Listen: Guns Of Nararone / The Skatalites SkatalitesNavarone.mp3
Is it just me, or do many of the most revered early ska singles sound off centered? Maybe a result of specific tuning, or a lack thereof. I’m not complaining, it works, but definitely noticeable.
Talk about an intro, this captures it all. The drums on the edge of distortion and, go ahead, laugh – the immediate connection with James Bond’s DR. NO. In hindsight, that was my first exposure to ska. Soon after came Millie’s ‘My Boy Lollipop’ and The Angels’ ‘Jamaica Joe’, but I made no connection with those songs having a specific genre identity for decades. They were just great records to this youngster.
I’ve no idea how many times ‘Guns Of Navarone’ was re-released, and therefore, how many Island label designs it graced. Certainly, in ’77, when ska/reggae was the politically correct music for punks and punk bands to like, instead of their own, it had a nice blip. This sleeve (although obviously not the promo pressing above it) is from that era.
Listen: Marcus Garvey / The Skatalites SkatalitesGarvey.mp3
Yet another reissue hence later label design, still carrying the copy, or lack of (writer/publisher/producer) from it’s first time around. God knows why, but I didn’t flip this one over to find yet another favorite on the B side for the longest time. Though impossible to tire of either, I do find myself punching D7 on the jukebox in order to play ‘Marcus Garvey’ probably two to one against it’s A side.
One thing these two songs remind me of constantly is that 7″ from DR. NO that lurks somewhere in my 45 shelves – for the life of me I can’t remember which artist it’s credited to – hence my never ending search through the collection’s otherwise efficient alphabetical artist listing in search of said record.