Various Artists

NYC Ska Mob & Friends

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The New York ska scene is divided roughly into two factions: the more R&B-oriented crew that orbits around the Moon Ska label and its flagship band, the Toasters, and the more reggae-oriented crew that orbits around the Version City studio where local ska heroes Jeff "King Django" Baker and Victor Rice produce some of the most tasty traditional ska and reggae ever recorded in this country -- or any country, for that matter. The NYC Ska Mob referred to in this compilation's title is the Version City crowd, most of whom record for either Stubborn or Triple Crown Records -- artists like the Stubborn All-Stars, the Radiation Kings, Rocker-T, and Crazy Baldhead, most of whom have appeared on several previous scene compilations as well as their own albums. This fine collection includes a fair amount of material that fans of the scene will already own (Rocker-T's inflammatory "Fiya Bunn Roam," the Stubborn All-Stars' exquisite "Bald Man Jump"), but there are also some rarities, like the Stubborn All-Stars' version of the Clash's chestnut "Lose This Skin." And even the familiar stuff is almost good enough to justify owning it twice -- is it really possible to hear Rocker-T's "One More" too many times? I think not. This is American ska and reggae at its best.

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