Why is The Scofflaws’ Live! Vol. 1 on my best 1,000 albums ever list?
A fun ska band with real musical chops that’s at its most fun-est best live.
What does The Scofflaws’ Live! Vol. 1 mean to me? What does it make me feel? Why is it exciting or compelling?
Though I grew up on Long Island, New York, I saw The Scofflaws live in a number of locations – Binghamton, in and around New York City, Ithaca perhaps – before discovering that they too hail from The Island. And, in fact, they are from and would often perform in Huntington, a town not at all far from where I grew up (East Northport).
I’m not sure what venue Live! Vol. 1 was recorded in but it’s likely that I saw them perform there at one time or another. Which is a long-winded way of saying that The Scofflaws are absolutely a band best appreciated live. The two studio albums of theirs that I owned back in the day – a self-titled debut and Ska in Hi-Fi are decent, but don’t nearly capture the fun energy that they regularly produced on stage.
The Scofflaws are a ska band, and a fun one at that as I mention, but there’s real musical chops – from the horns to the rhythm section – at work. The baritone sax and staccato ska groove of “Nude Beach” shows off the band’s vibe, energy, and horn section very nicely.
For maximum fun factor, I recommend you head over to “William Shatner.” Yes, that William Shatner. They ain’t talkin’ about Tribbles (or your momma). They would do this thing on stage where the whole band (minus the drummer) would run to one side of the stage to emulate the Enterprise (yes, that Enterprise) being under enemy attack.
The Scofflaws song that always ends up getting stuck in my head is “Paul Getty.” I’ll freely admit that the vocals on this live version aren’t my favorite. The version that’s on The Scofflaws’ eponymous studio version is a lot smoother overall. But, perhaps, it loses some of the fun factor.
Pop culture stuff that’s somehow related to The Scofflaws’ Live! Vol. 1
The Scofflaws were on the Moon Ska Records label, which had a lot of great east coast ska bands like The Toasters, Hepcat, The Pietasters, and Mephiskapheles.
A fundamentally important night in my musical education came somewhere around the winter of 1993, when I happened to see The Scofflaws, The Pietasters, and The Toasters play at a great venue in Ithaca, NY called The Nines. More to come on a later edition of the best 1,000 albums ever, stay tuned!
Mephiskapheles is a truly bizarre band with some pretty great music. Case in point: here’s a song called “The Bumble Bee Tuna Song” off their God Bless Satan LP.
Some stats & info about The Scofflaws – Live!, Vol. 1
- What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Ska, Third Wave Ska Revival, New York Bands
- Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
- All Music’s rating – 4 out of 5 stars
- When was Live!, Vol. 1 released? 1997
- My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #918 out of 1,000
The Scofflaws’ Live! Vol. 1 on YouTube
What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?
Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.
But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective take on what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.