On Phoenix City All-Stars‘ debut album Two Tone Gone Ska they did blazing ska versions of material by The Specials, The Selecter, The Beat and Madness. Now they have another cover album out, but this time they have taken on a giant of rock music – Rolling Stones.
Phoenix City All-Stars are far from newcomers and they know their ska and their Rolling Stones. The band comprises members of Pama International, The Sidewalk Doctors, Kasabian, Intensified, Dub Vendor All-Stars, The Loafers, Big Boss Man, The Bongolian and The Delegators. On vocals they are also supported by the deejay Oxman and the singer Freddie Notes, known for the smooth Montego Bay released in 1970.
Skatisfaction collects ten tracks, including hits and lesser known tracks from the mighty Rolling Stones vaults. Phoenix City All-Stars have treated them with respect and revitalized them in scorching ska and rocksteady versions.
And these frantic and storming cuts hold up well against the popular originals, especially the instrumental cut to Under My Thumb, where a haunting organ provides the original vocal line, and the honeyed Sweet Virgina, also an instrumental, and with a smooth saxophone replacing the singing.
This album has loads of raw attitude and collects driving ska and killer early reggae. Rolling Stones should be satisfied with such a well-crafted tribute set.
Making a concept cover album is not new in reggae music, and that it can be successful is proven by Easy Star All-Stars and their albums Easy Star’s Lonely Hearts Dub Band and Radiodread.
Now there is a new cover concept project. But this time commanded by Prince Fatty, the man responsible for Hollie Cook’s recent self-titled scorcher.
Battle for Seattle is a collection of ten songs originally recorded by Nirvana now performed in a reggae style.
Prince Fatty has assembled some veteran soldiers for the project. Legendary Little Roy takes the lead on the microphone singing better than ever. He’s backed by Mafia, from Mafia & Fluxy, Bubblers, from the Ruff Cut band, Junior Marvin, prior with The Wailers, and George Dekker from The Pioneers.
They fight in an old-fashioned style armed with tape and vintage analog equipment. The result is authentic reggae that echoes from the 70’s.
To win the battle for Seattle they have taken on some of Nirvana’s biggest hits, but also some lesser known tunes such as Very Ape from the In Utero album. Most people will recognize Come as You Are, Heart-Shaped Box and Lithium, even though these versions are far from the originals. The melodies are clearer and so is the singing and lyrics.
I’ve never been a fan of neither Nirvana nor grunge, but this album has been on repeat for several days now. Little Roy and Prince Fatty have definitely conquered Seattle and hopefully fans of Nirvana will join their army too.