Dennis Brown In Dub
Although the core of this set are tracks from the "Dubbing The Observer" album, which
appeared about ten years ago on a King Tubby Trojan double, there should be enough rarities and unreleased gems from the Observer vaults to tempt any wavering dubsters. Original vocal versions can be traced to two Heartbeat releases from Dennis "Some Like It Hot" and "Open The Gate", and usefully Chris Wilson's sleeve notes match the vocal and the dub. Obvious shots like versions to Wolves and Leopards (albeit an alternate mix), Westbound Train and Here I Come stand here in all their glory, but there's a real pleasure to be had in (re)discovering the trademark Observer farting synth lines on Revelation Fulfil, the version to Tribulation, or checking the de-cheesing of On Broadway as the rumbling Take a Dub.
Glen Brown and King Tubby Termination Dub 1973 - 79
SIMPLY VINYL SVLP368
The re-emergence of the Blood & Fire catalogue in vinyl has been good news but it must be said that the artwork takes on a fresh life for this particular set which is really splendid. No stranger to the creation of monstrous rhythms such as Sylford Walker's Deuteronomy and Welton Irie's Lambsbread International, a dub of the latter is represented here, Glenmore "Rhythm Master" Brown was equally adept at more relaxed styles epitomised by the rhythms Wicked Can't Run Away, sometimes known as Youthman, and Father for the Living which also feature here - dubwize. His seventies output was difficult to obtain because it was usually pressed in small quantities on his own Pantomine sic or South East labels. However this was in no way any indication of variable quality, his productions are amongst the finest and most creative in reggae and this album pays due testimony to the fact.
Dub Wiser A New Millennium of Dub
Dub Wiser was consists of Rico, ÛÛ and Luz after several scattered formative musical experiences in the manic world of French reggaebeat. Although their debut album is titled as a tribute to Aswad's "A New Chapter of Dub", Dub Wiser are committed to existing and performing in France's increasingly multi-cultured urban landscape so the crossover approach, rather than resting on a reliance on roots, drags us through reggae, jungle, electronica, festival techno and industrial sounds all subjugated to a dubbing sensibility. The opening track, I & I - one of their previous bands, starts with a sweeping synth keyboard piece that almost matches Garth Hudson's Chest Fever for drama before unfortunately cutting off short. And the album continues on high bass energy thoughout - file in between Temple of Sound and Zion Train.
Prince Fari Psalms for I
PRESSURE SOUNDS PSCD/LP35
Originally out in the UK in 1976 on Lloydie Slim's Carib Gems, the little London label that blooded Jah Sherwood in the reggae business. Licensed now to the label co-owned by Sherwood, Pressure Sounds who reclaim the set in a manner which befits its content. A straight reading of Psalms from the thunderous Far I, with the inclusion of The Lord's Prayer for good measure. The Prince chants atop a series of serious vintage rhythms of the time including Satta, Drum Song, Horace Andy's well deep You Are My Angel and Cornell Campbell's propulsive Natty Dread Inna Greenwich Farm. An extra Psalm appears in the shape of numero 44, "We have heard with our ears .", previously only on a 45 pre. Every home should indeed have one, Selah!
David Gould Adonai in Dub
David "Solid" Gould is a member of the US nu-ska band John Brown's Body, and has apparently been fascinated for years by the connections with the spiritual connections between Judaism and roots reggae - I assume as much of Rastafarianism takes guidance from the Old Testament. All this could be dreadful in more sense than one if the messy klezmerska of the opening track Hinei Ma Tov Dub were pursued through the entirety of the album. Etz Chayim Hee Dub, which follows, totally dispels any doubts with a deep and spacey mix of a variation on a traditional Hebrew processional theme. This equation is repeated elsewhere with similarly satisfying results by the man at the mixing board Jamie Saft, though it's the slowed down efforts that strike hardest, especially the terrifying Adonai Noise Dub which veers into Muslimgauze territory! The ubiquitous Laswell is thanked on the credits and the album is not too distant from some of his more successful dabblings in the dimension of dub. From the series on John Zorn Tzadik's label featuring Radical Jewish Culture.
