. I tried many producers while still going to school studing radio and tv trying to get the songs recorded without much luck. I entered talent shows and won some and was cheated on some. One night I was walking past a record store and restaurant as they were closing, I pushed myself in and sang for the Chinese owners of the store and convinced one of them Leslie Kong to go into the recording business starting with me.

My second recording with him Hurricane Hattie became a number one hit in Jamaica. I followed that hit up with Miss Jamaica, One Eyed Jacks, King of Kings and Leslie Kong went on to become King Kong among the producers in Jamaica.

This was the ska era of Jamaican Music.—Jimmy Cliff

Wednesday, 1/27/10

Let’s head back to Kingston for more ska.

The Maytals (before becoming “Toots & . . .”), “Treat Me Bad,” “She Will Never Let You Down,” live, Jamaica (Kingston [Sombrero Club]), 1962

Monday, 1/25/10

Sax player in a ska band—easiest job in music?

The Blues Busters, “I Don’t Know,” live, Jamaica (Kingston [Sombrero Club]), 1962

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