Bad ska puns aside, I’ve been meaning to do a ska playlist for some time now but felt like now was a good time. Pretty much, I couldn’t think of a November playlist theme. Voting songs? eh, maybe. Thanksgiving songs? Do they even exist? This November “Skanksgiving“ playlist is simply a list of my favorite ska bands and songs. Songs I’ve listened to over the years, ones that got me into ska music, etc. Just an excellent mix of Jamaica ska, 2 tone, Third wave, ska punk, ska core and every other sub-genre you can think of. Check it out rude boys and rude girls!
1. Pilfers – “Generation”
It’s hard to pick just 1 Pilfers song because I love them all. They were my favorite ska band and still are! I always loved “Choose Life” off their Chawalaleng album but “Generation” off their self-titled is by far my favorite from the Pilfers.
2. The Toasters – “East Side Beat”
There are many Toasters songs to use for a great ska playlist. It was a toss up between “East Side Beat” and “Social Security” and ESB won.
3. Bad Manners – “My Girl Lollipop”
My Girl Lollipop is the first Bad Manners song that I heard and I immediately fell in love with the band. I love my fatty fatty.
4. The Specials – “A Message To You, Rudy”
Simply a classic!….even though it’s a cover.
5. Edna’s Goldfish – “I’m Your Density”
Besides the Pilfers, Edna’s Goldfish was my other favorite ska band that I had to see every time they played a show in the area. Or in some cases, in other States. Their albums are still in heavy rotation on my iPod.
6. The Pietasters – “Girl Take It Easy”
The Pietasters’ Oolooloo album is a ska masterpiece. Every song on there is excellent! I always liked listening to “Girl Take It Easy.”
7. Mighty Mighty Bosstones – “Cowboy Coffee”
Out of all of the Bosstones songs and albums, I still prefer More Noise & Other Disturbances and their song “Cowboy Coffee” over all their other stuff. It’s something about that song that’s make it a perfect ska song to me. It’s bouncy!
8. English Beat – “Too Nice To Talk To”
Believe it or not, “Too Nice To Talk To” was the first Beat song I heard, from what I can remember. I probably heard “Save It For Later” on the radio or MTV but I can’t remember. This one made me into a fan though.
9. Madness – “Our House”
The song I’ve loved since the ‘80s, back when I didn’t know this was technically a ska/2 tone song. Whatever style it is, it’s an amazing song!
10. The Hotknives – “Always Tomorrow”
For some reason, I thought the Hotknives were from Germany when I first started listening to them. I think it’s because their album “Home” was on the German label Grover. “Always Tomorrow” is off that album and it’s an excellent one too!
11. Desmond Dekker – “Get Up Edina”
Desmond Dekker is the King of the Ska! “Get Up Edina” makes me want to dance. Dekker has plenty of awesome songs to pick from for a playlist/mix.
12. Laurel Aitken – “Sally Brown”
Laurel Aitken is the Godfather of Ska! The first song I heard from Aitken was “Sally Brown” and I’m glad I had the chance to see him perform in NYC back in the ‘90s.
13. Hepcat – “Nigel”
The soulful Cali ska band Hepcat features actor Alex Dessert. They were a highlight of the 90s/00s ska scene, in my opinion anyway. Dual singers that complimented each other very well, as well as the rest of the members who were top notch. “Nigel” always ended up on mixes that I made for people. So here it goes on another list!
14. Skankin’ Pickle – “David Duke Is Running For President”
Skankin’ Pickle were one of the first ska bands I listened to. The outdated but still catchy as hell “David Duke Is Running For President” is a good song to start with if you’re just getting into the band.
15. Mustard Plug – “Beer Song”
For someone who doesn’t drink alcohol, I certainly like a lot of bands that sing about.
16. Less Than Jake – “Johnny Quest Thinks We’re Sellouts”
After all these years, Less Than Jake are still going strong. “Johnny Quest Thinks We’re Sellouts” and “My Very Own Flag” made me a fan as soon as heard those songs.
17. The Aquabats – “Super Rad”
Before the Bat Commander was torturing parents with trippy children shows (Yo Gabba Gabba), he was making fun superhero ska! “Super Rad” is a bouncy ska song that will make you want to don a cape and mask and become a Aqua cadet.
18. Voodoo Glow Skulls – “Insubordination“
Still a favorite of mine. One of the best ska-core songs ever!
19. Blue Meanies – “Tread”
Blue Meanies may sound very LOUD live, but their studio albums were kick-ass!
20. Mephiskapheles – “Doomsday”
One of the first ska songs to completely blow me away. No, not like that..
