Heather Augustyn

“A Philosophical Look at Ska and Jamaican Music” with guest Heather Augustyn

Heather Augustyn

ORIGINALLY RECORDED DECEMBER 18, 2020
ORIGINALLY BROADCAST JANUARY 10, 2021

To listen to the podcast via iTunes, click here.
For a transcript of this episode, click here.

Jamaica is the home of a great musical tradition. Most people know about reggae, but before that, there was dancehall, rocksteady, and our host’s personal favorite, ska. It’s a rich and diverse dance music that mixes Caribbean sounds with jazz, R&B, and punk rock, to explore politics, history, and the legacy of slavery. Join Why? Radio and our guest Heather Augstyn as we explore how this little-known genre spread around the world, racking up hit, after hit, after hit.

Heather Augutyn is an author, photographer, and a continuing lecturer at Purdue University, Northwest. She’s written seven books on Jamaican music, including Ska: An Oral History, Ska The Music of Liberation, and Women in Jamaican Music, was just released this past May. She maintains a blog at Skabook.com

The music you heard on this episode is:

“54-46 was my number” – Toots and the Maytals: Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube.
“Rise Up” – The Skints: Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube
“Schooling the Duke” – Don Drummond: Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube.
“Sell Out” – Reel Big Fish: Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube.
“East Side Beat” – Toasters: Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube.
“Women of the ghetto” – Hortense Ellis: Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube.
“Easy Snappin’” – Theo Beckford: Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube.

The video in which Bob Marley explains the difference between Ska, Reggae, and Rocksteady: YouTube.

The song Jack discussed in his monologue was One Step Beyond. The version he heard, by Madness, is here: Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube. The original version, by Prince Buster, is here: Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube.

Jack also referenced, but did not play, Doreen Shaffer “Sugar, Sugar.” You can hear this version here: Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube.

Ten Great Ska Songs

Interestingly, when Heather and Jack compared lists, they overlapped about 40%. This gave them each the opportunity to expand beyond their first choices.

Heather’s list:

“Eastern Standard Time” – Don Drummond: Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube.
“Simmer Down” – The Wailing Wailers & The Skatalites: Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube.
“King of Kings” – Jimmy Cliff: Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube.
“My Boy Lollipop” – Millie Small: Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube.
“Gangsters” – The Specials: Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube.
“Ranking Full Stop” -The Beat: Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube.
“Carry Go Bring Come” – Justin Hinds & the Dominoes: Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube
“Party at Ground Zero” – Fishbone: Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube.
“Monkey Ska” – Hepcat: YouTube.
“Centrifuge” by New York Ska Jazz Ensemble: Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube

 Jack’s list:

“Pressure Drop” – Toots and the Maytalls: Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube.
“Skinhead Moonstomp” – Symarip: Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube.
“The Prince” – Madness: Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube.
“James Bond” – Selector: Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube.
“Run Rudy Run” – Toasters: Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube.
“Mandingo” – Untouchables: Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube.
“Make Me Smile” – Deltones: YouTube.
“Jah Laundromat” – Bim Skala Bim: Apple Music, YouTube.
“Knowledge is King” – Chainska Brassika: Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube.
“Title Holder” – The Interrupters: Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube.

Bonus track (this was not online when Jack first made his list. It is from, in his opinion, “the least known great ska album”). “Twisted Step/Under Pressure” – The Boilers: YouTube


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