The legendary Skatalites are taking off on tour this October in support of their new album Walk With Me. This new record Walk With Me will be the first release since 2007. They will be starting the tour in Austin, TX as they make their way up the Mid West, hitting Lincoln, NE; Kansas City, MO; Des Moines, IA; the famous Reggie’s Rock Club in Chicago and dates all around the great lakes.  The Skatalites have been credited as the forefathers of reggae, ska, and rock-steady music. They have played major festivals on every continent in the world and have maintained their presence in the music scene to this day. Don’t know who the Skatalites are? Let me give you a history lesson.


In the spring of 1964 The Skatalites recorded there first LP called Authentic Ska and toured Jamaica as the creators of Ska music. That year the song Man On The Street made it into the top 10 on the UK charts. The original members included: Tommy McCook on tenor saxophone and flute, Roland Alphonso on tenor saxophone, Lester Sterling on alto saxophone, Don Drummond on trombone, Johnny "Dizzy" Moore on trumpet, Lloyd Brevett on upright bass, Lloyd Knibbs on drums, Jerome "Jah Jerry" Haynes on guitar, and Jackie Mittoo on piano.


The band recorded with famous artists such as Bob Marley on his first Jamaican number one single “Simmer Down”, as well as, Jimmy Cliff, Toots and The Maytalls, Prince Buster, Ken Boothe, Alton Ellis, and just about every other vocalist in Jamaica during the early 60’s. The original band was only together for about 15 months and went on to form two supergroups, Rolando Alphonso and the Soul Vendors, and Tommy McCook and the Supersonics. Later in 1967 Don Drummond’s ska adaptation of the theme to the film The Guns of Navarone entered the Top 40 of the UK Singles Chart.

Check out there live video of Guns of Navarone in the attached section below.

“I first knew the bittersweet theme from “The Guns of Navarone” from a 1961 hit instrumental—but it was nothing like the Skatalites version that Don Drummond adapted. The melody is the same, of course, but with the blazing horns and heavily pronounced beat, it was totally on fire—and so full of life that remains the hallmark of ska and the Skatalites.”



The Skatalites didn’t know it yet, but they would start what would become ska, reggae, and rock-steady movement all over the world. The band got back together in 1983 for the Reggae Sunsplash Music festival held in Jamaica and they have played together ever since, adding new members as needed and performing with a slew of guest vocalists.


In January 1990, The Skatalites did their first headlining tour in the US and continued to tour the US until 1992 when they did their first tour of Europe. They released several new albums including Skavoovee and Hi-Bop Ska, which were both nominated for Grammy awards for Best Reggae Album. In February 2002, The Skatalites headed out on a world tour hitting the US, Europe, Mexico, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Russia and Japan.


After the world tour came another release, followed by their 40th anniversary tour in 2004, hitting all the past countries with the addition of Colombia, Greece, and Singapore. In March 2006, The Skatalites played at La Bal De La Rose for Caroline, Princess of Hanover, along with Jimmy Cliff, The Wailers and Alpha Blondy. This show started the 2006 Global Orbit Tour reaching Australia, New Zealand, Chile and Argentina. All this was followed by more touring and additional album releases.


See there live performance at the Glastonbury Festival 2003 in the attached video below.


Now in 2012, The Skatalites has played all over the world, including major festivals. They have recorded 34 albums with credits on a few others including Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, Toots and The Maytalls, and many more. According to Billboard, two of their previous albums charted in the US; Ball of Fire at number 13 in 2008 on the Reggae Charts, and Hi-Bop Ska at number 14 in 2005 on the World Albums charts.  They have played for royalty and have created a genre all their own call “ska”.


Now you might be able to understand why we call them “legendary”


Like we said, the Skatalites have tour date all along the Mid West and you don’t want to miss this show! You will be kicking yourself if you miss these shows and skanking your way home.  If you are near one of these shows don’t even hesitate to get tickets, because they will go fast.


“The Skatalites are pure energy: hot like fire, with a scorching, skanking rhythm and big-band bravado.” Mark Harris | Editor: REGGAEREVIEWS.COM      


The Skatalites 2012 Tour


Saturday 10/13            Flamingo Cantina            Austin, TX

Wednesday 10/17            Zoo Bar                        Lincoln, NE

Thursday 10/18            Davey’s Uptown            Kansas City, MO

Friday 10/19                        Gas Lamp                        Des Moines, IA

Saturday 10/20            Reggie’s Rock Club            Chicago, IL

Sunday 10/21            Club Garibaldi’s            Milwaukee, WI

Tuesday 10/23            Off Broadway                        St. Louis, MO

Thursday 10/25            Founder’s Brewing             Grand Rapids, MI

Friday 10/26                        Magic Stick                        Detroit, MI

Saturday 10/27            Grog Shop                        Cleveland, OH