Dr. Ring Ding is well known for his versatility as a performer and producer in the most varied of musical styles. However, a large part of his heart belongs to the Caribbean sounds of the sixties – including, besides Jamaican Ska and Rock Steady, the Calypso from Trinidad.
With Kalipso Times, he covers several preferences and varieties of this genre. Four tracks that show different facets of the music and the doctor – adequately presented on ten inch vinyl, topped off with appropriately humorous artwork.
Perky grooving bass lines, sparkling percussions and glistening horn section, along with tongue in cheek and sometimes equivocal lyrics. This is music that makes you feel good and that conjures the carefree joy and the spirit of the Caribbean Carnival of the good old days.
The musicians (besides the Doctor himself) are a great bunch of versed musicians: members of Jazzkantine, the Swiss Reggae band The Scrucialists, Dr. Ring Ding Ska-Vaganza and, straight from the variety show stages, Götz Alsmann, Markus Paßlick and Altfrid M. Sicking.
The great respect for the legendary calypsonian Mighty Sparrow is documented twice on here. First in the original composition “The Cat And The Rooster”, a song crafted in the style of the master. Melodically and musically on one hand, but most of all lyrically on the other: the quarrel between two animals that symbolizes the battle of the sexes at the same time. Playing with different narrative levels has a very old tradition in the history of Calypso, and here, it is cultivated further.
The other one is a reprise of the Sparrow-classic “Obeah Wedding” from 1966, the ‘Road March’ (most frequently played song in the Trinidadian Carnival) of that year and still a hit. Here, it is presented with a balladic intermezzo.
The original Composition “All Because I Love You” is a Reggae-Calypso that can also be found on the current Ska album of the Doctor (Dr. Ring Ding Ska-Vaganza – Piping Hot). It is written in the tradition of the Jamaican Stanley Beckford, who gets a ‘hats off’ in the last line of the song.
“The Needle” is a Reggae version of the tune “Dr. Kitch” by Lord Kitchener, along with Mighty Sparrow one of the greatest Calypsonians in History. This song from 1964 was already interpreted in a Reggae version by the British Reggae singer Judge Dread in 1974, here, you get a version with real horns. Dr. Ring Ding has accompanied Judge Dread as a musician for a few years at his shows in Europe; ever since he has presented his own version, it stirs some controversy sometimes…