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September 20, 2017


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Achtung Elmo (Elmo Records)

By: Richard Vardaro

This compilation is from Elmo Records, a sub label of Grover Records, based in Germany and focused on ska, punk and diverse musical styles.

Compilations are usually "hit or miss". One song will be good and the next will be like a lure, pulling your hand towards the up button. In this compilation, the trend continued. It started off nicely with the Peacocks. They were edgy, punk-like with a double bass. Continued on, to Loaded with a funny drinking song in "Ten Beers Later". Frau Doktor, all German speaking, impressed me with their instrumental, "1/2 Broiler". Then it hit me. The song that makes the compilation. There's at least always one. But this was it. Caribbean Beat Combo with "Smilin'", a previously unreleased song, knocks your socks off with this booty-groovin', ska/reggae jam. For nearly 4 minutes, the Caribbean Beat Combo smack you with great musical versatility and a reggae solo to boot. Furthermore, they continue to impress me with their NYSJE-like (New York Ska-Jazz Ensemble) instrumental "Surfin' Out". Next, Spicy Roots provide a good upbeat sound with "Life's Too Short". Lastly, Court Jester's Crew, who I've seen perform with the Godfather of Ska, Laurel Aitken, turned it up with their infectious reggae style on both "Machinery" and "Break Out".

V/A Achtung Elmo has its hits and its misses. The previously unreleased track of "Smilin'" by the Caribbean Beat Combo is worth buying this disc to have it for your reggae/ska collection.

Recommended Tracks:
9. Caribbean Beat Combo - Smilin'
10. Caribbean Beat Combo - Surfin' Out
12. Spicy Roots - Life's Too Short
18. Court Jester's Crew - Machinery
19. Court Jester's Crew - Break Out

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