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Album Of The Year 2013 – Jury Voting Results

Next to our annual public voting, Reggae Steady Ska has been busy in the last weeks conducting a jury voting for The Album Of The Year 2013. We asked experts and enthusiasts from all around the world to give us their three favourite albums in descending order.

Musicians, podcasters, journalists, organisers and top fans sent in their answers, some with detailed comments. Thanks a ton for taking the time and showing love. You can just go through the text, have a look and see what people like Heather Augustyn, Paul Willo, Marc Wasserman or Krzysztof Gajewski name as their top albums of the year.

We also evaluated the answers, attributing three points to each album No 1, two points to album No 2, one point to album No 3. For example, after Richard „Bosky“ Allen’s vote, The Meow Meows received three points, Cartoon Violence two points and By The Rivers one point. After all the results had been added, we had a take away winner of The Album Of The Year 2013– jury’s choice: and it’s

Melbourne Ska Orchestra

with their self-titled album (20 points). The second place is a draw between Boss Capone and Dave Hillyard (12 each), The Lions (11), Bim Skala Bim (10) and Roger Rivas (9), The Selecter (8) followed close behind.

Although we tried to ask people from every region, from every generation and representing different styles, we don’t claim the results to be representative. Anyway, see who gave their votes to whom and read their comments. And if you feel like sharing your top 3, you are more than welcome to do that in the comments. Just tell us who you are and let us know your top 3. For a list of all the Ska Rocksteady Early Reggae albums from 2013, please go here. Enjoy. Thanks again to everyone who contributed. I hope you all find this voting useful, too.

Richard “Bosky” Allen writes and plays keyboards for the Hotknives. He’s also played and recorded with Too Many Crooks, Bad Manners, El Bosso Meets the Skadiolas and recently with Deany Darko.

1.The Meow Meows – Somehow We Met
2. Cartoon Violence – Tit for Tat
3. By The Rivers – By the Rivers

Comment: I sometimes play with Lee Thompson’s Ska Orchestra and didn’t feel it fair to vote for this album (though it’s a fantastic album :-))

Heather Augustyn is author of Ska: An Oral History, Don Drummond: The Genius and Tragedy of the World’s Greatest Trombonist, and Ska: The Rhythm of Liberation. Her book Songbirds: Pioneering Women in Ska is forthcoming and she writes the Foundation Ska blog.

1. The Selecter – String Theory
2. Phoenix City All-Stars – Skatisfaction
3. The Prizefighters – A Musical Knockout in 3 Rounds

Eitan Avineri, producer, trumpet player, and band leader of Western Standard Time. Performed/recorded with Prince Buster, Everton Blender, Phyllis Dillon, Derrick Morgan, The Aggrolites, Rico Rodriguez, The Jamaicans, Keith and Tex, Chris Botti, Joey Altruda’s Crucial Riddims, Kingston Ska Collective, Full Spectrum, The Allentons, Dennis Alcapone, Owen Gray, Eric Monty Morris, Kingston 10, Tim Armstrong, Burt Bacharach, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Sting and more.

1. Tokyo Ska Paradise- Diamond in Your Heart
2. David Hillyard- California
3. The Debonaires- Movin’

Charles Benoit lives in exotic Rochester, NY, where he writes novels, and entertains the masses, playing tenor sax for Some Ska Band.

1. TSF (Toulouse Skanking Foundation) – Voodoo Train
2. Melbourne Ska Orchestra – Melbourne Ska Orchestra
3. Goldmaster All-Stars – Colt 45 Live

Comment: Man, was this hard! When I first saw the list, I said, “This will be easy – I see my three already.” Then, in the spirit of the list, I spent a lot of hours tracking down every album. Sometimes I couldn’t find the whole album and had to make do with a few tracks instead, but I listened to every artist. It also turned out to be very expensive as I also bought 11 of the albums I listened to in the judging. I was impressed by the overall high quality and geographical/language diversity of the list. Throw a dart and you’d hit some excellent ska. As an author who has been nominated for a lot more awards than I’ve won, I’ve come to understand why people say, “it was an honor just to be nominated.” It truly is, and I hope that the artists on the list who don’t make the final cut appreciate the notable recognition of their work. Today I spent two full hours, whittling my top six down to the three listed below. Only one of the albums I originally thought I would pick made the final list.

