Friday, 18 July 2008

Three of a Kind #50

I found a great video in a charity shop the other day: Dance Craze: The Best of British Ska... Live! And what a find, featuring as it does a plethora of typically energetic performances from the six main bands of that scene - The Specials, Madness, The Beat, The Selecter, Bad Manners and The Bodysnatchers - cleverly interspersed with old Pathe newsreel footage of more staid "dance crazes" from years gone by. So there's a clever compare-and-contrast/juxtaposition type thingy going on.

How great it must've been to have been a teenager in the mid-to-late seventies, anyway, with punk and 2-Tone coming along in the space of what, three years? My older brother would have been about 12 when punk broke so he copped the lot, the jammy git. (I got some benefit, though, by having access to his great record collection from an early age - when he'd let me!)

But watching this video I have to say the whole ska scene looked like a lot more fun than its punk predecessor. Far less gobbing 'n' snarling and much more dancing 'n' larking. Dance Craze even got a cinematic release, in 1981, but sadly by the time it was completed 2-Tone was on the wane and thus the film lasted barely a week before closing in most cinemas.

Anyway, for a far more interesting and well-informed article on Dance Craze, check out this excellent piece at the 2-Tone website. There's a full track listing too.

Talking of which, what's your favourite British ska track? Here're a few of mine.

The Selecter - Three Minute Hero mp3

Madness - Swan Lake (Live) mp3

The Specials - Rat Race mp3

(mp3s available for a week)

Buy music.


I Am Not The Beatles said...

Three of a kind .... number 50!

Halfway to your hundred!

*sets off fireworks*

Davy H said...

This was only in cinemas for a week you say? Crikey, we must have got our skates on then because I remember seeing it, probably in The Odeon, Torquay. I have the LP and keep meaning to post about seems to have been forgotten despite all the 2Tone revivalism lately. IRIE.

Davy H said...

Oh, I'll have 'Rat Race' please. Worrasound.

Kippers said...

Good choice!

I think the film was probably on general release for more than a week, but most cinemas only showed it for that long before dropping it. But you did indeed do well to catch it!

Cheers, Ian TB! *raises bat to gallery in a Don Bradman stylee*

I Am Not The Beatles said...

Bloody Hell Davey, The Odeon in Torquay is - if I recall correctly - where I first saw Back To The Future.

I Am Not The Beatles said...

Oh - and my fave is really shite - so apologies in advance.

It is called Pink Slippers - I bought it at a jumble sale when I was 13 years old for 5 pence cos it was pink. Hmmmm....

Anyway, coincidentally, you can download it here to hear the horror that I secretly love :

Davy H said...

The Odeon Torquay will always be a Deeply Significant Cinema for me, being the place where I first saw 'Star Wars'(aged 12). And I bought a poster afterwards and everything.

Je connais pas Pink Slippers but you've done it now iantb, I'm going to give it a listen...

adam said...

I saw 'Star Wars' in The Dominion, when it was a cinema, in the week it came out in the UK - my aunty took me there after taking me to see Arsenal/Totenham in the afternoon. It was quite a day out.

Favourite UK ska track is really really difficult. Swan Lake is brilliant. I'd be tempted to choose Stupid Marriage or Do Nothing from The Specials, and Shut Up or Embarrassment from madness. But that's already five. I'm not very good at this.

ally. said...

those shows were indeed treasures - specials stage invasions being a particular joy. getting a pasting off a national front bus trip to the beat in lancaster wasn't quite so good but even that couldn't properly spoil even that night. happy days

JC said...

The strange thing is that I dont think the ska revival of the aerly 80s was ever as big in Scotland as it was darn sarf...

My own fave of the time....only in as much as it made me and my mates do a silly dance, was One Step Beyond. But in terms of songs, Ghost Town amd Embarassment are the two stand-out tracks.

Anonymous said...

Sally Brown by Bad Manners will defy you to keep your feet still but but i could not choose a favourite from the first selector releases, rat race, concrete jungle,one step beyond - i just don't know!
as for dance craze the movie was not shown in many places as the authorities were worried about 'the kids' kicking off & wrecking cinemas etc when they were just wantin to get up & dance, but this was the time of riots & maggie so many had to miss out, including me & i still have not seen it to this day despite ska having a huge influence on my life;
seen all the bands in it though'
aging rudie, worksop