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July 22, 2024

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Dancin' Mood (Triple Crown Records Inc./331 West 57th Street #472/New York, NY 10019)

By: Alex Steininger

Triple Crown Records brings us "Dancin' Mood," a predominately traditional ska compilation, with R & B, jazz, reggae, and soul mixed in here and there. You'll also find the "satanic" ska sounds of Mephiskapheles on this stand out compilation.

The Insteps kick off the party with "Walk Away," a great way to start any compilation. With heavy traditional ska influences, they mix in some soul to sweeten up the mix. The keyboards add a nice feeling to the song, adding splashes of sunshine when they appear. The horns are the leader, guiding everyone through the musical festival. The guitar is crisp and played to perfection, getting you to dance within the first stroke of a chord. The vocals are very powerful, with a heavy soul touch to them. Each word of love is emphasized by the vocals, adding that much more credibility each time one is sung. You can hear the pain in the voice as he deals with a failed love relationship, but you can also hear strength as he finally decides to "walk away." Next up is Skinnerbox's "You Knock The Wind Out of Me." They take traditional ska and use it as the foundation, or a building block, to create their original and successful blend of ska, reggae, soul, and punk rock. And King Django's vocals can handle any situation, adding great depth and ability to the song. The song is burning hot, and will eat you alive unless you get up and start dancing! A very up tempo, bouncy number that can't be resisted. The horns scream through the song when they are present, adding flashes of passion. The keyboard is smooth and relaxing, keeping everything toned down. The drums gently tap down during the slow parts, but quickly blast to quick blows when the song gets hot and heavy. Mephiskapheles change the pace of the CD a bit with "Attack of the Geniuses." A fusion of jazz, ska, punk rock, and a sense of humor is what these guys serve up. The horns are spicy and quick, keeping the music down to earth, while the guitar and vocals tend to lean towards the more punk rock side of things. The drums are soft, keeping the backbone delicate, and the bass is smooth. All these combined amount to a very original sound that will either get you dancin' or standing there clueless, not knowing what hit you. Once again King Django pops up with his amazing ability to transform any mood your in into a happy mood, but with Stubborn All-Stars rather than Skinnerbox this time. This time though, they're covering a Rolling Stones song! And you know that's going to be interesting and fun! Going back to his roots, he adds a Caribbean flavor to their style, transforming rock n' roll into traditional ska. His voice is still powerful, handling anything put in front of him, while the guitar is hot and loaded, burning your feet to the point that you have to jump up and dance to avoid the burns. King Django and company will get you dancing no matter what it takes, but with golden tracks like these, they don't have to try at all. Your feet move willingly. The Slackers' "Watch This" is a R&B/soul infected traditional ska tune that shouldn't be passed up. The vocals are inviting and soulful, enriched with deep emotion and flavor. The drums are soft and breezy, while the guitar slides through the song while your body moves with each stroke. The bass is calm and gentle, keeping everything in place. The horns come through like wind, making your body gently sway with them. A perfect ska tune that will please everyone. A live version of Ruder Than You's "Uncle Albert" finishes off the CD. Faster paced than most of the other songs, this song will speed up your dance ten times. A great way to finish off a great compilation!

This is one of the best compilations I've heard so far! I've heard some good compilations, but none where I've enjoyed EVERY band on the CD. This rarely happens, but I'm going to go out on a limb and give this compilation an A+! Pick it up today (in more ways than one...)

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