Original Movie Soundtrack
This album was originally billed as the first all-ska movie soundtrack, and then hastily re-billed as the first US all-ska soundtrack when the producers remembered a little film called Dance Craze, a documentary of the 2Tone Tour. At any rate, it’s a bit sad to see that the producers of the film didn’t have enough faith in the artists to commission new songs for the film (although they did get Toasters leader/Moon founder Rob “Bucket” Hingley to compose a new score). Every song on the disc that actually appears in the film has been previously released, largely on various Moon albums of the last few years. OK, so if you don’t already own great tracks like Let’s Go Bowling’s “Cumbia del Sol” (one of the best ever Latin-influenced ska tracks), the Slackers’ “Run Away,” Isaac Green & the Skalars’ “Don’t Count” (although how you could have missed this one is beyond me, as Bang is the third disc that the track appears on), or the New York Ska-Jazz Ensemble’s “Elegy,” here’s a great chance to own them all in one place. Unfortunately, you also get Ocean 11’s “Hong Kong Low Rider” and Dr. Sauce’s “Barret Yall’s Ride” in the bargain, songs which only barely deserved their original releases, much less a rerelease.
Since most ska fans are bound to already own at least a few of the tracks here, the real selling point is the inclusion of six bonus “ska-dub” tracks. These tracks don’t appear in the film, and apparently are only here to justify purchasing the album for those that might otherwise give it a pass. Included are three new versions of previously released stuff: “Riversion,” from Skavoovie & the Epitones, is a dub version of their “Riverboat,” “Don’t Count Dub” is the ubiquitous Skalars tune, and the Articles’ “The Ska’s the Limit Take 2” is a second stab at the Laurel Aitken classic. In honesty, while all three are interesting takes, I preferred them all in their original versions (especially “Don’t Count,” which is reduced to its barest bones here, to ill result). This leaves, as the prime selling point, three brand-new tracks from the incomparable Dr. Ring Ding with H. P. Setter. While I’d rather hear the good Doctor playing ska than dub, it’s still impossible for the man to do any wrong. “Emergency Case” is a fun, if mellow, jam, with the haunting female voice paging “an emergency case for Dr. Ring Ding” adding just the right touch. “Trombone Sound” is the most fun, though, with the Doctor’s amazing vocal and trombone work providing the best track on the disc.
In conclusion, if you already own most of the previously released stuff, I can’t recommend purchasing Bang. The Dr. Ring Ding tracks are incredible, but unless you’re a big fan, they alone aren’t worth the purchase price. However, if you don’t have the old stuff that’s here, pick this up and get educated on some of the better ska music being made today. Moon SKA NYC, P.O. Box 1412, Cooper Station, New York, NY 10276; http://www.moonska.com