Ska & Opinions on Jamila Woods

In the late 1950s, Jamaican musicians blended home-grown rhythms with R&B to create ska. The genre's influence quickly spread across the globe, paving the way for the reggae phenomenon. Jim and Greg explore the history of ska from its island origins to its British revival to its most recent punk incarnation. Plus, a review of the debut album from poet and soul singer Jamila Woods.

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genre dissection


Ska is an often misunderstood music genre. Isn‘t it the same as reggae? Didn’t it die out in the '90s? Jim and Greg dig into ska in a Sound Opinions genre dissection with pioneering ska musician Charley Organaire and Jump Up records founder and ska scholar Chuck Wren. Charley was present at the creation in 1950s Jamaica for what is now known as the 1st Wave of Ska. He tells us where the name came from and how the sound originated by mixing folk music known as mento with American R&B, giving rise to artists like The Skatalites, Prince Buster and Laurel Aiken. Then Chuck leads us through the 2nd Wave, or Two-Tone, movement in the late '70s England with bands like The Specials, Madness and The English Beat. And finally the 3rd Wave breaks in the United States in the 1990s with an aggressive strain of punk-infused ska that looked to be reaching the mainstream, only to fade away as quickly as it grew. But Chuck tells us that ska can still be found all over the world.

reviewJamila Woods

Jamila Woods HEAVN

In the last few years, Chicago poet and soul artist Jamila Woods has made memorable cameos on tracks by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Chance the Rapper, Donnie Trumpet, and more. Now, she's breaking out with her debut album HEAVN. Jim loves how Jamila effortlessly blends genres like soul, R&B, and hip hop. He also finds her lyrics to be powerful and effective in painting a picture of her life as a black woman. Jim thinks Woods is elevating the neo soul genre to the next level and gives HEAVN a Buy It. Greg wholeheartedly agrees, and thinks this album is another great release coming from the Chicago hip hop and R&B scene. He greatly respects Jamila's ability to poetically articulate her struggles against society's perceptions of black beauty and womanhood. Overall, Greg thinks this is one of the best albums of the year so far, and gives it an enthusiastic Buy It.



“She's Like Heroin To Me”The Gun Club

For Jim's Desert Island Jukebox pick this week, he chooses She's Like Heroin To Me by The Gun Club. Jeffrey Lee Pierce and the other founders of this band played music that did not fit into any genre labels but which might be described as "psychobilly cowpunk post-punk tribal-psychobilly-blues." Jim reminisces about the very innovative period of indie rock and punk in the '80s when The Gun Club came about, and points out how important this particular track is in understanding '80s music and expressing popular punk themes like obsession, addiction, and sex.

Featured Songs

  1. The Skatalites, Man in the Street, Stretching Out, ROIR, 1987
  2. Theo Beckford, Easy Snappin', Easy Snappin'/Proof Rum, Worldisc, 1959
  3. Count Owen and His Calypsonians, The Last Watch, Calypsos Down Jamaica Way, Dub Store, 2005
  4. Bunny & Skitter with Buster's Group, Boss Girl, Chubby/Boss Girl, Buster Wild Bells, 1961
  5. Lord Tanamo, I'm In the Mood for Ska, I'm in the Mood for Ska, Ska Beat, 1965
  6. Toots and the Maytals, Six and Sevan Book of Moses, Never Grow Old, Studio One, 1964
  7. Stranger Cole, Rough & Tough, Rough and Tough, Dutchess, 1963
  8. Charlie Organaire, Royal Charlie, Skatalites and Friends at Randy's, VP, 1998
  9. The Skatalites, Guns of Navarone, Guns of Navarone, Island, 1965
  10. Laurel Aitken, Adam and Eve, Adam and Eve/Devil Woman, Rio, 1963
  11. Richard Ace, Hang Em High, Hang Em High/Candy Lady, Trojan, 1969
  12. John Holt, On the Beach, On the Beach, Striker Blue, 1971
  13. Dave and Ansel Collins, Monkey Spanner, Double Barrel, Trojan, 1971
  14. Desmond Dekker, King of Ska, King of Kings, Trojan, 1993
  15. The Specials, A Message to You Rudy, The Specials, Two-Tone Records, 1979
  16. The Specials, It's Up To You, The Specials, Two-Tone Records, 1979
  17. The Specials, You're Wondering Now, The Specials, Two-Tone Records, 1979
  18. Madness, One Step Beyond, One Step Beyond…, Sire, 1979
  19. English Beat, Mirror in the Bathroom, I Just Can't Stop It, I.R.S., 1983
  20. The Bodysnatchers, Ruder Than You, Let's Do Rock Steady/Ruder Than You, Chrysalis, 1980
  21. Operation Ivy, Take Warning, Energy, Lookout, 1989
  22. Rancid, Time Bomb, …And Out Come the Wolves, Epitaph, 1995
  23. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, The Impression That I Get, Let's Face It, Mercury, 1997
  24. Less Than Jake, Johnny Quest Thinks We're Sellouts, Pezcore, Dill, 1995
  25. No Doubt, Spiderwebs, Tragic Kingdom, Interscope, 1995
  26. Gwen Stefani, Hollaback Girl, The Sweet Escape, BMG, 2006
  27. Count Kutu and the Balmers, Baog, Take Me, Jump Up!, 2012
  28. The Slackers, Cooking for Tommy, Redlight, Hellcat, 1997
  29. Jamila Woods, Blk Girl Soldier, HEAVN, Closed, 2016
  30. Jamila Woods, VRY BLK, HEAVN, Closed, 2016
  31. Jamila Woods, Holy, HEAVN, Closed, 2016
  32. Jamila Woods, LSD, HEAVN, Closed, 2016
  33. Jamila Woods, Bubbles, HEAVN, Closed, 2016
  34. The Gun Club, She's Like Heroin To Me, Fire of Love, Ruby, 1981
  35. Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Can't Keep Checking My Phone, Multi-Love, Jagjaguwar, 2015
  36. Bruce Springsteen, State Trooper, Nebraska, Columbia, 1982
  37. Tortoise, Cornpone Brunch, Tortoise, Thrill Jockey, 1994
  38. Explosions in the Sky, Your Hand in Mine, The Earth is Not A Cold Dead Place, Bella Union, 2003
  39. DNCE, Cake By The Ocean, SWAAY, Republic, 2015

Footnotes Jump Up Records Charley Organaire in Love Jones Jamila Woods Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment Review Chance the Rapper Review