In 1995, the Pietasters released their first LP titled "Oolooloo", and they chose none other then Moon Ska Records to record it on. The reason they signed with Moon Ska is because they needed a label to get them out on the road and who better to come through for a Ska band but Moon.
After Brett Gurewitz caught the band at a milestone show at Los Angeles , they were signed to Hellcat/Epitaph Records, which gave them more recording freedom. On this album they released "Awesome Tape Mix # 6" album and the critically acclaimed "Willis" which took the band to new heights.
Backtracking to 1996 when the Pietasters released their live cd "Strapped Live!" on their old label Moon Ska. This is a recording of 2 shows which took place in 95 at the Black Cat Club in the D.C. area.
"Strapped Live!" is a good cd for people who have never experienced a Pietasters live show, and for those who wanted the band to release a live album.
When I first picked up the album, I was amazed. Never had I heard such a great live Ska album like "Strapped Live!" The cd has 16 live tracks from the songs picked from the first 2 nights. On the cd you can hear the crowd getting into every song, and the band is basically having fun, an atmosphere found in vertually every Ska show.
The cd begins with a Spanish sounding song "without you" which adds to the wide range of styles found on the album. The second song "tell you why" showcases the singer Stephen Jacksons' soulful yet grouchy style of lyrics. Accompanied by a great horn section, this song makes you wanna get up and start dancing, but it's tame enough to sip a cup of tea over while tapping your foot to the great beats. The love song "must catch a train" is a duet between the singer Stephen Jackson, and Caz Gardener, from their label mates, Checkered Cabs, is a great soulful number that melts your heart, and sends tears running down your cheeks. The next song is a cover of one of my favorite bands the Pogues, called "Fiesta". It is a very upbeat song which has Irish folk in it. The song is sure to make Shane Macgowan of the Pogues pround. The song "night owl" is about being betrayed by a girl, in which they dedicate the song to O.J. Simpsons. The lyrics in this song are very angry sounding "I hate your guts, you ruined my life"
The 2 most favorite subjects for the Pietasters to write their songs about are: 1)Beer and 2)Women. In between songs they talk about those things constantly, whether it is for someone to bring 'em a beer to prevent dehydration on stage, or to some random girl in the audience to meet them after the show and get to know each other "in a biblical sense" which basically means screwing.
If you are looking for the perfect live album, get this release. Also check out their other releases. Keep on skankin ya fools!!
Alex Rud is Contributing Columnist. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.