Ska from across the pond!

It was less than a year ago that I discovered the Dualers. This is a shame as they have released several albums since their inception in 1999. The Dualers are from England and their latest offering is “Back to Paradise.” Let’s have a listen…

1. “Rocking Back to Kingston”- Let’s start things off with a horn heavy instrumental. Although the horns take center stage in this number, the piano and other percussion sounds complete the overall sound. Great Tune! Grade: A

2. “Man Next Door”- The percussion in “Man Next Door” picks up where the last song left off, and then switches to a more traditional ska sound. I really like the vocal harmonies in this song, and is a smooth listening experience overall. Grade: B+

3. “I’ll Take You Over Anybody Else”-I’m not always a fan of slower songs but this song is a definite winner. The vocals harmonize well together and piano adds that extra something. Grade: A

4. “Hurricane”- Danceable beat: check. Prominent horns: check. This song has everything a ska song should have. Grade: A

5. “Botheration”- Botheration is another soulful number with a sweet trumpet solo at the 1:50 mark. This song also features the Dominos, whose backing vocals are subtle , but a nice touch indeed: Grade: A

6. “Puppet on a String”- Another slow song, with more of a groovy feel than that of traditional ska. So far this isn’t my favorite song, but still a great song none the less. Grade: B+

7. “Blazing Fire”- With its darker horns and slightly faster pace, “Blazing Fire” packs more of a punch than previous songs on the disc. So far this is the front-runner for the best song on the disc, but I still have 8 more tracks to go… Grade: A

8. “Carolina”-With more of a whimsical feel, “Carolina” is still a great dancing number. While this song may not be a standout, it fits in well with the other songs on the disc. Grade: A-

9. “Big Shot”-With horns blaring, this song makes me feel as if I am on a Carnival cruise. Nice backing vocals on this one, however the main lyrics are redundant. Grade: B+

10. “Stop Waiting for Your Curtain to Fall”- This has as classic reggae feel. Although this has a slower tempo and the horns are not as “in your face” as other tracks, this is a great song. Grade: A

11. “Too Bad”- Much like “Blazing Fire” this is a great overall dancing song and a close tie for best song. Grade: A

12. “You Should Know Me By Now”-This one sounds a lot like many of the other songs on this disc. Again, not a real standout, but still a solid tune. Grade B+

13. “Wonderful Tonight”- “Wonderful Tonight” is a slower, smooth jam with a “Motown with horns” feel to it. Grade B+

14. “Amelia”-Wait, it’s time to start grooving again is this horn heavy number with a great solo at the 2:00 minute mark. Grade: A-

15. “Red Light”- I really like the use of the organ in this song. There are also some excellent vocal harmonization is this one as well. Nice way to round out the album. Grade: A-

“Back to Paradise,” is an album from a band that has truly mastered its craft. There are a lot of great things going on here; smooth vocals, prominent horn melodies and solos, as well as catchy organs and percussion. Also at just over one hour of music, this album will keep you skanking for quite some time. While there were not any songs that I disliked, (these are all solid tunes), they all kind of sounded the same after a while. That is my only criticism for this otherwise great collection of tunes. This is a must have for any ska traditionalist. Overall Grade: A-

So what did you think? Share it my friend!

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