Title
Artist
Label
Format
Date

The Best Of
Dr. Calypso
Grover Records
CD
28 June, 2004

Track list
  1. (5) Let's Try Again
  2. (3) Brigadistes Internacionals
  3. (5) Mr. Happiness
  4. (2) The Power Of The Latin Soul
  5. (1) Slow Boat To Trinidad
  6. (3) CinecittÓ
  7. (5) Music To Watch Girls By
  8. (2) Not Understanding
  9. (5) Se'ns Pixen
  10. (1) Blow Up The Bank
  11. (4) Aguesta Nit -Live-
  12. (5) Dolša Sensaciˇ
  13. (1) Pole Man
  14. (3) Return
  15. (2) Toxic
  16. (1) Magreb Ska
  17. (3) Tribut A Tommy McCook
  18. (2) 2300 Millions
  19. (3) Born To Be Alive
  20. (2) Plan 10
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4 Backing : 4 Production : 4/5 Sound quality : 4/5 Sleeve : 4
Germany's major ska and rocksteady label Grover Records releases this compilation of 10 piece Catalanian (I'm afraid they wouldn't want to be called Spanish) ska combo Dr.Calypso, after already releasing their third studio album (3) "Barbarossaplatz" in 1999. Dr.Calypso's debut (1) "Original Vol. 1" was released in 1993 on Tralla Records and sold 10.000 copies in Spain, and it's follow-up the self-produced (2) "Toxic Sons" alongside their intensive touring spread their fame further in Europe. In the slipstream of the distribution by Grover Records of "Barbarossaplatz", Dr.Calypso captured their live-energy for (4) "On Tour - Live At Bikini", released by K Industria, who also released their latest studioalbum, last year's (5) "Mr. Happiness". Although most tracks from the first four albums featured on this "Best Of" have been written by the whole band, on "Mr. Happiness" only 2 or 3 people were involved in each song, like the catchy opener "Let's Try Again" which was written by singer Luis 'Luismi' L˛pez, guitarplayer Jordi 'Maniac' ManyÓ and trombone player Enric 'Xato' Grau. Next is "Brigadistes Internacionals" where the sound is a delicate mixture of the most poppy outskirts of Two Tone ska and the dubby intermezzo of an early UB40. "Mr. Happiness", the title track of their latest studio album, written by again 'Maniac' and 'Xato' but this time alongside other lead-vocalist Sergi 'Sheriff' Monileˇ, has a very funky organ and features some great horn accompaniment and vocal harmonies over a nice uptempo riddim. "Power Of The Latin Soul" is funky horns over a groovy riddim with the fine lyrics We ain't got no money, We ain't got no girls, We got everything we need, We got the power of the latin soul. Largely these lyrics are a description very much fitting all the tunes on this compilation. Whether an early tune like "Slow Boat To Trinidad" switching between slow reggae and fast paced calypso, or the great 2000 instrumental movie-inspired ska "CinecittÓ" or the recent Dr.Calypso take on Andy Williams' 1967 Tony Velona and Sid Ramin penned evergreen "Music To Watch Girls By". "Not Understanding" is guitar driven, poppy, Two Tone influenced ska. "Se'ns Pixen", written by 'Sheriff' and the other guitar player Fernando 'Damned' Poza is a fine yet totally incomprehensible jazzy tune. Like "Slow Boat To Trinidad" the next song from their debut album presented here "Blow Up The Bank" also shows where the name Dr.Calypso originated. "Aquesta Nit", the only song taken from their live-album "On Tour" has a riddim very reminiscent of Steel Pulse's "Ku Klux Klan" with wicked horns and strong vocals on top. Once more the beautiful melodic, almost folky "Dolša Sensaciˇ" perfectly blends with older songs like the slow ska of "Pole Man", the one step more uptempo and well sung "Return", the faster again more Two Tone-ish "Toxic" and the bit more experimental "Magreb Ska". A tribute to one of the great legends of Jamaican is included: the great horn driven instrumental "Tribute A Tommy McCook". And although "2300 Millions" and "Plan 10" are fine songs, the first with its spoken lyrics over a midtempo riddim, the latter kind of surf ska, they reach nowhere near the absolute most surprising ska-reggae version of a popular song ever: Dr.Calypso's take on the Patrick Hernandez dancefloor classic "Born To Be Alive". A very fine selection of 10 years of Catalanian ska compiled by the band Dr.Calypso themselves guarantee more than an hour of listening pleasure.