Tanja Cappa is a Sicilian Rudegirl, Early Reggae and Rocksteady purist. Grew up in Cologne and now living in Brussels. “We are proud to support our band: The Moon Invaders.” Active member of the European Ska Scene by traveling as much as possible to gigs and festivals. Has worldwide quality contacts with SKA DJ’s and bands. “Brussels and North Belgium is continuing developing the scene and we’d better don’t miss the Belgian Rudeboy Train!”

1. Smooth Beans – Keep Talking
2. Boss Capone – Another 15 Dance Floor Crashers
3. The Sarah Connors – The Revenge Of The Black Squid

Comment: 1. Smooth Beans: Very good command of the pure rocksteady sounds. Quality meets passion in Spain! 2. Boss Capone: Mastered instruments. Skinhead music in not dead and it makes me the happiest Rudegirl of the year! 3. More mature reggae sounds on this album. “Dirty Jamaican Rock’roll „ they say and it fits to them.

Peter Clemm aka PeteOnTheBeat writes for Rockingsteady E-Zine and Reggae Steady Ska and is one of the organisers of Freedom Sounds Festival. He has been a Ska fan for more than 30 years.

1. Dave Hillyard presents California
2. The Lions – This Generation
3. The Trojans feat. Zoe Devlin – Smash It!

Comment: Very tough decision because 2013 has been such a strong year. The albums by Keyser Soze, Soothsayers/Cornel Campbell, Roger Rivas, Melbourne Ska Orchestra, Goldmaster Allstars, Bim Skala Bim, The Delegators and Dilip ‘n’ The Davs are all great, too. Can I have a “Top 11” please?

Nina Cole. I select vintage Jamaican 45s at various nights in California. I was resident selector at The Rocksteady Lounge in Los Angeles for several years and have played at events in the U.S. and abroad. I also drummed for the all-girl ska band, The Cover-Ups, who reunited in 2013 for a handful of reunion shows.

1. Roger Rivas – Autumn Breeze
2. Keyser Soze – The Remedy
3. The Lions – This Generation

Comment: It was difficult to decide! My west coast bias is showing!

Krzysztof Gajewski. Born 1976, movie director, camera man, editor, photographer, graphic designer, artist. Precursor three-dimensional digital photography in the world. Author of photographic exhibitions, many publications, and films. His work can be found in the most important cultural institutions in Poland. Passionate about music. For two years working on a film about the culture of Ska: “Ska Delight.” There he is a producer, director, cameraman, and editor.

1. Boss Capone – Another 15 Dance Floor Crashers
2. Dave Hillyard – California
3. Newtown Rocksteady – Goin’ Steady

Comment: Boss Capone – “Another 15 Dance Floor Crashers” I love this album. I listen to it anywhere in the car, in the kitchen, in the living room, on the street I nominate him for the joy and wonderful implementation. Dave Hillyard – “California” for implementation at the highest level. behind the idea So many great musicians there. This is a space ship of music. Newtown Rocksteady – Goin’ Steady This album is very fresh. Sounds great, beautiful brass section, great vocals. I nominate him for the beautiful traditional sound.

Matthias Haeusser is the host at Ska internet radio show File Under Ska.

1. Melbourne Ska Orchestra: self titled
2. The Selecter: String Theory
3. Reggay Lords: same

Tubagus Boris Herlambang, a.k.a. Boriez Got Soul, owner of Revival Indonesian ska label. Guitarist at Skalie ( Indonesia 2Tone Ska band )

1. D’Jenks – Jalan panjang berliku.
2. Various Artists – The Clash goes Jamaican
3. Lee Thompson Ska Orchestra – The Benevolence Of Sister Mary Ignatius.

Andy Jeter is the founder of Skaspot, a network for Ska fans.

