Dr. Ring-Ding

Ram Di Dance

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It could perhaps be construed as a slap in the face to the British and American ska scenes that one of the finest traditional ska bands in the world right now is from Germany. What makes Dr. Ring-Ding's group such a world-beater? First of all, great songs: "My Sound" and "Bad Company" are among the catchiest and most well-crafted ska tunes written in the last ten years. Second of all, a horn section that is not just utterly tight, but also downright mellifluous. Third of all, great taste in covers, among them (this time out), the Horace Silver jazz standard "Song for My Father" and Justin Hinds' "Over the River." Dr. Ring-Ding himself is a strong and compelling singer, and has made such an assiduous study of Jamaican patois that when he slips into it it's almost impossible to tell that he's German. All the band 's albums are great, but this may be the best one yet.

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