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Music Review: The Mighty Mighty Bosstones – Medium Rare

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The fathers of ska-core, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, recently found some of their unreleased and lost material. In honor of such a find the band decided to put out Medium Rare and also add some classic tracks along with a couple new songs as well. This CD was released through the bands' own label Big Rig records.

Formed in Boston over 20 years ago, the Mighty Mighty Bosstones took ska to a new level. Thanks to most members coming from hardcore bands and their love for 2-tone ska the band created ska-core. This faster, more punk rock style of ska had a slow beginning but soon took over the nation and the band became widely acknowledged.

This CD is full of tracks that never made it or were placed on the back burner for other choice cuts. The CD also includes new material recorded by the band since 2002. It is still unknown if the band plans on reuniting as they took a hiatus in 2003. Regardless it is great to see another CD rise from one of Boston’s greatest bands.

Starting off the 13-track CD is one of their new recordings, “This List.” As soon as lead singer Dicky Barrett starts bellowing, I am instantly reminded of the band's greatness. The song is catchy, upbeat, and proves that the band has not missed a beat. After hearing this song I really hope this band decides to re-group and continue recording.

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones"The Meaning" is a B-side from the band’s 2000 release Pay Attention. Not sure why they decided not to put this on the album originally. It sounds great and I love the horns. Hearing it made me want to go find my flight jacket and go skanking.

“Don’t Worry Desmond Dekker” is more than a song, it is a eulogy. This is another new recording by the Mighty Mighty Bosstones dedicated to one of the pioneers of 2-tone ska Desmond Dekker. A lot of bands may have paid tribute to Desmond Dekker with a line about him in their songs, but this entire song dedicated to the Jamaican tops them all. It is a thank you song and a remembrance to a short lived genre of much that would later influence many. I especially like the lyrics “I, I can hear laughter, it stays with me after all this time.”

“The One With The Woes All Over It” is the third new recording by the band and also one of my favorites on this CD. It’s not so much of a ska-core song as it is just a well rounded tune. I am not entirely sure of the meaning of the lyrics but it sounds like a battle with hell and success. I could be wrong.

“So Many Ways” is a B-side from one of the band's more mainstream albums, Let’s Face It. The song was actually featured on the CD single “The Impression That I Get.” The song is not as catchy as the songs on Let’s Face It so perhaps that is why it never made it to the album. It is an okay song but I could do without it.

I really enjoyed listening to “Who’s Fooling Who.” This song was very ska influenced with an amazing horn section accompanying the sing-along style lyrics. This song was a B-side from the Let’s Face It CD that never made it but it did make its way to a ska compilation in 1998.

“Chocolate Pudding” a B-side from the Question The Answers CD was more like experimental ska. The song praising a childhood dessert did not have Dicky Barrett’s gruff singing primarily. The song sounds like it might have been recorded just for fun especially with the last line of the song “No need to take another take!”

Closing the CD is “Favorite Records” a B-side from the Pay Attention CD. If there is one thing about the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, the members love records. The reason the members started their own label was so they could release their own material on vinyl when Mercury Records would not allow it. This song is about the love for the LP. This was another track on the CD I enjoyed the most and I appreciate it being a vinyl collector myself.

There was only one thing really about this CD that bothered me. Where were the B-sides from the first three albums? Were they not worthy of being heard by fans or have they just not been re-discovered yet? Regardless, this was a great collection from a band that needs to continue their career. Ska may be dead to some, but the Mighty Mighty Bosstones have the ability to resurrect it once again.

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