There's no reason at all to expect that a clawhammer banjo player could turn out a decent ska album. Hey, there's really no reason to expect that a clawhammer banjo player would want to. But if one were to do it, it would be Vince Farsetta, who has been kicking at the boundaries of old-time banjo for years. Actually, if you didn't listen very carefully you might never guess that a banjo was involved here at all: the sound is dominated by drums, horns, and guitars, just as a ska album should be. And the songs are great: "You Knock Me Out" opens the program with a sweet blast of lover's ska in the 2-Tone tradition; "Cut Her to the Bone" is pitch-perfect enviro-reggae; "Makin' History" is a bit rough, but makes fine use of Farsetta's everyman vocals and his facility with a one-drop riddim. "Mama Boulet" successfully combines New Orleans-style banjo and lyrical content with a modified soca beat. The album's only real disappointment is its tuneless and didactic title track. Highly recommended nevertheless.
by Rick Anderson