December 14, 2007
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 5||Backing : 5||Production : 5||Sound quality : 5||Sleeve : 4|
Münsteraner ska, reggae and dancehall don
Richard A. Jung a.k.a. Dr. Ring-Ding began his professional
career in 1987 playing trombone with El Bosso & Die Ping Pongs, one
of Germany's most famous ska bands. His experience in El Bosso led to his
life long love for Jamaican music. By early 1993 he had formed his very
own band, Dr. Ring-Ding & The Senior Allstars, and
over the next ten years they would release five albums, numerous singles,
and two excellent albums backing legendary Jamaican vocalists Doreen
Schaffer and Lord Tanamo. American releases on Moon Ska and Jump Up! helped solidify his fan
base in the United States, and soon Dr. Ring-Ding was enjoying a worldwide
audience for his snappy vocal style and tremendous musicianship. Dr. Ring
Ding is not only a popular live performer, he is a studio musician,
arranger, and producer in many different music genres such as swing,
rhythm & blues, hip hop, rumba and punk, but, above all, in reggae,
dancehall and ska. As soon as Dr. Ring-Ding and The Senior Allstars split
Dr.Ring-Ding branched out as a solo dancehall artist and solo and often
featured calypso and ska artist who recorded great tunes over the last
Dr. Ring Ding first compiled an album for Jump Up Records himself that was more of a personal favourites and rarities collection than a best of, the great "Back And Forth" focusing on his ska and calypso tunes, but including dancehall tunes as well for an eclectic outcome (of which 3 tunes are included on this album as well: "Doctor's Darling" of course, "Badness" and "Millionaire"). And now alongside Rodney, the MC, booker and label-manager and in this case executive producer of the Cologne based Kingstone-soundsystem, an album for the dancehall massive - that has been forthcoming for about three years now - has been compiled. It opens with a tune for Germaican Records - the Leipzig based label of former Messer Banzani member turned international top reggae and dancehall producer Pionear - for whom Dr. Ring Ding has been present on almost every 7" selection that was released over the last 8 years, telling us in what more or less is this album's titletrack "Dancehall Nice Again" in a laidback old school style over the beautiful 'Money Bag'-riddim that Germaican Records' Pionear produced and created together with the original Far East keyboard player Matscher, which was released on 3 7"s accompanied by the release of the "Polski Ogién" album in Poland - in association with Warner Music Poland - that entered the Polish Album Charts at No. 24 when it was released in June 2006. It's followed by "Sneakers" alongside sweet voiced Nikki Deelite (who took his artist name from a cocktail), who also did the programming for this very nice poppy tune on which Dr. Ring Ding not only provides the vocals but also the massive trombone riffs near the end of the tune (where the US style rap followed by fast style JA deejaying kicks in as well) and then it's the biggest dancehall hit worldwide that defined Dr. Ring Ding in the international dancehall scene (outside the ska scene where his presence worldwide hadn't gone unnoticed already years before this tune), his lyrical twist on some of his own great idol Gregory Isaacs' "Night Nurse" lyrics rewritten into "Doctor's Darling" over Seeed's relick of the Gregory Isaacs riddim for Germaican Records that even appeared as 'Doctor's Darling' one riddim sampler in VP Records' Riddim Driven series.
