Thursday, May 1, 2014

SKApril: Epilogue

One of my favorite aspects of SKApril is that a different band provides each day's R.B.D.S.O.T.D. This both allows us to survey more of the depth and breadth of ska & prevents the month from being utterly dominated by the "big three" of third-wave ska—The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Reel Big Fish, & Less Than Jake. Two new bands debuted this SKApril: The A-OKs & Streetlight Manifesto. "Ska is dead" is a constant & ironic refrain, but it is always nice to be reminded that it isn't also true, that there is new ska out there to be discovered. Five bands were featured who hadn't been heard from since the very first SKApril, in 2011: Potshot, The Skatalites, The Toasters, Unsteady, & Catch 22. About halfway through the month I made the conscious decision not to include Slow Gherkin in this SKApril. I like Slow Gherkin, they'd been a part of each & every SKApril since the festival's founding in '11, & that was the problem. They just didn't seem to cut the mustard alongside the rest of the SKApril "All -Stars," those bands that have contributed a song to every SKApril: The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Reel Big Fish, Less Than Jake, The Aquabats!, Mu330, The Hippos, Mustard Plug, & local favorites The Loose Ties. No Desmond Dekker this year, as was the case in '12, the last time we emphasized inserting every benchwarmer into the last game of the year for at least one official play. Fear not, The Skatalites & Prince Buster burnished our old school bona fides.

That's another SKApril in the books. This year SKApril's influenced reached as far as Poland—or Polska as it is known in Polish. SKApril brought together far-flung ska kids (of all ages) from all across the country, & served as a rallying point for friends whose lives afford them little occasion to interact & share the music that binds them. April is nothing special, but SKApril is my favorite month of the musical year. We end with the words with which we began SKApril '14: "Don't stop skankin'!"

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, "I Wrote It" from Pin Points and Gin Joints (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary (no more "Skammentary"): Normally, after SKApril we try to place a short moratorium on ska songs as the R.B.D.S.O.T.D., but this year I am really ruing that April has only thirty days & not thirty-one, or forty. It seems the only thing I want to listen to is the Bosstones, specifically Pin Points and Gin Joints, their first all-new post-hiatus album. So, for now the traditional moratorium is kaput & all the normal rules of the R.B.D.S.O.T.D. apply—ska songs are fair game.

"I wrote it with a golf pencil I pulled out of my blazer,
The crest sewn on the chest read, 'Old Gold Rugby Club,'
Worn at one time by a man had at one time went to Yale,
Then he worked a while on Wall Street 'til the market collapsed.

"I was in a bar room that was somewhere on the southern shore of Boston,
The tender of the bar poured me a whiskey on the house,
I have a love for whiskey, I chased it with a beer,
I have a love for Boston and I loved writing it there.

"I wrote it in a notebook that somebody let me borrow.
'Don't use all the paper please and if you could bring it back to me tomorrow,'
It was a fair request and I was grateful for the loan;
I had to jot a thought down I came up with on my own.

"I wrote it in October and I mention that because
Out of all the months there are I've always liked that one the best.
I don't know why I bring this up, but there are times I wonder what
Had ever happened to that man, I wonder, after the collapse.

"I wrote it in a notebook that somebody let me borrow…

"I wrote, I wrote it for you!
I wrote, I wrote it for you!
I wrote, I wrote it for you!
I wrote, I wrote it for you!

"I wrote it in an hour or so, so really not much longer.
I put the pencil in the shot glass and I buttoned up my blazer,
I stepped out into the cold October sun,
I must return the notebook; it's not important what I wrote."

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