Various Artists

Skandalous: I've Gotcha Covered, Vol. 2

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Shanachie Records' Skandalous: I've Gotcha Covered, Vol. 2 follows the same formula as its predecessor, enlisting '90s ska revivalists to fuse skankin' rhythms with rock & roll tunes and television themes in a series of bizarre covers. This time around, the selections are even more varied, taking in Ritchie Valens' Latin rock classic "La Bamba" (rendered by Checkered Cabs), Stevie Wonder's funky "Higher Ground" (tackled by the Skandalous All-Stars), and a handful of new wave hits (the Vapors' "Turning Japanese," Joe Jackson's "Got the Time"). Ruder Than You delivers a confounding cover of the Beatles' "Taxman" that ends with a pileup of harmony vocals, rapping, and gruff, dancehall-style chanting. Perfect Thyroid drops the "Hawaii Five-O" theme into a higher gear and comes up with something not unlike ska muzak in the process (imagine a skankin' Herb Alpert). Though Peter Tosh's 1981 reggae tune "Wanted Dead or Alive" may have been a more appropriate choice, Otis Reem opts for Bon Jovi's stadium rock hit of the same name instead. Skank meets twang as the Hurtin' Buckaroos sail through the Bonanza theme on wisps of pedal steel, ad-libbing Bob Wills-style throughout, and musical originators the Skatalites deliver a sizzling version of Mongo Santamaria's 1964 hit "El Pussycat." Though all this (plus versions of the Village People's "Y.M.C.A." and Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams") may make this a tasty party album, Skandalous, Vol. 2 is otherwise dispensable.

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