Cover tunes are an integral part of ska, reggae and rocksteady. Ever since the dawn of time, these artists have performed others’ music with that signature island skiffle, or even played over fellow artists’ dubs to piggyback on a certain sound. With its inherent swinging nature and so many arrangements for it including percolating horn parts, Hugo Montenegro’s “Lady in Cement” is a natural fit for ska. With their version of the classic, The Fanculos have done what ska artists are great at, turning old popular music into something new. As it has always been the case with the genres of ska, rocksteady and reggae, tradition always leads into new cycles and interpretations and this track delivers on that front.
Let’s talk a little about the original. “Lady in Cement”. It was originally a part of the soundtrack of the 1968 movie of the same name. The movie starred Frank Sinatra, Raquel Welch and Dan Blocker. The wonderful chorus of buh bup bup bahhh was a great respite from the generally sinister sounds of the world of pool hustling and burlesque. Even though Hugo Montenegro’s version showcases his immense musical versatility, it was begging for a modern reinterpretation.
Enter The Fanculos. While sitting indoors with their family across different parts of the country, they ended up coming with this exceptional ska reinterpretation of Lady in Cement. The band stumbled across this track on Spotify and it was love at first note. They felt that the track was begging to be ska’d and they went on to do just that.
This isn’t a half baked cover, The Fanculos have done a great job creating a new version of the 60s classic. They have put time and effort into the production. The horn ensemble is layered over a groovy rhythm section that’s addictive to the core. Austin Powers would approve of its groovy-ness. Behave is something you won’t be able to do while listening to this track. It will get you off your seats and put your good old behind to work. Don’t worry, it’s good for you.
If nothing else, The Fanculos’ version of Lady in Cement is a great reminder that ska is still alive and well in the age of electronic dance music. Bup Bup Bup Bahhh!
Verdict: Good luck not dancing to it.