Symarip: Roy Ellis (vocals, percussion); Joshua Roberts (guitar); Monty Naismith (keyboards); Michael Thomas (bass); Frank Pitter (drums).
Personnel: Roy Ellis (vocals); Steve Baker (guitar); Aubrey Mulrain (strings, piano, organ); Dave Sanders (saxophone); Jamie Wall (trumpet); Joe Roberts (trombone); Trevor Liburd (bass guitar); Learoy Green (drums).
Recording information: Rollover Studio, London (04/2017).
The Pyramids had built their reputation as Prince Buster's backing band during the Jamaican star's visits to the U.K., but it was with the phenomenal success of their barely disguised alias' "Skinhead Moonstomp" that the group went down in legend. Where a single venture is, an album must follow. Symarip was well aware of what their skinhead fans wanted -- more of the same, and the band served it up with relish. A dozen brace-snapping, big boot-stomping, sing- and shout-along songs, with the occasional nod back to the rocksteady era to allow the boys a time out to chat up the birds, all played with aplomb, and nicely balanced between stompers and slower numbers, Skinhead Moonstomp was the ultimate party album. There's a nod to the Pioneers' "Long Shot" on "Chicken Merry." A vocal trio-esque "Must Catch a Train" waves toward rocksteady, while two tracks later, the same rhythm supports "Stay With Me," this time swathed with a touch of Alton Ellis soul. A simmering instrumental separates the two, so that's alright. There's also a sizzling cover of "Phoenix City," and better yet, a stomping take on "These Boots Are Made for Walking." And stomp they do, and they keep on stomping across the rest of the record, as Symarip delivers up the likes of "Skinhead Girl" and most surreal of all, "Skinhead Jamboree," where an oompah band joins forces with a music hall revue and set themselves up as fashion police outside a skinhead dance. As dated as it all is, Skinhead Moonstomp is a kick and the perfect party album. ~ Jo-Ann Greene