Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Ska and the Soundtrack to My Life

Recently, Beth and Bubs had nice posts about the ska bands English Beat and the Specials. When I was a teenager, in the late seventies, ska was in its second wave. Ska came in on the same wave as punk and new wave. Ska did the impossible-- got white guys of my generation to dance. Ska was political, infectious, friendly and danceable. And the fashions were a lot of fun.

There was the Selecter and others. In central Illinois, there was a terrific group called the Uptown Rulers. Some of the best nights of my life were spent drinking and dancing at Ted's Warehouse, in Charleston, Illinois, to the Rulers. Their version of the Clash's "Charlie Don't Surf" is etched in my memory. Me and my friend Dan digitized the vinyl they had come out on, and we've been sending them out to our college friends as fast as we can.

Here's my favorite-ever ska song-- the Specials' "Concrete Jungle."
The Specials

"Glad I got my mates with me..."

For years, my friends and I tried to figure out the chant at the beginning of the song (on the record version). A few years ago, my friend Suzy from college saw the Specials and got a chance to chat them up after the show. They told her the chant was "You're goin' home in a f*ckin' ambulance/You're goin' home in a f*ckin' ambulance"


Beth said...

Doesn't ska bring out happy, dance-filled memories? I miss the days when I was regularly headed toward "goin' home in a f*ckin' ambulance." I need to go dancing.

kim said...

I just love happy dancing. Ska makes me happy dance. The only thing that doesn't make me happy dance is the Safety dance.

Bubs said...

Wasn't there a Chicago ska band called "Heavy Manners? I remember seeing them a bunch of times.

By the way, I always wondered what the chant at the beginning said. Thanks!

Johnny Yen said...

Yes-- I remember seeing ads for them. Looked them up on the net:

Anonymous said...

johnny !

How ya doin! Been looking for anything from The Uptown Rulers - what memories that still remain from Ted's I hope to never loose!

Do you have any links to any recorded sources for the Uptown Rulers?



Ernie said...

i went to school at western illinois university and remember going to the record release party of the uptown rulers at the change of pace bar. one of the best party bands ever

ernie blakey