Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Review - Rhoda Dakar Sings The Bodysnatchers

Rhoda Dakar – Sings The Bodysnatchers (Phoenix City Records)


Out Now

8 / 10

Ex Bodysnatcher release the Ska bands ‘lost album’.  

Much has been said about the new release from Rhoda Dakar – ‘it’s NOT a Bodysnatchers album, and they are NOT reforming’ – it’s the album that was never recorded.   Many of the tracks have previously only ever been heard on bootlegs or in live appearances, so after thirty-five years, now seems as good a time as any to revisit the album.

Recorded in one day, the album not surprisingly has a live feel.  It bounds with excitement and passion and boasts a list of star contributors as long as your arm – Lynval and Horace from The Specials, and members of Pama International, The Sidewalk Doctors and Intensified.   Rhoda’s voice has a power and dedication that was always present on the two singles released by The Bodysnatchers, Let’s Do Rocksteady and Easy Life and versions of the tracks are here.  The later of the two opens the album and sounds fresh and true to the original.

Produced by Lenny Bignell (guitar) and Sean Flowerdew (keys), the album consists of ten tracks clocking in at around thirty minutes.  It’s quality not quantity as an authentic ska feel is maintained throughout with a great version of Desmond Dekker And The Aces’ 007 included at an appropriate time as the new Bond film hits the screens. 

Sadly, the b-side of the bands top thirty hit Let’s Do Rocksteady, Ruder Than You isn’t included, but the flip of Easy Life, Too Experienced is and it provides yet another toe tapping tune assured to get you wanting to get up and move around.  The Bodysnatchers career was short-lived, and after just two singles and various live appearances alongside the likes of Madness, The Specials and The Selecter, the band split. The Belle Stars emerged from the parting with several hits most notably Iko Iko and The Clapping Song.  They also release Hiawatha, a track written by Langer and Winstanley (Madness producers), which is also included on Rhoda’s album as a speedy number showcasing her voice perfectly.

Rhoda’s career produced further hits as part of The Special AKA where she co-wrote and performed on the legendary Free Nelson Mandela and the controversial The Boiler, and she has also guested with Madness and Apollo 440 on tracks of their own.  The album closes with an affectionate version of Let’s Do Rocksteady which sounds an improvement on the original and provides a lasting memory of what could have been. 

Dakar has not only created a piece of ‘post-history’, but has also released a great album worthy of the attention it is currently attracting.


Published on Louder Than War 4/11/15 - here

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