Vic Ruggiero / The Forthrights - Ska Is Dead, Vol. 3 [7-inch club] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Vic Ruggiero / The Forthrights

Ska Is Dead, Vol. 3 [7-inch club] (2010)

Underground Communique / Asbestos

Ska Is Dead began as a tour package in 2004 to prove that even though ska was officially dead to the mainstream, there was still enough interest to warrant large-scale shows from some of the scene's biggest names and up-and-coming acts. The success of the tour and the five that followed proved ska wasn't really going anywhere, and rode that momentum to an Asian Man Ska Is Dead compilation CD and Skanksgiving celebration.

The next logical step? A 7-inch vinyl series featuring the same array of heavy-hitters and newbies the tour has employed. A joint effort by Underground Communique, Asbestos Records and Ska Is Dead, the 7-inch club is a subscription-only series with a set of six split 7-inches.

The particular split in question here is that of the prolific Vic Ruggiero of the Slackers/Stubborn All-Stars/Transplants/Crazy Baldhead/etc. and Maddie Ruthless on side A, with Brooklyn rocksteady ensemble the Forthrights taking up the other side.

Ruggiero and New Orleans' Maddie Ruthless combine for a brilliant take on "Policeman", which Hellcat aficionados should remember from the first installment of Give ‘Em the Boot, which was credited to the Silencers, who were allegedly made up of Ruggiero, Tim Armstrong, Lars Frederiksen, Brett Gurewitz and Josh Freese. This version keeps the same infectious chorus but reworks much of the instrumentals and the verse. If anything thereafter in the Ska Is Dead 7-inch club can top this tune, it would be a miracle because this song is simply orgasmic.

The Forthrights do a nice, simple, hornless ska number called "Carla" that features a slick little guitar riff leading into the warm melodies of vocalist Jack Wright. It too is a good song, but is slightly overshadowed by the majesty of what's heard on Side A.

This installment of the Ska Is Dead 7-inch club verifiably proves that ska isn't dead as it pertains to releasing quality new music, as I'm sure the rest of the series also attests. The Forthrights contribute a nice song in the form of "Carla", but it's Vic Ruggiero and Maddie Ruthless who steal the show with their take on the Silencers' "Policeman".