21. Buck O Nine – “Water In My Head”
I believe “Water In My Head” was the first BO9 song I heard. I believe it might have been the music video for this song, either in 120 Minutes or some surfing/skating show.
22. Mu330 – “Stuff”
Ska: The Third Wave compilation was a big ska influence on me. This was one of the songs on that compilation album.
23. Sgt Scagnetti – “Sideshow”
Sgt Scagnetti may not be as known as other bands on this list but I was always entertained by their music, particularly their track “Sideshow.”
24. The Busters – “More Fun”
The first Busters album I bought was Dead or Alive album. I heard “Chainsaw Reggae” on the radio and dug that song. But I actually like the track “More Fun” a lot better.
25. Arthur Kay & The Originals – “Play My Record”
I’m not really familiar with Arthur Kay & The Originals too much but always found “Play My Record” one of the best ska songs from the 2 tone era.
26. The Wailers – “Simmer Down”
Before Bob, Peter and Bunny slowed things down with reggae, the Wailers played upbeat ska music like “Simmer Down.”
27. Toots and the Maytals – “54-46 That’s My Number”
A reggae and ska classic!
28. Ska-Dows – “Yes Yes Yes”
Another band I don’t really know all that well except a few tracks, like “Yes Yes Yes.” Starts to get repetitive after awhile but I still dig the song a lot.
29. Planet Smashers – “J’Aime Ta Femme (I Like Your Girl)”
I’ve been a fan of The Planet Smashers since their first album. Their songs “Mission Aborted” and “Pee in the Elevator” were played heavily early on but it wasn’t until their Mighty album that I felt the band have made their best album.
30. Spring Heeled Jack – “Running Man”
This CT Ska band were admired by a lot of people but in all honestly, I thought their songs were hit or miss. I liked only a few tracks from their first album “Static World View”, but liked more on their second album “Songs From Suburbia” when they were forced to change their name to have USA at the end of it. Whatever, I still call them Spring Heeled Jack.
31. Sublime – “Wrong Way”
Was never a fan of Sublime back in the day, maybe it’s because I wasn’t a pothead. But out of their songs I could tolerate, “Wrong Way” was one of the few.
32. The Agents – ”Every Night”
The Agents’ album <401> is a terrific ska album, and the most notable track on there is “Every Night.” Catchy, upbeat and makes me wish I saw these guys live.
33. The Smooths – “In The Grass”
The Smooths were an underrated ska band that should have been more popular than they were. You might have heard “In The Grass” on a few compilations before but it’s a cool tune.
34. Mock Turtle Soup – “Skankin’ On My Lungs”
Spawn of Skarmageddon was an awesome comp that featured a lot of bands I would go on to listen to regularly. While Mock Turtle Soup didn’t have an impressive array of songs, “Skankin’ On My Lungs” was their best song.
35. Johnny Socko – “If I Didn’t Have A Goiter”
Wacky ska at its finest!
36. Inspecter 7 – “Regret”
The popular NJ ska band Inspecter 7 still play reunion shows here and there, and were always cool to see live. Their albums were pretty damn good too.
37. The Porkers – “X-Factor”
My favorite ska band from Down Under! Peter Porker and co. are still at it, playing ska the way it should be played. Fun, entertaining and loud!
38. Stubborn All-Stars – “Friend”
The all-star ska band that featured King Django on vocals. I remember 120 Minutes used to air this music video a lot, well…back when they aired ska videos.
39. Chris Murray – “Rock Steady”
Chris Murray played at the first ska show I went to. I didn’t know what to think when I originally saw him but over time, really grew to appreciate his acoustic ska music!
40. Don Drummond – “Man in the Street”
I don’t like too many songs from the Skatalites or other instrumental Jamaica ska stuff, but this Don Drummond song always seemed to be played when I was in the mood for it.
41. The Slackers – “Keep Him Away”
Even though the Slackers keep releasing music after music, I still find myself going back to listen to their Hellcat Records album The Question. Just a perfect blend of ska, rocksteady and reggae.
42. Slow Gherkin – “Trapped Like Rats in Myers Flat”
The first album from Slow Gherkin is just okay, but their second album took the band to another level!
43. Bigger Thomas – “Ska In My Pocket”
How can you have ska in my pocket? Well I guess Bigger Thomas will tell ya!
44. Perfect Thyroid – “Right Ground”
Local Hudson Valley, NY ska/funk/fishbone-ish band have a wide variety of sounds. My favorite track from them was the song “Right Ground” off their album Which One Of Us Is Me?
45. The Scofflaws – “William Shatner”
“Captain of his crew and he knows kung fu, and he did Joan Collins in 1932.”
46. Mad Caddies – “Villains”
Ska, punk, rock, polka, dixie, chamber music. The Mad Caddies know how to do it all!
