Record Label: Cleopatra Records
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Nearly a decade since releasing his last solo album under the Neville Staple Band moniker, the legendary ska vocalist of the Specials is back with the aptly titled “Ska Crazy!” on Cleopatra Records…an album full of ska covers and original tracks.
“Ska Crazy!” mixes up traditional ska and reggae covers with some two tone era tracks as well as what you can kind of call a cover of “The Farmyard Connection” since technically Neville Staple was in Fun Boy Three when the song was originally released. Mr. Staple adds his own touch to songs by Prince Buster, the Slickers, the Heptones and Max Romeo. When you throw those in the mix with some great original tunes like the eerie Ghost Town-esque “Roadblock”, the danceable two tone track “Rude Boy Returns” and the more traditional soulful ska track “Girl” complete with vocals from his wife Christine…you are treated to one hell of a ska album from the first two waves of ska.
I think that “Ska Crazy!” is a great compilation of tracks that inspired Neville throughout his career compiled with a handful of original tracks that have been festering in his mind for the past ten years. While there are more cover tracks than originals and the album does feel more like a cover album than a full on solo album, I am more than happy to have some more music to grace my ears from Neville Staple. Hailing from one of the greatest ska bands to have ever existed it would be a travesty for his distinct voice to be missing from the ska scene whether it is the fourth wave or the twenty fourth wave. His music would be welcomed either way.
Bottom Line: While “Ska Crazy!” feels more like a cover album, there are some classic original tunes sprinkled throughout with both covers and originals being great listens.
Notable Tracks: Girl, Johnny Too Bad, Roadblock, The Farmyard Connection