Review: Dr Ring Ding is Germany's foremost ska trombonist and vocalist. While not that well known outside the ska scene, he's released a lot of records over the years, many of which are well worth picking up. One obvious example is 2013's Kalipso Times, a tasty four-track 10" that has now been given the reissue treatment. Recorded with a vast array of musicians, it's an effortlessly joyful and entertaining affair that sees him fuse his usual reggae and ska influences with nods to rhythm & blues (cheeky opener 'The Cat & The Rooster') and - more obviously - calypso. The latter inspiration is most potently explored on 'Obeah Wedding', which comes on like a long-lost Kid Creole track.
Review: You can't overestimate the importance of The Heptones in the evolution of Jamaican music, after they defined the transition from ska to rocksteady and on to reggae. This album, "Back On Top", captures the band in the early '80s, when they had reached an international audience after working with Lee 'Scratch' Perry and releasing on Island Records. By this point they were back producing themselves, creating a perfect spanning sweet ballads and upbeat skankers, not to mention a cover of The Beatles' "Yesterday". Lovingly repressed on 180 gram red vinyl, this is a welcome reissue of an album that's been tricky to get hold of for some time, from one of the all time great reggae acts.