"Ruff Like A Rock" is the current single alongside 2step/drum 'n' bass/hip hop and many more collective Mashed Beans, the tune was featured in a VIVA/MTV commercial and became so popular it 'had to be' released officially. Produced by Mashed Beans' Jbuzz, this tune has rocking guitars, reminding of Dr. Ring Ding's 2000 collaboration with the H-Blockx covering Johnny Cash' "Ring Of Fire" (that unfortunately is lacking here) and surely has the same crossover potential. Strangely enough Dr. Ring Ding's tune across the 'Yardstyle'-riddim, laid by Kingstone-soundsystem selector Lazy Youth for his Basslabor Productions, the ultra slack "Dash Weh Yuh Frock" that was included (and probably my favourite tune) on "Back And Forth" is lacking on this Kingstone release. "Vom Vatter", over Germaican Records' 'Geisha'-riddim, is one of my (if not THE) favourite Dr. Ring Ding tunes, both because of the wonderful religiously inspired lyrics and the hardcore dancehall riddim after its classical roots intro backing it, before Mashed Beans' Jbuzz stays closer to his roots, with the 2step and drum 'n' bass influences clearly audible in the backing for another celebration of nice vibes in the dancehall with "Friendly Fiyah". Berlin's dancehall machine Seeed have been responsible for many of the riddims that were released on Germaican Records over the years and the 'Rodeo'-riddim is no exception, with Dr. Ring Ding incorporating snatches from his own Senior Allstars history on the great party tune "Lala" that also appeared on Germaican Records' "Riddim Stars ~ Rodeo" album, followed by the - until the two now released albums - only as 7" released great "Millionaire" over Markus Grapmeyer & Eike Schoenig a.k.a. Beatschmieda's very nice 'Matador'-riddim and a great relick of "Call Di Doctor (007-Lick)" over the seminal 1986 'Punanny'-riddim from Jammys, built by long time companion and buddy (and former Senior Allstars bass-player) André 'Ras' Meyer, who also composed the next riddim 'Die Liebe' (clearly inspired by Carlton & the Shoes' classic 1968 Studio One riddim 'Love Me Forever') backing the upful "Good Times". Two more tunes recorded for Germaican Records follow, his take on Germaican Records' Pionear & Tom Topp produced 'Messer Banzani'-riddim, the very entertaining (at least in my opinion, but the contrary has been voiced out loud as well) "Wer Kennt Die Frau" a.k.a. "Dancehallfieber" and the excellent "Mafia" over 'Typhoon' combining great storytelling with a tribute to the 'original rudeboy and Don' Gregory Isaacs.
Goldi a.k.a. Dieter Tosh took care of recording (and also mixing) many of the voicings of riddims on this album and contributes his 'Am Mic'-riddim (also used for the title track of his own debut) as live played backing for Dr. Ring Ding's "Ja Watten" for a very nice late 80s early 90s vibe throughout this humurous tune, that is followed by Firewheel's very nice 'King Orle'-riddim (played by Ganjaman alongside several members of Berlin's Feueralarm) for the tongue-in-cheek lyrics of "Bring De Money" and the very impressive "Badness", Dr. Ring Ding's take on Roots Rockers' 'Almost 54-46 a.k.a. Feel Like Jumping'-riddim, until recently only available as a 45 and on the compilation "Münster Massive ~ One City - One Family" but now included on both this set and "Back And Forth". Another riddim built in Germany stems from the Berlin based soundsystem SWS i.e. Sound With Soul, who made big waves with their second production of a riddim, the follow-up of their 'Ritmo Latino', the great late 80s style 'Crazy Night'-riddim that Dr. Ring Ding rides here with an atypical (well not, if you get the irony in the lyrics) anti-slackness tune "Cuss Raas" to full effect. The next tune "Hartchor", a combination with Ragga Fränkie - the true originator of German deejay style - and producer Natty U - who sadly passed away in 2005 - was in 2001 Dr. Ring Ding's first ever dancehall tune done in German, over Rootdown Records' label-owner and in-house-producer Thilo Teka Jocks' first riddim selection 'Racer', which was the first riddim to be voiced with a string of German-only vocals ever, before the last Germaican Records tune is featured, 2003's political statement - that unfortunately still sounds very actual today - "Bombs Over Baghdad" over Seeed's 'Pharaoh' and the album is closed with the great "Ruff Like A Rock (Dancehall Mix" that Mashed Beans' Jbuzz made in very fine style, leaving us after several years of waiting with two very fine albums by Dr. Ring Ding, concentrating on different musical styles, but for both can be said that Dr. Ring Ding fans and lovers of ska, dancehall and reggae in general should be smart enough to listen to (and buy) both albums, with this album most likely being more appreciated by the dancehall enthusiasts.