The Braces ? Ska Got Soul!

The ska veterans from the Rhineland are back! Thirteen years after »Prime Cut« and twelve years after »Blue Flame« comes their third album »Ska Got Soul«. Uplifting ska-pop anthems such as »The Designer Song« meet heart-rending ballads in the »Heart Of Sand« mould ... .

But first things first. From the mid-eighties up to 1991, The Braces were in demand all over Europe. Together with Skaos and The Busters, they numbered among the first generation of ska bands in Germany. The compilation »Skank ? Licensed To Ska« (Link Records/England) from 1988 was the first sign of life of what became known as the third ska wave and went on to become a worldwide hit. »Julie, Julie« by The Braces was acclaimed as one of its highlights. In December 1988, The Braces found themselves on the stage of the 1st International Ska Festival in London, featuring such acts as Prince Buster and Bim Skala Bim. The next morning, they were interviewed on the BBC?s Radio 1 Breakfast Show. The next two years saw one successful album for the London label Unicorn followed by another for Vielklang/Pork Pie in Berlin, flanked by tours across Europe. Then, The Braces split up. Among other things, because their manager disappeared with the band?s money and contracts.

Reincarnation 2000: Singer/guitarist Joachim Uerschels and singer/saxophonist Martin Störkmann are the sole original members, with new musicians recruited in Düsseldorf and Cologne: drummer Mattes, for instance, who had previously already recorded ska albums with Monkey Shop. »Ska Got Soul« was produced by Ekki Maas (Dr. Ring Ding & the Senior Allstars, Dr. Calypso, Doreen Shaffer).

»Ska Got Soul« is a crucible / melifluous mix / mélange / blend / an amalgam / delicious brew / medley of 60s ska, 2Tone ska, soul, rocksteady and pop. The album features eight new songs written by Joachim: »My heroes are Nick Lowe, Prince Buster and Smokey Robinson. And you can hear it on the record.« At least, you can hear the difference from other ska bands. There are many who have the rhythm, but only The Braces have the songs.


Ska Got Soul ? blow by blow:

»The Designer Song«: You, too, can sing along: »Fred Perry?s more my style, Ben Sherman makes me smile.«

»Supergirl vs. Rude Boy«: Premier league ska-pop with dubs by Ekki.

»Heart Of Sand«: What becomes of a rude boy who gets involved with the wrong girl? His heart of stone turns into a »Heart Of Sand«. Sad but true!

»I Wish It Were Me«: You love rocksteady? Then this one?s for YOU!

»Jealousy«: Could also be a Northern Soul classic! Phat backing vocals from Steffi and Mattes, coupled with life-and-death lyrics!

»Keep On Keepin? On«: Another trip into the world of dub. Ekki at the controls, and a riddim that could just go on forever.

»Skanking In My Lonely Room«: Sweet melancholia, rude-boy-style.

»The Last Song«: As in real life, the DJs have it all their own way! In the end, the babe goes to the man behind the turntables.

»Now You?re Here«: Recorded back in 1991, with Marion behind the mic and Tom on the fiddle.


The Braces
Fact File:


- The Braces? songs are a popular choice among fellow musicians, too. Swedish electropop band Plastic Planet put a revamped version of »Julie Julie« on their last album! The Rollings from Tokyo do a cover version of »Too True To Be Good.«

- Talking of Japan: The Braces were bowled over when a visitor from Fukuoka City turned up in mid-September 2001. No amount of world tension could keep this female fan from flying all the way to the Rhineland to realise her dream of »Seeing The Braces live in action«. And the dream came true!

- No messing: In December 1988, The Braces toured England and Scotland for two weeks, mostly in the supporting slot for Bad Manners. Trumpet-player Chris only got special leave of absence from school because saxophonist Martin was duly appointed his legal guardian!


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