Friday, July 20, 2007

Review: Dr. Ring-Ding - Back and Forth

Jump Up Records - 2007

Touted as a personal selection by The Doctor himself, Back and Forth collects tunes spanning Dr. Ring-Ding’s entire career. Cuts from all his studio albums with the Senior All-Stars, plus 7” singles, remixes, and even some new tunes showcasing upcoming solo projects and collaborations leave no stones unturned.

The album starts off strong with “Doctor’s Darling”, arguably one of the best, if not most recognizable tunes Richie has ever recorded. The backing track of the same name is a re-working of the classic Night Nurse riddim, and was written by the Seeed band, one of Germany’s top notch dancehall reggae producers. This tune was so good it was featured on VP Records’ Riddim Driven series, where such greats as Tanya Stephens, Luciano, Anthony B, and Sizzla all took turns riding it. In my opinion, Dr. Ring-Ding is the strongest at the dancehall, and this album delivers about 8 more scorchers – some of my favorites being Badness, Millionaire, Fever, and The Best. Like a true master, his boastful lyrics and killer vocal delivery permeate all these tracks, proving his own words that he is “the best” and “any rude boy who come can’t test”.

One of the biggest surprises for me on this album is the ska version of the song Ram Di Dance. I didn’t think I would like such a change in tempo from the original, but in this case it works. Over the upbeat ska and monster horn lines, he changes the vocals ever so slightly, and adds a full new verse at the end, again demonstrating his lyrical ability.

Showcasing his new and upcoming projects, Back and Forth includes two tracks from Today’s Special, the new album by super group Kingston Kitchen. Kingston Kitchen sees the members of Rotterdam Ska-Jazz Foundation seamlessly fusing ska, jazz, lounge, and swing while Ring-Ding adds his smooth, crooning vocals. Also present here is a tune from the forthcoming “Fully Licensed” album recorded at Version City. “What it Takes” features Vic Ruggiero and Richie trading vocals over a signature Version City reggae track.

The rest of the album features some of the best songs from his Senior All-Stars days, a few unreleased numbers, and two tracks with The Scrucialists, “Obeah Wedding” and “Feast”, the King Django collaboration. Clocking in at almost 80 minutes, this CD packs 21 songs total, and is a great pick for both die-hard and casual Ring-Ding fans alike. It’s a nice nod to the past, and a promising glimpse of the future. Also keep an eye out later this summer when Dr. Ring-Ding comes back to the US for a short tour. More information can be found at .

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