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May 18, 2024

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Ska Rock-Steady Reggae
The West Coast Chronicles Volume One (Steady Beat Recordings)

By: Alex Steininger

Going back to the roots of the "Jamaican Sound," THE WEST COAST CHRONICLES brings us a compilation showcasing the West's hottest ska, rock-steady, and reggae bands. Such acts as Franceska, The Allentons, Monkey, and the Steady Ups give us a taste of some of the Jamaican music coming out of the West at this time. With seventeen tracks to choose from, THE WEST COAST CHRONICLES are sure to go over well with anyone who is in need of some hot grooves and a good time.

The Isrealites kick off this compilation with "12 Tribes," a traditional ska instrumental. Keeping the music rich with its past, they kick out a very smooth track that will get you dancing in no time. The horns are hot, while the guitar is so power it will send chills up your spine, unless you take in the music and get up and dance. The percussion keeps the music on track while helping to move your body. The Upstarts' "Pineapple Mambo" is a tropical paradise. The song is on fire, and will take you away to another place. There your mind will sit back and relax, while your body does all the work, dancing up a storm. The horns once again are the dominant part of the music, smoking up the room with its fiery blows and its breezy soulfulness. The drums are strong, but still keep a light edge, giving the music the potential to jump from smooth grooves to pounding rhythms. Franceska's "Why O Why" is the best track on here. Powerful female vocals lead this dynamic rock-steady powerhouse. Combining traditional ska, rock-steady, old R & B, and soul they form a beautiful blend that is sure to be enjoyed by many. The horns are on fire, and the guitar grooves with the music, sending an intense sensation of love down your back. Even though the lyrics are all about lost love, the song is so hot it would be perfect to dance to and enjoy with a lover. O. Junction's "Dub Plantation" is a slow dub/rock-steady number. The song has the power to get your body shaking. With its cool vibes flowing through your body, you'll feel cool, calm, and collective. The energy is high, and the spirit even higher. Checkmate's "Slow It Down" is a hot ska instrumental. The guitar runs through the song with fierce moves, giving the song a great edge to dance with. The organ is hot, soothing the background and melting all parts of the music together. The drums are light, keeping the pace steady. The bass slides through the song, holding it all together. And the horns add a burst of sunshine when they come in. "Calle de Amor" by Monkey brings us more great ska. The guitar gently plays through the music, while the horns flow through the music softly. Everything is calm, giving off a great vibe. The vocals are slow, and add another dimension to the song. Softly and gently, the faint words can be heard as they soothe over the listener. Dynamic Pressure's "Shwint's Rock" closes out the CD much the same way it started, strong and relaxing.

This compilation is great. Very soft and relaxing, it will also bring hours of fun for anyone who wants to dance with the music. As it breezes through the air, the music will capture you and spread its peaceful message of love with ease. I highly recommend you pick up this CD. You won't be disappointed. I'll give it an A-.

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