Are You Ready?

Are you ready to experience some Amsterdam Faya Allstars?  I must admit, up until about one month ago, I had not heard of these guys.  This is a 6-piece band from Amsterdam (obviously) and this past year they have released a new LP entitled ‘All Minorities are the Majority.  This follows an EP which was released in 2012.   This is exciting, so let’s not postpone this…

  1. “What a Hard Man Fi Dead”-Remco Korporaal and crew lay down the sweet rocksteady vibes to start things off.  They pay much attention to detail with the addition of backup singers.   Grade:  A

 

  1. “Love Mi Forever”-This song has a smooth, hypnotic quality to it.  Also, it will not make you want to jump out of your seat, but it will make you want to kick back and unwind.  If ever there was a ‘relaxing’ ska number this is it.  I also really enjoyed the use of dub, as it is not overdone.  Although it clocks in at over 6 minutes, it never feels old. Great job!  Grade: A

 

  1. “Intro Skasanova”-It’s always difficult to judge intros to songs, however, with its space-like feel, I dig it. Grade: A

 

  1. “Skasanova”-This is a really fantastic instrumental that will make you feel like you are sitting in a dark corner in a smoke-filled club.  Although the organ is the mainstay in ska music, it is refreshing to hear piano instead.  You will also fall in love with the saxophones in this number as well.  Grade: A

 

  1. “Nelson Mandela”-“Nelson Mandela” is more of a light-hearted, fun song, more so than any I’ve heard so far on the disc.  The instrumentation is pretty solid, as would be expected, but I did not care too much for the lyrics.  Grade: B

 

  1. “Harlem Nocturne”-Another slow and sultry song is found in “Harlem Nocturne.”  This song carries that overall ska/reggae vibe, while not being too over the top. Watch out for both the piano and saxophone solos.  I dig it!  Grade:A-

 

  1. “Swing It”-   The Allstars get the crowds jumping in the intro of this song and then quickly change directions to a more traditional ska number (or Jamaican jazz as they call it).  They also finish out the track with this arena rock feel.  Jump, or pump your fist to this one! Grade: A

 

  1. “Change Your Style”- Another groove of epic proportions.  From the rocksteady beat to the horns that accompany, this is one amazing song.  Grade: A

 

  1. “Christine Keeler”-What can I say, another great instrumental, with both rock and swing influences showing through.  Grade:A-

 

  1. “Cause I Don’t”-This ditty has jazz influences and some definite ska and rock as well.  Don’t stop dancing!  Grade: A-

 

  1. Nelson Mandela (Instrumental Version)”- I enjoyed this song more as an instrumental that with vocals.  Sorry Remco.  Grade: B+

 

  1. “Well You Needn’t”-Oooh, surf rock, I wasn’t expecting that.  This is another great example of a band mixing different styles and pulling it off in a major way.  Grade: A-

 

  1. “Faya in Dub”-This song has it all, from added percussion parts to flute solos.  Why did you not unleash the flute until now?  This is a killer way to leave listeners.  A+

 

All I can say is WOW!  This is an amazing album from start to finish.  Never before have I heard a recording that made me feel as if I was part of a live concert.  The kind of concert that I am imaging is not the type of ska concert that I am used to (a small venue with relatively few fans), but rather a huge event, much like those put on by music’s largest acts.  Overall this album has a lot going on, from its sheer size to its musical variety.  Clocking in at just over an hour of music, the Allstars have put together a musical package that is worth every penny.  During every song they stay pretty close to the Jamaican roots, but draw influence from a number of genres to include: rock, surf, swing, and jazz.  While there are a few songs featuring vocals, most of the numbers were instrumentals.  Normally I would get bored with a cd such as this, but in this case I was blown away.  The true talent shows during each and every song and these are some of the most enjoyable instrumentals that I have heard to date.  I must also add that this is the best saxophone work I’ve ever heard, PERIOD.  Ska fans in Europe may have been familiar with the Amsterdam Faya Allstars from quite some time, but I cannot say for certain that that is true here in the U.S. Hopefully American fans will catch on quick. So, If you know what’s good for you, you will pick up a copy of ‘All Minorities are the Majority,” but are you ready?

Overall Grade: A

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