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  • Writer's pictureMr P

New Chainska Brassika Album - Tales of a Londoner

Tales of a Londoner is a proper album – y’know – 2 sides of music and every track is a banger. Not just a bunch of tracks thrown together because Spotify will shuffle it all up anyway. Tracks chosen to flow each other and complement the one before it.

In simplest terms. Side A –ska with a London/cockney edge Side B – Reggae heavy vibes (and yes we have ordered the vinyl and VERY happy to wait for it. It will be worth the wait!)

Right from the Oi! Oi! Intro of Down the Barge you know exactly what’s coming… 10 London geezer skankers to get you dancing. How can this be only their 3rd full length album? This builds on the strong foundations of Skinna and Harry J Business and from the off, Down the Barge has the measure of both albums depicting the very best British tradition – a night down the boozer! Unsurprisingly, this was the first single released as an album track.

Next up is the 2020 single Simple Things featuring Frank Harper (Dog – Lockstock, Billy Bright – The Football Factory) an easy sing-a-long tune that is massively danceable. Regular listeners would have this twice Featured This Week track in regular rotation over the past couple of years.

Thirdly is (for us anyway) the jewel of the album and second album single; Eyescratcher. A bouncing tune about looking for the beauty underneath the surface.

The pace drops for Up My Street, an enjoyable stroll along a London Street as we meet the local characters. The whole album tells the story of modern London and reveals the intrigue of our capital city.

Funky Reggae Man suggests the reggae influence about to come on the second side and is a clever, heartfelt homage to Toots Hibbert.

Flip to side 2 (you’ll have to imagine it for now) BUT I first heard this in the car and the bass is set to max and OH MY GOSH the track Big Boss is wicked! Massive smile and a f**k yes! Can not wait to gig this track. Additional vox from Helms reminds me of the toasting style of Ranking Jr.

Trouble and Strife is a song of positivity extolling the virtues of the soothing power of Chainska Brassika. Shman’s vocals are so clean on this track and drives the tune forward. You just want to keep listening but there’s another track coming…

And it’s Queen – a beautifully blissed out track. Perfect sunny Sunday afternoon listening. Blue Skies flows on from Queen so well – a slight lift in pace but some deep reggae vibes keep it rooted.

The whole shebang ends with the 8 strong CB machine’s 3rd single (4th including Simple Things?) from the album – New Cross Stomp. The rhythm guitar and sirens in the intro build the anxiety in the track as we follow the crew around the pubs of New Cross. A slight feeling of tension in this track which uses a minor key to give it an edge. So cool.

This has been playing in the Buttondownmobile for the past couple of weeks and is a just superb from beginning to end.

Recorded, mixed and produced by Grippa Hempolics it is out now on CD and digital download – vinyl has a delay until autumn (Universal, Sony, Warner – for the love of Prince Buster, would you open your own vinyl pressing plants so that smaller labels can get their vinyl out! You CAN afford it! Stop clogging up the process…)

Pick up some merch while you are there too and give the lads a boost.

Download from your usual digital dealer...

Extensive UK tour too!

Tales of a Londoner UK Tour Dates:

Check the #skalendar at for links to tickets and loads of other awesome ska gigs.

See you in Southampton!

We have been blessed with some killer music this year already from Buster Shuffle, Stubborn Records, Redeemon, Filthy Militia and now THIS! This just adds to the richness of the ska scene and the recovery of live music.

Imagine – there is a generation of new ska fans coming through who have never had a scene.

Let’s give it to them and this would be a great place to start.


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And whatever you do... KEEP SKANKING and listening to Button Down Radio

Mr P

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1 Comment

Michael Garesjö
Mar 26, 2022

Nice tunes in the videos! Got to check this one out.

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