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Dave Hillyard and the Rocksteady 7

by Alex Rud
July 30, 2001

File Under: Ska, Jazz, Reggae
rating: A+

1) Sidney's March

2) Hillyard Street

3) The Fool

4) Father and Son

5) Playtime

6) Ugly Man Blues

7) Angry Lady

8) Norwegian Wood

9) Skavez

10) Thursday Night Stomp

11) Peace

12) Sidney's Ghost    

related links
  • Hellcat Records
  • Dave Hillyard is an awesome sax player. He is know mostly as a member of the notorious NY band "The Slackers." He has also done his part with other great acts.

    In 99, Dave got a bunch of his friends together and started his own band called "Rocksteady 7." The Rocksteady 7 are made up of musicians from NY's top ska and jazz bands. The band has a really tight sound, and unlike most bands today, they are professionals at the instruments they play. Their professionalism really shows on the album "Playtime."

    The opening track "Sidey's March" is a nice little New Orleans Jazz type number. The song is a great little tune to start the album with. "Hillyard Street" is a more upbeat number. The instruments are amazing. The percussion done by Larry McDonnald really gives the song the flavor. The Sax drives the song.

    "The Fool" is one out of the 2 songs found on this album that have vocals in them. Greg Lee (one of the singers of Hepcat) gives his Calypso vocals. The Rocksteady 7 back Greg up with their great instrumental playing to make this song one of the best on the album.

    "Ugly Man Blues" start off with some great bass playing for the first minute of the song. Shortly, the rest of the instruments join in . The guitar in this song really gives you that danceable beat, while the sax gives you that jazz feel.

    "Angry Lady" features the other Hepcat mc., Alex Desert. Alex gives his Barry White meets reggae vocals to give this song a great relaxing feel. The instruments do the rest. "Norwegian Wood" is a nice touch on a Beatles' classic. They keyboarding done by Victor Ruggiero and the guitar, done by David Hahn, give it a nice upbeat feel. The sax, as usual, drives the song.

    "Thursday Night Stomp" is one of the more upbeat songs on the album. The instruments are played in a more ska, than jazz, style, giving it a nice danceable tune that you can shake your ass to. "Peace" is a reggae instrument track. The album closes with "Sidney's Ghost." The song sounds like the opener, "Sidney's March."

    This is a really remarkable album. It raises a standard for a lot of albums released today. Every song is crafted to perfection. The songs are timeless, and they are a break from a lot of crap that is released today.. The tunes almost remind me of the classic Skatalites' tunes of the 60s (tear). I hope Rocksteady 7 will release another album soon, but for now I will enjoy "Playtime".

    Alex Rud is a Staff Writer. Contact him at misftskull@aol.com.

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