I remember the 2 Tone explosion well and The Bodysnatchers’ Let’s Do Rocksteady is very much a part of that memory.

Rhoda Dakar joined The Bodysnatchers in 1979 after Shane McGowan introduced her to bassist Nicky Summers and after their second gig the band signed to UK record label 2 Tone. Gigs alongside Madness, The Selecter, The Specials, The Go-Gos and Toots & The Maytals followed, as did the hits; Let’s Do Rocksteady b/w Ruder Than You in March 1980 and Easy Life b/w Too Experienced in July of the same year. These were The Bodysnatchers only commercial releases.

To celebrate The Bodysnatchers 35th Anniversary, Rhoda has assembled an all-star cast to record The Bodysnatchers “debut album”. 2 Tone label mates Lynval Golding and Sir Horace Gentleman of The Specials star alongside members of Pama International, The Sidewalk Doctors and Intensified, who admirably capture the spirit of the times.

There are ten tracks on this record and all follow the 2 Tone formula that proved to be so popular, though Private Eye kicks off as a much bluesier number before it gets going. The aforementioned  Easy Life starts proceedings and for all intents and purposes you are back in the heady days of 1980. The next tune is Ghost Of The Vox Continental and is as entertaining lyrically as it is musically and should raise a smile or two. The recording sounds live and this is a good thing… it really does bring the memories of a bygone age…OK, not that far bygone, but you get my drift.

Many of the tracks on this record have only ever been heard at gigs or on Peel sessions and so important in that respect. Perhaps more important is to look at this as a musical account of what it was like when 2 Tone exploded onto the scene. It was a revolution in some ways and for many their first exposure to reggae basslines and ska sensibilities.

Dakar’s vocal is authentic and perfectly suited to this kind of music. Time to dust off your Harrington jacket, your Fred Perry Tee Shirt and your pork pie hat. Out November 6th. Perfect!

Stuart Smith

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