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Hey Brother...Can you Spare Some Ska?
Vegas Records Cheap-O Ska Comp. (Vegas Records)

By: Alex Steininger

One of the biggest hotbeds in ska today is Orange County. And deep in the heart of Orange County lies Vegas Records. With so much going on in the scene, you need a compilation to help guide you through the scene. And those geniuses at Vegas Records (particularly Jonny "Vegas" Halperin) have came up with a great idea! "Hey Brother Can you Spare Some Ska?," the first cheap-o ska compilation anywhere. Packed with twenty four great tracks from some hot ska bands across the country (but mostly in Southern California), you WILL find something you like on this compilation.

Pocket Lent start the compilation off with "Fat Albert (Jimmy Smith Remix)," a jazz-ska instrumental. It leans on the jazz side pretty heavily, and of course it will get you up movin'. You'll find yourself swaying and dancing along with the music. The horns are full and rich. Next up is The Hippos with "When Will I Learn." This pop-ska band plays an infectious blend sure to get you up and skankin'. The vocals are clean and soothing, while the rest of the band backs up everything quite nice. And on to some more comical pop-ska-rockabilly courtesy of Jefferies Fan Club. "I Want More" is one of the best songs on the album. The vocals are clear as water, and they add a lot of emphasis on each word. The horns are strong enough and carry themselves quite nice. The drums pound away, while the bass plays next to it well. The guitar will get those feet of yours skankin' the night away. My Superhero brings "Another Kind" to the album. This pop-rock-ska quartet with an accordion knows how to have a good time. It starts out with a very pop-rock feeling, and then it busts right into a beautiful blend of ska and pop. The bass beats along and sometimes comes out and shines like the morning sun. Everything seems so right, it can't be wrong. This song will get you hooked, and you'll be wanting to check out other My Superhero material. Now we come to the Pharmaceutical Bandits, a band I hadn't heard prior to this compilation. This ska-punk band hasn't done anything new or exciting on this song that hasn't been done before, but for some reason this became my favorite track on the album. It goes from fast ska beats to medium paced punk beats during the chorus. The horns give the song a nicer, more enriched sound to it. Nothing new or exciting, but this band has a flare and carries themselves quite well. Definitely a song to check out. Undercover S.K.A. contributes an up tempo, third wave ska track by the title of "March Slob." The horns are exceptional, and the guitar will make you pick up your feet and dance. Very nicely done. The Cherry Poppin' Daddies bring "Don Quixote," a very upbeat, fast ska song that will make you break a sweat when you dance to this track. The song is another stand out track on the album, and is sure to keep you warm during many cold nights. Cousin Oliver, another band I hadn't heard prior to this compilation, surprised me with "Shot My Boss." The vocals are strong, rough punk vocals. The horns are played adequately, but the beats are too powerful to pass up on. They'll make you either mosh, or get up and frantically skank. I look forward to hearing more from these guys in the future. Other bands to appear on this twenty four cheap-o ska compilation are: Red Session, Link 80, The Mudsharks, Swingtones, Home Grown, Warsaw, and more!

The suggested retail on this CD is $3.99. It is well worth $10, but the nice folks at Vegas Records care more about the music than the money! That is how scenes are built. Support ska, support your local ska scene, and support Vegas Records for taking time out of their lives to make this compilation possible. It's very rare I give a compilation a score higher than an A- (and that's when it's exceptional), but in this case it is too amazing to be true. A twenty four track ska comp. for only $3.99? It deserves an A+!

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