Blue Skies
The Levitators
January 23, 2015

Track list
  1. Sea Of Love
  2. Perfidia
  3. Burning Love
  4. Blue Skies
  5. No More Doggin´
  6. Son Of A Preacher Man
  7. I Won´t Cry
  8. The First Cut Is The Deepest
  9. Wish It Would Rain
  10. Venus Rejoice!
  11. 25 Miles
  12. Willow Tree
  13. Sunshine Day
  14. Goodnight My Love
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4 Backing : 4/5 Production : 4 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 4
The Levitators is a Finnish band that was started in the late 70s by schoolmates Esa "Sir Skeleton" Kärenmäki, Jussi "Natty-J" Tirronen, Vesa Järvinen and completed the final line up a few years later with the addition of Ossi "Pupa Massive" Helin and Juhani "Jylle" Tolvanen. Since then various musicians joined and left the band, but the original 'Furious Five' kept the fire burning. In 1995 a steady horn power was added, as Mikko Parviainen joined the band and in 2008 some serious girl power got injected in the band when vocalist Päivi Lahti joined the band. The band has build up a strong live reputation and their discography holds several albums, 7" singles and contributions for other artists.

Their latest effort is called "Blue Skies" and contains a well mixed variety of covers, drawn from several music styles. The title either refers to the first line of the Temptations song I Wish It Would Rain, but could also point to the Irving Berlin classic Blue Skies, a tune they recorded with the "Drum Song" riddim strongly in mind! I Wish It Would Rain is one Motown cover. The second comes from Edwin Starr who charted in 1969 with the uptempo tune 25 Miles. Their thoughtful interpretation of that classic is pretty close to the original. The album opens with Sea Of Love, a tune made famous reggaewise by The Heptones and is followed in fine style by the rocksteady scorcher Perfidia. Next comes a great cover of Burning Love, a song made famous by Elvis.

In 1968 Dusty Springfield was responsible for the success of Son Of A Preacher Man, written by Hurley and Wilkins, who also wrote the tune "Love of the Common People". Nice interpretation here! First Cut Is The Deepest has become a kind of reggae standard because so many reggae artists voiced this beautiful tune. The Levitators' vocalist Päivi Lahti does a nice job covering this one! In 1969 the Dutch band Shocking Blue had a worldwide hit with "Venus". From Holland to Finland isn't that far and when the song hit Finland, the Levitators turned it into a mesmerizing reggae tune with the title Venus Rejoice!. The African/UK band Osibisa was extremely popular in the 70s. Their best know hit single must have been Sunshine Day, a Latin influenced dance tune with an irresistible dancing groove. Check out the Levitators' version here, we're sure you'll enjoy it!

No musical food for reggae purists, but yet highly enjoyable!