Some 35 years ago sax player Lee Thompson helped introduced an entire generation to Ska music when as part of Madness they exploded on to the music scene on the crest of the 2-Tone wave. Now in the time between various Madness gigs and duties El Thommo has been filling that gap since 2011 by forming his own Ska Orchestra, with the aid of fellow Madness member and bassist Mark Bedford, to recreate and pay homage to those authentic Ska and Reggae rhythms that burst out of Jamaica in the mid to late 1960’s that influenced him and the band so much.
Since then The Orchestra have been performing all over to rave reviews and the next logical step was to put that sound on record which has resulted in the release of debut album “The Benevolence of Sister Mary Ignatius”, with the title itself paying tribute to the lady who opened and ran the Alpha School for Boys. The album features their takes on many Ska classics like Baba Brookes’ ‘Gun Fever’, Jackie Mittoo’s ‘Napoleon Solo’, ‘EasternStandard Time’ by Don Drummond plus in amongst all these great instrumentals is the single release, featuring Bitty Mclean on vocals, a take on Desmond Dekker’s mighty, mystical 'Fu Man Chu'. The album has been co-produced by Mike Pelanconi aka Prince Fatty who has worked with the likes of reggae greats Dennis Alcapone, Little Roy and Winston Francis as well as helping introduce us to the delights of the talented Hollie Cook.