1. Less Than Jake – See The Light
2. The Resignators – Down In Flames
3. Dave Hillyard – “California”

Ralf Koppelkamp, a.k.a. Scorcha, record producer at Scorcha Records (since 1999), DJ, promoter, podcaster: Boss Sounds On Air and networker: Vintage Reggae Society.

1. 65 Mines Street – Fix The Clock
2. Jackie Mendez – Introducing
3. Roger Rivas – Autumn Breeze

JJ Loy is the presenter of the radio show Ska Is The Limit.

1. The Lions – This Generation (Stones Throw)
2. Santiago Downbeat – Santiago Downbeat (Self-released)
3. The Delegators – All Aboard (Self-released)

Aaron Maiden is the host of Roots Rock Rebel, a weekly ska, reggae, punk, and soul radio show heard every Wednesday from 10pm-12am EST on CKUT radio in Montreal, Canada, and podcasted at musicaloccupation.com

1. The Ska Vengers, “self-titled”
2. Big D and the Kids Table, “Stomp and Stroll”
3. The Debonaires, “Movin'”

Domingo Munoz, a.k.a. “El Sunday” lives in Mexico City where he has been able to see most of his musical heroes live (including Madness). He was bred on the seminal Mexican Radio Show Radio Skandalo, to which he contributes nowadays. He hopes the Mexican Ska scene will become bigger and bigger.

1. Bim Skala Bim – Chet’s Last Call
2. Lee Thompson Ska Orchestra – The Benevolence of Sister Mary Ignatius –
3. Sweet Fun & Ready – The Kinky Coo Coo`s

Comment: 1. Bim Skala Bim: What a way to come back ! definitely a must-hear and must-have, great job from the boys. I’m so glad they took it on their own pace and brought this brilliant album). 2. Lee Tompson Ska Orchestra: I put it on second just because the fact its not original tracks but I pretty much loved the work they did making tribute to the great sister Mary. I’m already looking forward to the next album which will include new original material. I think it is a great piece of brilliant musicians having fun, that’s how i would describe the sound of them. 3. The Kinky Coo Coo`s: Yes, sweet and yes fun very enjoyable and danceable tracks, the girls’ voices and the strong brass belong to my favs from recent years.

Dilip Parekh is a songwriter, performer (Dilip’n’ The Davs) and active promoter from Fremantle, Western Australia where he passionately supports and encourages the local scene through regular shows and networking.

1. Melbourne Ska Orchestra – self titled album
2. Dave Hillyard – California
3. The Resignators – Down in Flames

Sergio Rallo, a.k.a. “Da Prophet”, is the former singer of the Ska band The Smarts and was part of the first Italian website dedicated to Ska: Skabadip.

1. Melbourne Ska Orchestra – same
2. The Oldians – Downtown Rock
3. King Django – Anywhere I Roam

Comment: MSO, the super big band from Down Under with its first album deserves the title because of the contagious happiness that expresses in every track perfectly performed and finely arranged but also because the leader of the bunch of 26 people, Nicky Bomba (aka Nicholas Caruana, a very gifted drummer and arranger indeed) took just ten years of extensive live playing before recording such a wonderful album full of swing/jazz/reggae with excellent covers and sparkling originals. Moreover I really think that the video of “Lygon St.” is one of the best ska clip to date in years (and goes hand in hand with the other clip by MSO filmed to accompany the cover of the 1920’s classic “The Best Things in Life Are Free”). The Oldians’ fourth album is simply the smoothest ska/jazz/rocksteady album of 2013 highly stylish for sure as usual for this spanish band but the truth is that I fell in love with wonderful songs like “Shalala”, “Crossroads” and superb instrumentals like “Dark Lane”, “Downtown Rock” and “The End of The Days”, very reminiscent of certain Studio One stuff played by Ernest Ranglin. The Oldians just demonstrate why the Spanish scene is considered one of the best in the world. Finally “Anywhere I Roam” is my third choice among all the very good music of 2013 because I really like and follow the discography of Mr. Jeff Baker since the first album he recorded with his first band the Boilers and in all these years King Django never betrayed me always providing me with excellent music and his perfect mix of early reggae, rocksteady, toast, dub, and ska characterized by easy and catchy melodies just like “Do You Really Love Me”, “Do it Right, Do It Some More” and not to mention the very nice trad ska interpretation of the Police’s “Every Breath You Take”. One more word about the Ska phenomenon around the world. Until a few years ago I would have been amazed by ska scenes from unexpected places like Thailand, India (in this regard check the Ska Vangers with their singer who wins the prize for the nicest female ska singer beside being very good at it) or Philipines but I must say that nowadays ska music is going stronger than ever, just take a look to the number of ska act from Indonesia here:  there is everything there: dub, reggae, rocksteady, two tone, ska core. There is no doubt: the Rhythm is plaguing the world!

