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Formed in early 2003 on a back street stag night, music
scene veterans Mark Ballard (Vocals); Mark PENO Penington (Double Bass); Michael
Chello Wichello (Guitar); Chris Turkee Mason-Calloway (Drums) and Guy Lawson
(Tenor & Baritone Saxaphone) conspired to utilize the old Ska and Rock Steady
rhythms of Laurel Aitkin, Alton Ellis and other Studio1 artists of the 1960s
& 70s in much the same way as Jerry Dammers (Specials) or more recently
Bitty Mc Cleans On Bond Street had Taking the essence of the originals and using
it as a template to either revive or make a new.
The Racketeers plan was simple yet not too often done.To get people dancing once more to this traditional but highly infectious beat. Quickly completing the line up, Rebecca Bex Small (trumpet) joined the brass section as they began playing live in both pubs and more established music venues. From the outset they became crowd favourites and the hosts of the party with Mark Ballards tender yet mischievous voice beckoning the crowd to join in or dance on stage.
Songs like Bartender, Ali Baba or the Zodiacs Renegade are at times so close to the original that you wonder if they had written the tunes themselves.
These Pied Pipers of the bar room skank have taken coach loads across country to play their own shows or simply usurp someone elses. Bridging that generation gap by making fans of young and old as well as the generic social groups uniting them all in the sea of the crowd often evoking the Two Tone euphoric days of 1979.
The Racketeers have crafted both a live set and a recorded session. When you hear that beat you just want to move your feet. Will have you tearing up the dance hall floor or joining in that at the bar reverie because wherever their music plays the sun just keeps on shining.