52 Selections

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Prince Buster

Prince Buster was a true giant in the world of Ska.
This is Song 1 of 52 to come. Watch out! This one kicks. Don’t argue!!!

Prince Buster was a key figure in the development of Ska worldwide. A true pioneer in the Jamaican music industry, Ruffer than Ruff and Tuffer than Tuff, he was a self-made man that inspired many. This song hints at the country’s fascination with Hollywood’s own gangster rude boy.The opening riff is also used by The Specials in their debut release song ‘Gangsters”. Watch out!



Justin Hinds and the Dominoes

Originally released in 1964, it’s timeless theme of shit going pear shaped still resonates today.

Their joyous three-part harmony firmly kicked adversity in the knackers.
Melbourne Ska Orchestra fully supports this line of action.
Hope no-one is Boderated by this. Boom!



Carry Go Bring Come

Rumour has it this song is about gossip. But you didn’t hear that from us. Enjoy the tune but don’t tell anyone.

Justin Hinds and his vocal trio had a beautiful blending of voices that struck a chord with the whole orchestra. The title means “gossip” and is a warning to those who speak ill of others. The trio recorded many great songs which all stand the test of time. Initially a Duke Reid production, this song is a staple amongst Ska lovers worldwide.




The Skatalites hit the planet in 1963 and the world hasn’t been the same since.

They were the Bomb. They wrote the manual.
Here’s our take on their take. Confused? Press Play.

One of the first tunes the Melbourne Ska Orchestra ever performed at their debut performance in 2003. This dark classic from the genius trombonist Don Drummond with the Skatalites in full swing captures a unique energy from the early days of Jamaican ska. The haunting melody might possibly hint at the troubled persona of the composer, an icon in Jamaican musical history.


Feel Like Jumping

This is definitely what will happen when you hear this song. Watch for overhead ceiling fans, light fittings and loose change.

Marcia Griffiths was one third of Bob Marley’s I-Threes and a fully fledged artist in her own right. She had many hits in Jamaica and continues to record to this day. This song featured in the MSO’s debut performance and is sung by one of the Melbourne’s most respected singers Sally Ford. This sweet rocksteady rhythm is always a winner with their live shows.



It is often said that the Melbourne Ska Orchestra is like a good monster.Held together loosely with nuts. We reckon that’s about right.

Byron Lee was the golden child of Jamaica for a period representing the country at the New York World’s Fair in 1964. In a considerably small period in the Jamaican recording timeline, they managed to create and capture a vast body of work and were hugely popular on the live scene. Frankenstein was first performed by the orchestra in their debut set at the Falls Festival in Lorne. This particular performance caught the attention of the musical industry and the buzz had begun.


Man In The Street

This definitely feels like the soundtrack to a 60’s film set in Melbourne. You know, when houses were cheap, traffic was minimal and before Flinders and Swanston became Times Square.

A signature tune in the Skatalites repertoire, this tune celebrates the expansive sound palette of the orchestra’s sonic landscape. The Hammond organ solo is reminiscent of the late great Jackie Mittoo, a Studio One arranger, producer and composer.


Message To Rudy

This has nothing to do with letting people know they are in a state of undress. Stop ya messin’ around…Dance!

If there was any song that connected the Melbourne Ska Orchestra, this was it! Mutual fond memories of the UK 2Tone wave with The Specials doing their rendition moved many a member into Ska converts. The sound, the look, the energy, the political climate, sparked a movement that respected the old school songs and gave them new life.

The “Rudy” or Rude Boy was a common character in the early Jamaican ska landscape. A petty thief, a would-be gangster, a young man who thought he was “Tougher than tuff!” The song is a warning to curb their messing around or end up in prison. 

These days a Rude Boy is more a styled up individual who pays no mind to a life of crime. The trombone player on the Specials version also played on the original Dandy Livingstone version in 1967.


Monkey Man

Not exactly the setting for an evolutionary debate but the question does arise when humans have difficulty dancing to this tune.

Any Ska band starting out would have played this Toots and the Maytals classic as a sure fire way to get the crowd singing. Nicky remembers…

“The first time I heard this song was by Ross Hannaford’s Dianna Kiss at the Esplanade Hotel in St.Kilda. I sought the original and heard the joyful community sound of the record. Apparently Kylie Minogue and the Wiggles did a version for UNICEF some time back. It would be safe to say we referenced the original for our rendition! “


Night Boat To Cairo

The UK 2 Tone scene sprouted many a worthy act but Madness were well revered as frontrunners of the style, adding a big serve of humour and working-class irreverence. Some brilliant songwriting added depth to their story and this song is a fine example of the hybrid recipe they invented. As with “A Message to You Rudy” by The Specials, Nightboat to Cairo was a clear reference point for all members of the orchestra, stamped into the DNA of their musical adolescence. Definitely a crowd favourite and also included in the debut gig in 2003.


Simmer Down

This song was the Wailers first bona-fide hit in 1963. A young Bob Marley can be heard singing his heart out over a tight Skatalites backing band. Recorded for Coxsone Dodd at the infamous Studio One, this song launched the career of one of the most important icons in Jamaican music. The call to “Simmer Down” is a message to the rude boys and gangsters of the time to cool off their nasty ways as the early 60’s in Jamaica was a time of political change and warring factions that would often end in bloodshed.


Week 12


Coming Soon.

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Week 13


Coming Soon.

Stay Tuned

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