Ralf Skankman is the host at internet radio station Skankman Radio.

1. Boss Capone – Another 15 Dance Floor Crashers
2. Melbourne Ska Orchestra – “same”
3. The Steadytones – Heavy Impact

Nate Taiapa. Nate Ness Monster hosts GO FEET! Radio, a weekly radio show that features ska, reggae, rocksteady, dub, funk and soul thats not heard on main stream radio in New Zealand.

1. Melbourne Ska Orchestra – same
2. The Delegators – All Aboard
3. Newtown Rocksteady – Goin’ Steady

Comment: But wait theres more ….. 4. The Expanders – Old Time Something Come Again 5. Phoenix City Allstars – Skatisfaction 6. Brooklyn Attractors – Good Evil Alchemy

Jammal Tarkington: I am an international touring artist, soul/rocksteady/ska collector and selector, low woodwind instrumentalist, singer, writer, scooter boy, booking rep., comedian & first and foremost family man.

1. Roger Rivas – Autumn Breeze
2. Jr Thomas Meets The Venditions…
3. The Lions – This Generation

Kristof Toth, a.k.a KRSa is a member of the Hungarian 11 piece ska band Pannonia Allstars Ska Orchestra (ska/reggae/dub/rocksteady with some Hungarian twist); Fb, Web, Yt.

1. The Lions – This Generation
2. Melbourne Ska Orchestra – Melbourne Ska Orchestra
3. Boss Capone – Another 15 Dance Floor Crashers

Comment: I also really liked: The Lee Thompson Ska Orchestra – The Benevolence of Sister Mary Ignatius; Roger Rivas – Autumn Breeze; David Hillyard – California; Phoenix City Allstars – Skatisfaction; Soothsayers feat. Cornel Campbell – Nothing Can Stop Us and the Reggay Lords

Sven Trapp from Cologne is a member of the Freedom Sounds Crew, as such co-organizing the Freedom Sounds Festival, one of the editors of their newsletter and website.

1. Goldmaster Allstars – Colt 45
2. The Lions – This Generation
3. Soothsayers feat Cornell Campbell – Nothing Can Stop Us

Comment: To name the first two was quite easy for me this year. But the third could be nearly any album out of a list of 10 really good ones. Since I have to choose one, I go for The Soothsayers’ Human Nature because of its cool rootsy, jazzy, dubby style. The good ones, not on the third place: The Delegators All Aboard, Dave Hillyard California, Roger Rivas – Autumn Breeze, Bim Skala Bim Chet’s last Call, The Trojans Ft Zoe Devlin Smash it, Lee Thompson Ska Orchestra The benevolence of Sister Mary Ignatius, Keyser Soze The Remedy, Cartoon Violence Tit for Tat, Melbourne Ska Orchestra

Chris Trent of Bob’s Ska Radio. Streaming Ska, Reggae, Rocksteady and Ska/Punk online since 2008. Also recording at many local and regional bands at Seattle area concerts to post to Bob’s Ska Radio Youtube channel.

