Sing Along With The Yoots album cover

As a kid in the late 80s/early 90s, I was trying to find my scene, music tastes and style. I grew up in Brisbane where the rude boy and sharp skinhead scenes were flourishing (think Fred Perry and Ben Sherman shirts, braces, Levi 501’s and Doc Martens, not to be confused with the fascist skins that have been portrayed in the media today). So being young and impressionable, I naturally followed what were the trends of the time.

With the fashion came the music – Two Tone, Ska and Rocksteady. The Two Tone movement was starting to flutter out, and there is only so many times you can listen to that same Specials album over and over again, so my friend Guy and I moved onto the roots of the music we loved so much. Two twelve year old kids digging through old Desmond Dekker, The Skatalites, Prince Buster and Stranger Cole 7″s was a sight to see.When I was asked to review Sing Along With The Yoots I had no idea what to expect, but within seconds of listening to the first few bars of the first track, I was right back in those record shops. I could smell the dusty old covers of those classic 7″ sleeves, feel that solid vinyl in my hands, and the excitement of finding a classic, and those damn uncomfortable doc boots.

Before I even researched this album I listened to it twice, had a little skank, and just had to turn it up to let my office know about this classic I had just found. After a small amount of research, imagine my surprise to discover this album was not very old at all, and is a collaboration of NZs finest. All pooled together by Fat Freddie’s trombonist Joe Lindsay, also including members of the Black Seeds, the Phoenix Foundation and Twinset.

This is a feel good, horn-heavy Ska/Rocksteady album that could have quite easily come out of Jamaica in the 1950s.  BUT all the songs are remakes of classic Maori singalong tunes dating back to World War Two. All the tunes are instrumentals, and a song book is kindly provided, so you can join in on the good times.

As I sit here typing this and listening to this masterpiece, I can smell the BBQ and taste the cold beer, this is a summer album that may have been released a few months too early. If you come to my place for a BBQ this summer we will be ‘singing along to The Yoots’. I hope they play live somewhere this summer so once again my childhood rude boy can skank his skinny ass off.

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Listen to Sing Along With The Yoots on Amplifier