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Top 20 Ska Albums September 2013

Desmond Dekker - This Is Crucial Reggae

Desmond Dekker - This Is Crucial ReggaeToday I wanted to have a quick look at which records Ska fans are really buying. Since I don’t know of any official charts, I just went for the bestsellers among the mp3 Ska albums at amazon.com.

Who’s in the Top 20?

The results were quite interesting I think. With some of the artists that appeared in the list, I still have to find the Ska element. For example, Liran’ Roll or those on the Boston Drops The Gloves-compilation.

Who’s NOT in the Top 20?

On the other hand some of the bigger names of today’s Ska music are missing, such as The Slackers, or The Aggrolites. And yet, The Toasters appear on this list with three albums.

Anyway, have a look for yourself.

20. Chris Murray – Yard Sale
19. The Selecter – String Theory
18. The Toasters – Skaboom
17. Sprawl – The Man With The Yellow Hat
16. The Toasters – New York Fever
15. Symarip – Skinhead Moonstomp – The Best Of Symaryp
14. Liran’ Roll – Siguiendo la Línea
13. Lil Deuce Deuce – I Like Trains
12. Various Artists – Respect To Studio One
11. Bob Marley & The Wailers – Burnin’
10. The Rudie Crew – This Skragga!!!
09. Suburban Legends – Day Job
08. Various Artists – Boston Drops The Gloves: A Tribute To Slapsh
07. Desmond Dekker: The Israelites
06. New York Ska JAzz Ensemble – Get This!
05. Common Rider – Last Wave Rockers
04. The Toasters – Hard Band For Dead
03. The Gladiators – The Studio One Singles
02. Dandy Livingstone – Suzanne Beware Of The Devil (Best Of)
01. Desmond Dekker – This Is Crucial Reggae (Best Of)

In the Top 3 are Best Of albums from original Jamaican artists. You can’t go wrong with them I guess. Would you like to know, where I found this Top 20 list? Just go here

Do you know of any other Ska Top 10 or Top 20 lists?

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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. True words. The sources for Ska music are so diverse. I assume that mail order companies like Moskito Promotions would have charts that look quite different, too. It would be interesting to see them publish charts.

    1. One of my favorites, too. Tops my list of people to see live, because I haven’t been able to yet. Thanks for the comment.

    1. Maybe they rather sell records when playing live or from their own website. To be honest, I was surprised not to see The Slackers (and The Aggrolites).

      Or maybe Amazon doesn’t count them as “Ska.” They tend to call their music Jamaican Rock’n’Roll I think, which fits very well.

  1. Not sure how that Slapshot tribute got on there besides having 1 Mighty Mighty Bosstones track on it.

  2. Joachim, didn’t you do a U.S. tour with the Toasters around 1990 or so? Saw you at Club 1227 in St Louis.

  3. Streetlight fans were encouraged to torrent the newest album, so it doesn’t surprise me that it’s not on here..Still confused as to why earlier Streetlight or RBF albums aren’t on here….does amazon consider them “punk” and not “ska”?

    1. The list is pretty peculiar indeed. If you have a look at Shona’s list in this comments’ section, Streetlight Manifesto is on it. By the way, like Peter says also in the comments. We are doing a readers poll at the end of each year. You can show your bands some love then, too, if they have a new record out.

  4. Looking at the release dates of the albums listed one gets the impression that ska is relegated to the past. To combat this, I say you solicite nominations for the best ska albums released in the last 10 years (no compilation albums by various artists allowed and the bands must still have an active tour schedule) I want to hear about contemporary bands like Go Jimmy Go and the Skankaroos!

  5. I went to RateYourMusic.com; put in “ska”, “jamaican ska” & “third wave ska” into the search terms, and came up with this top 20 list (calculated by user ratings):

    20. Special A.K.A. ~ In The Studio
    19. The Slackers ~ Red Light
    18. Madness ~ The Rise & Fall
    17. The Slackers ~ Peculiar
    16. Madness ~ Absolutely
    15. Madness ~ The Liberty of Norton Folgate
    14. The Selecter ~ Too Much Pressure
    13. The Arrogant Sons of Bitches ~ Three Cheers For Disappointment
    12. The Beat ~ Special Beat Service
    11. The Skatalites ~ Ska-Boo-Da-Ba
    10. ? (it’s in Russian)
    9. Sublime ~ Sublime
    8. Toots & The Maytals ~ Sweet & Dandy
    7. The Specials ~ More Specials
    6. Streetlight Manifesto ~ Somewhere In The Between
    5. Madness ~ One Step Beyond
    4. Streetlight Manifesto ~ Everything Goes Numb
    3. Catch 22 ~ Keasby Nights
    2. The Beat ~ I Just Can’t Stop It
    1. The Specials ~ Specials

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