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Better Late Than Never

The Slackers

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Album Review

Given the fractious relations between the Slackers and the Moon Ska label, it might rankle the band to be told that Better Late Than Never was their best album. But as of early 2000, that's still the case. Opening with a ska arrangement of Nat Adderley's hard-bop composition "Work Song" and ending with a cameo from the ageless ska queen Doreen Schaeffer (actually, there's one more instrumental after her gently powerful rendition of "Our Day Will Come," but she should have been the closing act), this album proves once and for all that New York City ska is the best. Keyboardist Vic Ruggiero and sax man Dave Hillyard both write great songs, with the slight edge going to Ruggiero, whose "Sarah, I'm always thinking of you/ I'm so sorry I can't make you my wife, this life" trumps Hillyard's "I see the bucket full/ I want my food!" The rest of the band is responsible for the best old-school ska and rock-steady grooves this side of the Stubborn All-Stars. "Sooner or Later" is one of the most compellingly singable ska songs written in the last 20 years, and "You Don't Know I" rolls and bounces like a barrel of skanking monkeys. Victor Rice's production is just bass-heavy enough without sacrificing clarity or definition. Essential.

Customer Reviews

First Impressions are the most lasting

I found their music two years ago at Zia Records in Tempe; I just walked in and Peculiar was on. I went home and started buying every CD they had. I saw them in Denver last year and at age 40, having seen many bands, they were great. Very humble, they stuck around and talked to everyone. This one was very hard to get until now, so buy it.

Biography

Formed: 1990 in New York, NY

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

One of the most notable bands to emerge out of the New York City ska revival scene of the 1990s, the Slackers is comprised of vocalist Marq Lyn, vocalist/keyboardist Vic Ruggerio, guitarist T.J. Scanlon, bassist Marcus Geard, saxophonist David Hillyard, trumpeter Jeremy Mushlin, trombonist Glen Pine, and drummer Luis Zuluaga. After beginning their career in 1991 playing rocksteady and ska in the 2-Tone vein, the Slackers moved toward a more traditional style, even adding a horn section in 1994. They...
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Better Late Than Never, The Slackers
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