47. The Eclectics – “Siddhartha”
The Eclectics’ Idle Worship album off Jump Up Records was hit or miss but this track “Siddhartha” was the stand out track.
48. Suicide Machines – “Hey”
The Suicide Machines were more ska earlier in their career, but gave us sprinkles of it in their other albums. “Hey Ska” still stands out as one of my favorites from them. Vinny Nobile signature trombone sound is heard throughout this song and album as well!
49. Operation Ivy – “Sound System”
Greatest ska-punk band ever?
50. Slapstick – “The Punks”
Before The Lawrence Arms, Tuesday, The Broadways was the punk/ska band from Chicago, Slapstick. “The Punks” is a good one to put on a playlist, as well as “The Park,” “Good Times Gone” and “There’s A Metal Head in the Parking Lot.”
51. Skanic – “Closet Case”
Bouncy keyboard-driven Cali ska! On this album they even do a brilliant cover of Nirvana’s “Breed.”
52. The Suspects – “Another Day Another Dollar”
I couldn’t tell you what other songs The Suspects do, but this one was played throughout my early years of ska. It was played on a college radio show all the time, but never knew who it was or what the song was called at the time. It’s a catchy tune!
53. Ruder Than You – “Uncle Albert”
There’s something about “Uncle Albert” that makes me want to dance around like you would for Sugarhill Gang’s “Apache.”
54. OC Supertones – “Supertones Strike Back”
Christian silliness aside, this is one catchy ska song!
55. Let’s Go Bowling – “Daddy’ Girl”
“You said I can have it Daddy!” I hope this wasn’t a song about Mackenzie Phillips.
56. Mark Foggo’s Skasters – “Lucky To Be Alive”
Mark Foggo’s Skasters’ album Ska Pig has so many good ska tracks on it, it’s hard to just pick one.
57. Mr Review – “The Street Where I’m Living”
2 Tone ska from Amsterdam! The best-of compilation from Moon Records is a good way to be introduced to the band.
58. Fishbone – “Ugly”
Fishbone aren’t just a funk band ya know! They have many ska tracks like “Ugly” “Skankin to the Beat” “Party at Ground Zero” and “A Selection.”
59. Justin Hinds and The Dominoes – “Rub Up Push Up”
Classic Jamaica ska from Justin Hinds.
60. Prince Buster – “Madness”
Highly influential ska & rocksteady singer. “Madness” is a good one to include on a ska playlist.
61. Square Roots – “Program Zero”
Sing in gibberish! It’s fun!
62. General Public – “Tenderness”
Dave Wakeling and Ranking Roger know how to write a catchy number!
63. The Selecter – “On My Radio”
This song is still very relevant today.
64. Skavoovie & The Epitones – “Blood Red Sky”
My favorite song from Skavoovie. Usually they were too instrumental for my liking but not this one.
65. Skinnerbox – “Nex Finga”
“Nex Finga” showcases King Django’s toasting and singing. Good tune!
66. Dancehall Crashers – “Othello”
After awhile, DHC ditched the horns and just went with a more Cali pop punk that had an occasional ska riff. But before hand, they had horns and “Othello” was a great track. It took awhile for me to like the Dancehall Crashers simply because I’m not a fan of girl singers in the genre.
67. Bim Skala Bim – “Wise Up”
“Wise Up” was a Bim Skala Bim song I always heard on the college radio shows I listened to. It’s that song that made me appreciate their Boston ska music.
68. The Skunks – “Janie”
I don’t really like too many tracks from The Skunks but “Janie” was always a favorite from them.
69. Catch 22 – “Keasbey Nights”
Was never a fan of Catch 22 but if I had to pick a song from them, it would be “Keasbey Nights.”
70. Horny Toad – “Shiver”
Don’t know Horny Toad? I don’t really know their music besides 2 tracks. “Shiver” got video airplay on MTV and is a cool track.
71. The Hippos – “Please”
I’m a fan of the Hippos first album only. I honestly don’t even think I heard their second one or anything afterwards. But each track on Forget The World was good stuff!
72. Bruce Lee Band – “Gerry Is Strong”
Mike Park + Less Than Jake = AWESOME!
73. Skoidats – “Goggles & Blinders”
Who knew ska bands existed (or did) in friggin’ Montana?
74. Goldfinger – “Superman”
Goldfinger have a handful of ska influenced punk rock songs, like “Superman.” You can hear that song also in the comedy movie Kingpin.
75. Reel Big Fish – “Sellout”
Let’s finish things off with a Reel Big Fish song that I still enjoy, even though some ska purists hate RBF. A catchy tune is a catchy tune. This music video still cracks me up too.