I basically have rude boy ska on 24/7 as I listen to more of it, and try out different names, associated acts, and read about the years the records are pressed and to read them.
I’m not sure yet how to differentiate between the the blended genres of ska and reggae in words yet. I think I might eventually find or understand how to say them, because I can tell the difference in at least two general sub genre, ska and reggae.
Reggae is often the default term, including ska, but there is a significant difference in theme, enunciation and singing voices. At times though, there is always cross over between the elements of reggae and ska. Ska artists often did songs that were less “ska” and I wouldn’t be surprised if more post-ska reggae had elements of ska in it inherently bu virtue of that one leads to the other.
Ska —–> Reggae
Imagine the difference in R&B and trap rap put over the same beat, at different tempos. Ska is “rude boy music” and reggae is “deadlock rasta music”
And like, the Wailers, being Marley’s band, and the people involved in that were largely a part of the ska scene before roots reggae was formed from it. So, as I’ve said, it’s possible to differentiate them, but they are also always a part of each other — ska and reggae.
If the name Skatalites didn’t give it away, this band and most of its tracks are what I’m going to say are the best example of ska as a thing like but different than roots, which is funny because Bob Marley and Wailers, then the Wailing Wailers, were the first to do a rendition of Simmer Down. It was their first success. Recorded in 1963, it basically sums ska up really well
It’s fast and up beat and the themes of the songs largely involve –like it or not– ska being made up of and and surrounded by rude boys, which were basically criminals. (A more common term today in dancehall culture would probably be badman which translates to gangster more or less). The song incorporates elements of jazz heavily to have a spastic quality and there is no slowing down of the guitar with a spiritually smoking weed way of being calmed or at peace. Ska is wild. Roots reggae is not.
Additionally, do this one by Desmond Drekker and his band the Aces, 007 (Shanty Town), recorded in 1967.
Both are about rude boy culture. The first asks for the rudeys to try to relax. The second empathizes with why the rude boy does not relax.
But what I like about ska is the energy that seems draind out of it in the average roots reggae stuff. It’s a similar sound, but with dumbed down horns to do less jazz and a more soulful singing style.
Ska is a reggae music that you’re supposed to constantly move to and not stop for any reason. It’s pure and sheer energy that the reggae guitar strumming we know today was invented by, but it wasn’t left to be a calmness. It was sped up to blow horns by and do a constant dance of moving as much as you possibly can in a back and forth way nonstop with variation in how so.
That’s the best I can do and I’m pretty sure I did an okay enough job explaining. Although, I’d like to check out some more tracks from the 1950s, when ska originated, because it seems a lot of these are in the 60s. Also, I can’t even begin to tell you how to define rocksteady, which also came before reggae. So I’ll get to that, too.
Also like, there is an entire other part to this post which diverges into another topic as long as this one, so I’ll save it for another post, though it has already been pretty written.
I’mma leave you with a 1977 singing female reggae duo, Althea and Donna, doing Uptown Top Ranking; and I’m going to post the live video so you can see their performance and how sexy they are. (ha!)
But seriously Next to those rude boy songs, this is pretty calm. But it’s not nearly the type of calm I’m talking about as this
All I really have to say about this song is, I’m not that interested in listening to it and, see what is missing from it?
I’m too much like a ska song to be as much like a reggae song. I’m never calm and I’m always happy anyway., c