Laurel Aitken
The Bluebeat Years

by Alex Rud
July 20, 2001

File Under: Ska/Reggae
rating: 4.8 out of 5

1) Mad About You 

2) It's Too Late 

3) Sahara 

4) Rudi Wedding 

5 Roll Jordan Roll 

6) Boogie With the Bartender 

7) Sally Brown 

8) Sugar Sugar 

9) Boogie In My Bones 

10) Zion City 

11) Little Sheila 

12) Bad Minded Women 

13) Hey Bartender  

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  • Laurel Aitken
  • In the 1960s after a lot of Jamaican imigrants came to England to find better future. With their movement they imported the ska music from Jamaica. Many of Jamaicas top ska acts came to England to do their thing. The music was called "Bluebeat." England's Rudys and Skins were in for a real treat each time the attended a show.

    Laurel Aitken was one of the pioneers of "Bluebeat." He was already a star in Jamaica for his great Reggae music. He recorded a lot of stuff during his 40 year career, but most of the origional recordings were lost to time and erosion. In 95, Moon Ska records decided to re-issue the best of Laurel Aitken; they called the album "The Bluebeat Years."

    The album begins with "Mad About You" an upbeat ska track, done in a 2Tone style. "It's Too Late" slows things down with a nice Reggae peace. The song is about a girl being unfaithfull, and now wants to come back to you, however, this time you have moved on and don't want to be with her. "Rudi Wedding" is a nice up-beat number that can't help, but make you wanna dance yer arse off. "Sally Brown" is probably the most well known Laurel Aitken tune. Bands like Bad Manners and The Agents cover it, as well as a lot of other bands. I'm sure you've heard it somewhere. "Sugar Sugar" is a nice little Reggae tune that you wanna listen to over and over. In, "Boogie In My Bones," Laurel Aitken shows his love for Boogie music.

    So there you have it, 13 tracks from one of the greatest in Ska and Reggae. Listen to the album and enjoy the artist who influenced a lot of ska bands today.

    Alex Rud is Contributing Columnist. Contact him at

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