Album: Hi-Altitude (2007)
Artist: The Hi-Lites
Where available/price: Online at hilitesgoska.comfor $10.
Songs: 1) Time Has Come 2) Best of Your Abilities 3) Where I'm Coming From 4) Folk Tune 5) Nefertiti 6) Words of Wisdom
7) Hot and Bright 8) China Clipper 9) Love 10) Everyday Talking 11) Love Devine 12) Black Joe 13) Sugar and Spice
Band: James Trent (vocals), W. Hehn (vocals), Pat Owens (drums), Claire Hollett (piano, organ), James Ritts (guitar),
S. Beeman (trumpet), D. Polnick (saxophone), K. Duncan (trombone)
Extra info: The Hi-Lites are scheduled to play Winstons in Ocean Beach on December 7.
You ever just want to hear some good ska? Not Brit ska or Hollywood ska, but the real Jamaican stuff? Good Jamaican ska bolts along to a spunky, hopping rhythm and is considerably hornier (!?) -- excuse me...
"brassier," filling a more broad spectrum than its Brit and Hollywood counterparts.
The Hi-Lites offer perfect Jamaican ska, complete with bleating horns and interplay between the drums, guitar, and vocals that adhere to exact standards of the Caribbean music from 50 years ago. For house parties or a peppy Sunday morning on the porch, nothing goes better with Red Stripe and barbecue.
A chorus of mixed men's and women's voices preach of love and life's lessons in sugary and fun-loving party tones; listen for warnings of an undertow current, remember to meet your dance commitments, and play in the sunshine. The instrumental tracks could serve as chase-scene music in an old bikini-and-tiki movie. I don't know if it's my CD player or if the slight hisses and pops are on every recording, but the imperfections add to its authenticity as a low-fi beach-y undertaking.
If you like ska, or even its offspring -- reggae, dub, and dancehall -- find a chicken hut where the Hi-Lites play and order a drumstick and half-warm beer.