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All Day

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Album Review

The Pietasters have undergone personnel changes since being formed in Washington, D.C., in 1990, but they have seen their greatest upheavals in recent years, which may help explain why All Day is their first studio album of new material since 2002. Already by the time of the release of the previous album, Turbo, they had suffered the loss of bassist and songwriter Todd Eckhardt, who died of a heart infection in November 2001, although this was not reflected on that disc. Since then, another longtime member, guitarist and songwriter Tom Goodin, has departed. Toby Hansen, who had played trumpet in the group, has moved over to guitar, but the major addition to the lineup is Jorge Pezzimenti, whose participation as bassist, guitarist, keyboardist, singer, songwriter, and producer of the album rivals the preeminence of the Pietasters' founder, gruff-voiced singer Stephen Jackson. But despite these changes, the band's musical approach is much the same. The inner sleeve of the CD package provides a good indication of the contents. It displays mock-ups of 45-rpm records, as if each song on the album had once appeared on a 7" single in the 1960s or '70s. The labels of the faux discs indicate the musical styles of the songs — some are on the purple Motown label, with the map of Detroit in the upper section, others are re-creations of the Jamaican Trojan label, etc. The label signals whether the song is arranged to sound like '60s pop-soul, reggae, or ska. (There is also one track, "So Long," done as garage rock, that would fit nicely on the Nuggets compilation.) The Pietasters are proudly retro, but as a third-generation outfit, their performances are just that much more removed from the sources. When they play Motown, they sound more like the Foundations than the Funk Brothers; their ska is more reminiscent of the English Beat than the Skatalites; and their reggae recalls UB40 rather than Bob Marley & the Wailers. Fans of the styles may care only that the Pietasters are reverent about their favored music, that they are fans themselves moved to emulation.


Formed: 1990 in Washington DC

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

The Pietasters, a ska revival band, were founded in Washington D.C. in 1990 by singer/songwriter Stephen Jackson. In 1992, the group got their first big break when they were chosen as the opening act for a tour by the British ska band Bad Manners. Their first album, The Pietasters, was released by Moon Ska Records in 1993. Oolooloo followed on May 22, 1995. Strapped Live! was issued on April 30, 1996. In 1997, the Pietasters signed to Hellcat/Epitaph, with which they released two albums, Willis (October...
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All Day, The Pietasters
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