1. Hirie – same
2. The Delegators – All Aboard
3. Bim Skala Bim – Chet’s Last Call

Christopher Wardell, a.k.a. Dell. I have been a Ska fan since I was eight years old in 1980. I first became involved in the Ska Scene while I was still at school in 1987, when I started to arrange album reviews in the UK Press for Ska artists. I started to book and promote Ska concerts in 1991 and I still do this today under the banner of Backdoor Promotions. I am also a member of The G Men, which is a band that was formed in England in 1989. My top three Ska albums of 2013 are :

1. Bim Skala Bim – Chet’s Last Call
2. Melbourne Ska Orchestra – same
3. The Steadytones – Heavy Impact

Marc Wasserman. As the man on bass in Third Wave-Ska band Bigger Thomas, Marc Wasserman played his part in making Ska music popular in the USA. In 2008, he started telling stories about many unsung Ska heroes at his blog. He is also busy the band Rude Boy George who blends 80s Pop music with Ska.

1. The Selecter – String Theory
2. Various Artists – Specialized 2 Beat Teenage Cancer comp
3. King Django – Anywhere I Roam

Florian Weinknecht, a.k.a. aggro_flo, has been a fan of The Aggrolites since their first European tour (2004). devoted Ska and Reggae fan for the last 17 years.

1. 65 Mines Street – Fix The Clock
2. Dave Hillyard – California
3. The Delegators – All Aboard

Mochammad Yasser has been a long time fan of ska/reggae since 1996, and contributor to some fanzines with articles and reviews about bands, releases and scenes. Always loves correspondence with fellow ska/reggae fans all over the world, to exchange news, info and ideas about what’s happening in global ska/reggae scene. Also a dj/toaster at various events and an avid collector

1. The Debonaires – Movin’
2. Red Soul Community – I Never Learn
3. Boss Capone, Another 15 Dance Floor Crashers

Tilmann Ziegenhain is chief editor at DYNAMITE magazine (Germany), specialized in Rockabilly, Psychobilly, Country, Soul and Ska;

1. Smooth Beans: “Keep Talking”
2. Boss Capone: “Another 15 Dance Floor Crashers”
3. Lord Mouse & The Calypso Katz: “Go Calypsonian”

Paul Willo – Author of “You’re Wondering Now – A History Of The Specials” and the man behind the Specialized compilations raising money for the Teenage Cancer Trust.

1. Bim Skala Bim – Chet’s Last Call
2. The Aggressors B.C. – The Tone Of The Times
3. Lee Thompson Ska Orchestra – The Benevolence Of Sister Mary Ignatius

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With his Ska band The Braces (1984-1991, 2000-2006) Joachim Uerschels released three albums for Unicorn, Pork Pie and Mad Butcher Records. He lives in Cologne, Germany as a writer and musician. In 2016, he published his solo debut album "Songbook Vol. II" as Joe ScholesJoe Scholes


  1. Congratulation for Melbourne Ska Orchestra for winning the title “Album Of The Year” and thank you so much for Joachim and Reggae Steady Ska for invited me out to be one of the jury for this year’s poll, it’s been such an honor to be part of global ska movement! Cheers for all and wish to look more great albums in 2014!

  2. Such a difficult thing to do … select the best, when there is so much great music out there. The organizers Joachim, Pete and crew have done an amazing job. Rest well now ! Cant even imagine how hard it must have been contacting and collating the votes and comments.
    Must say this whole project has certainly opened my eyes and ears to the amazing music out there, everywhere !
    Finally congratulations to our fellow Australian band – Melbourne Ska Orchestra. Im not surprised they have done so well; the amount of work put in and the quality of their work warrants it. Nicky Bomba … what can we say …. a truly inspirational musician/composer/condutor/performer. Our own band – Dilip n the Davs – were delighted to have had Nicky help us with our own album “Together” which was also nominated this year.
    Well done everyone … looking forward to hearing more of your music and being in touch with you during the course of the year.
    BLESS you all .

  3. Thank you jury!! Having lived the offbeat since hearing my first madness record in 1979 … To having played with Owen Gray, Stranger Cole and The Caribs……to be part of this wonderful thing called the Melbourne ska orchestra was already a joyous ride for me…. to have sung on an album that has been recognised by fellow offbeat lovers around the world really is very special thing!!!
    Yours in ska

    Stevie Montgomery

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