Thursday, July 24, 2014

Duff Review: Dr. Ring Ding and Kingston Rudieska "Ska'n Seoul" EP

Rudie System
CD EP/digital download

(Review by Steve Shafer)

The great Dr. Ring Ding has been a fervent fan of Kingston Rudieska--South Korea's top vintage ska act in the mold and of the calibre of The Skatalites--since he first encountered their track "Oscar Wilde" in 2007 on Pork Pie's Benetton-inspired United Colors of Ska 4.0 compilation.

So when Dr. Ring Ding's Ska-Vaganza was scheduled to appear alongside Kingston Rudieska at the 2013 Jisan World Rock Festival in South Korea, he and Kingston Rudieska--both great admirers of each other's music and musicianship--took advantage of this opportunity to enter the studio to record an EP's worth of material. This brilliant collaboration yielded the cheekily-titled, five-track Ska'n Seoul, which is mostly likely one of the finest traditional ska releases of 2014.

Ska'n Seoul is bookended by the terrifically smooth--but no less desperate, urgent, and tragic--ska-jazz version of Fine Young Cannibals' (ex-Beat members Andy Cox and David Steele with ex-Akrylykz Roland Gift) dark family drama "Johnny Come Home" (originally released in 1985) and its slick deconstruction in "Johnny Come Home (Worried Dub)." Kingston Rudieska shows the love to the good Doctor with a half-English, half-Korean cover of Dr. Ring Ding and the Senior Allstars' "Bad Company" (off the essential Ram di Dance), retitled here as "Discovery of Life," which Kingston Rudieska has included in their live set for for some time now. The traditional African-American spiritual "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" (which is not just about being shepherded into heaven, but escaping slavery through the Underground Railroad to free states or Canada) is presented as if the musicians were part of a revved-up, ecstatic ska tent revival and Dr. Ring Ding as an Elmer Gantry-like charismatic preacher. The one new tune here, written especially for this occasion, is Dr. Ring Ding's delightful "Your Sweet Kiss" (about how the only thing the singer would miss when he's dead and buried), which is reminiscent of an ace Lord Tanamo or Laurel Aitken collaboration with The Skatalites from back in the day.

If you can get your hands on this CD, do it now (a digital version is available through iTunes and you can mail order the CD through Dr. Ring Ding's website)! You'll want it and even more from this ska supergroup. May we be lucky enough for their paths cross again very soon in the future.

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1 comment:

Greg said...

I think Jump Up's supposed to be releasing a vinyl version of this record too.