Radio Riddler is a Reggae music band composed by Frank Benbini as vocalist and guitarist, Brian Fast Leiser as keyboardist, Jay Lindsey on trombone, Adrian Dubby on electric bass, Darryl Reid on drums and Naim Cortazzi on keyboard. They started this musical project in 2011 under the MITA Records label.
Their Prince Album
Their album Purple Reggae was his best-known debut album, where they made pure covers of Prince’s Purple Rain album. The album was released in the same date that the album Purple Rain was released by Prince 30 years ago, this being an influence for all the members of the band and in honor of Prince.
We know they spent 5 years working on Purple Reggae and preparing the musical project as such, since the band started only with the members Frank Benbini and Fast Leiser at the beginning of 2011. The project started as a simple experiment, to see how the iconic versions worked of Purple Rain in the musical style they teach, in Reggae.
The Style Switch
In the Purple Reggae album you can see the years and the experience they put into the project, it’s an idea that at first could have been risky since we are talking about re-making the most recognized album of a world star and music icon like Prince, an extravagant person, sexual, dangerous and totally risky to his tastes and ideals.
We could say the Radio Riddler’s album was totally a hit, although at the beginning it’s a bit strange to listen to Purple Rain in another version never heard before, but it’s a very original idea and the instruments fit perfectly in the mix. Also, the members had a great idea to incorporate other singers to help them to cover the most emblematic songs of Purple Rain.
An example of this is the invitation to the Irish singer Sinéad O’Connor, which was recognized by her cover of Prince “Nothing Compares 2 U”, and accepted to joined to sing a new version but with the name ” I’d Die ‘4 U “. Another collab was with the singer Ali Campbell, who became known for recording the version of the single “Purple Rain”, so he was the perfect one to cover that.
Also the singer Deborah Bonham joined the project singing “Take Me With U”, while with the singer Suggs they covered “Let’s Go Crazy”. Another song was “When Doves Cry” which was cover by Citizen Cope, and is one of the strongest versions of the album, for the sounds and instruments added.
So, we can say that “Purple Reggae” by Radio Riddler, despite being a versioned album, without new songs, is a gem that we should know how to appreciate. Because definitely with their very personal style and unique stamp, they did justice to the songs of the majestic work of Prince, and is something that even him should be proud.