Azken Guda Dantza

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The fifth and final Kortatu recording captures, quite probably, the last of the 280 gigs they played between 1984-1988. This hometown homecoming shows just how far the Basque political rockers' command of their ska-reggae/punk rock blend had matured in just four years. With their core trio augmented by Kaki Arkapazo on second guitar and occasionally a full horn section, "Gernika 37-87" and "Wakurtu" show that Kortatu's rock side is far less about Ramones punk chords than triumphant rock à la the Who and the Clash. Kortatu covers the latter's "Jimmy Jazz" here, and their ska blitzes and roots reggae songs (the dub anti-tribute "Desmond Tutu") come very close to the Specials. "Hotel Monbar" could be movie soundtrack music for a political street disturbance (something the group would embrace), while "Denboraren Menpe" bridges a powerful rising guitar riff with triumphant, martial horns. "Zu Atrapatu Arte" just plain rocks out fast and furious as it rubs shoulders with songs about Sandinistas ("Nicaragua Sandinista") and skinheads ("Tatuado"). The energy level is pretty nonstop up-tempo; this sounds like it was one heck of a concert and Azken Guda Dantza makes you wish you'd been there. There's not much better recommendation for a live album than that, and the CD probably serves as a pretty good best-of to boot.