The Adjusters, Before The Revolution

The Adjusters, Before The Revolution

This is not what I’d expected, I must admit, especially from trad-ska mainstay Moon Records. This isn’t “straight” ska, by any means — hell, a lot of it isn’t ska at all. Two-thirds of the songs are funky, James Brown-/Percy Sledge-ish soul jams, straight out of Soul Bruthah Numbah One’s personal bag, and the rest are jazzy ska/funk instrumentals. Those expecting full-on Two-Tone are gonna be left wanting, ’cause this is a lot more Sam & Dave than The Toasters. (For those who happen to be soul-ignorant, think The Commitments, okay?) The band openly admits it, too — in the CD booklet, they claim to be a soul band, and say that “some of our soul is Jamaican.”

And if you think about it, it makes sense, because ska itself came out of Jamaican players covering popular American soul songs and big-band instrumentals; go back and listen to some old Alton Ellis or Desmond Dekker, if you don’t believe me. The stuff on here belongs in that same camp — this is really well-done, and very cool, especially when it comes to the vocals. “Number Three,” particularly, brings me to tears, as does “Pressure 24,” and “Clare Short” may well be the finest ska instrumental I’ve ever heard, without exaggeration.

Also worth noting is the band’s political agenda on songs like “Witness” and “None But Heaven,” both of which have a serious, very real socialist slant (which is fine by me, I might add, because they’re talking true socialism, not the evil cartoon version of socialism we’re all fed by the media). And man, I dig that keyboard… Pay attention, ska fans, ’cause ska’s come full circle.

(Moon Ska Records -- P.O. Box 1412, New York, NY. 10276; )
BUY ME: Amazon

Review by . Review posted Friday, October 1st, 1999. Filed under Reviews.

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