Harry Mudie Meets King Tubby in Dub Conference Volume 1
MOODISC RECORD HM108
As night follows day there is usually an expectation that the word heavyweight must also follow the word dub as an indicator of the music's potential to alter the operations of both mind and body. This notion is alien to the world of Harry Mudie, a producer whose work always tended to the tuneful, restrained and classy - even when visiting r'n'b style workouts. There is a whole stack of represses newly available out of Harry's set up in Florida, both vinyl and CD, including a set of three dub albums where he set Tubbs to work on some of his classic rhythms from 1976 through 1978 - Rome, Drifter, Heart Don't Leap, Love Without Feeling. It's this last one, a Heptones' tune, that the Dubmaster converts into one of his most accomplished creations Dub With A Difference where a string quartet is drafted into the studio and dubbed up in jaw-dropping style. Also worth looking out for are two in the producer's informal Reggae Bible series "Book of Drifters" and "Book of Heart Don't Leap" wherein version follows version in a multiplicity of styles, vocal, instrumental, DJ and dub, and also the "Reggae History A - Z" CD only set compiling some of the best of his productions from the sixties through into the seventies, including two from Count Ossie.
Nawaupu Marcus Garvey
ROOTICAL DUBBER 7" VINYL RDPB7
Personally I know nothing of the artist called Nawaupu, but when the version on the flip comes with the title Higher State of Consciousness with the artist evolving into The Holy Tablet Dub then I got intrigued. Apparently of 1976 vintage this turns out to be a real find in a reggae rare groove style - a Silvertones' style mystical chant backed by wild flute and nyabinghi drums, with the version being laced with mournful harmonica and at one stage a totally uncontrolled flamenco guitar mean things start to verge on the slightly absurd. Surely there's no more where this comes from?
Augustus Pablo Skanking With Pablo 1971-1977
Augustus Pablo Gold - The Very Best of
JET STAR JSGCD0452
Lining both these sets up is as good a Pablo primer as you can get. The first is compiled by the eminent Dave Hendley, reggae photographer, writer and DJ, and runs though from Pablo's early years through a number of producers - Herman Chin-Loy, Clive Chin, Keith Hudson, Lee Perry, Derrick Harriott, Gussie Clarke and Joe Gibbs. The variation in both the sound quality and values between the various studios is a remarkable but instructive guide to this most charismatic of reggae stars. The inclusion of much sought after Fat Baby, Pablo's version to Husdon's epochal production on Big Youth S.90 Skank and its companion dub piece Pick A Dub, will also ensure this set sells to enthusiasts.
"Gold" seamlessly picks up round about where Skanking ends, with a time overlap of around a year or so but no tracks in common, and concentrates on Pablo's own Rockers, Message and Yard productions. Opening with Chain Gang, a version to Glen Brown's perennially popular Slaving rhythm, and moving through Africa 1983 and an updated Java the twenty tracks are well paced and the selection impeccable. Especially the inclusion of Thunder Clap a version to Bill Wither's Ain't No Sunshine perhaps most memorably covered as Best Dressed Chicken in Town by Dr.Alimontado.
Shamansky Beat Culturmultur
Om CD (no matrix number)
To check out what's happening on the Russian ethnotrancedub scene then check out Shamansky Beat, a product of Moscow's LKK (Lion King of Kings!) Recording Studio. Maybe a band, maybe a collective - difficult to spot from the sleeve and the multiple website quotes all come in Russian script. The tunes alternate between the acceptable chill out variety - Babylon Burn by Jaga - through sheer grooves - Cubana by Jah Division - to unmentionable experiments gone horribly wrong. When dub travels it begins to mutate.
Daniel Peters a.k.a. Daniel Meteo is the host of a regular dub night at Berlin's Maria am Ostbahnhof, he contributed to Pole's last album, is part of the duo BUS along with Tom Thiel of Sun Electric and also a member of the more reggae oriented Submission. He also compiled this album of fourteen dub styled workouts which run the gamut of traditional to experimental. All previously unreleased, with the exception of an edit of Sugar B's Authentic Dub Disco the Viennese Dub Club monster chugger previously recommended in this column, tracks come from Tikiman, Rechenzentrum, Thomas Fehlmann, Barbara Morgenstern plus the Meteo variations whilst contributions from the UK are from Manasseh and Rootsman.
Various A New Breed of Dub Issue 3
Another in the series of Dubhead's budget priced CD only updates on what's happening now and in the future for the label and UK roots. Under the Stars is a preview of the long-awaited second album from the Love Grocer "Fresh Produce" due later in the year. Another promising outfit are the Etherealites whose scheduled debut album "Embers" is trailed here by its title track. A number of the tracks previously showcased via Dubhead's limited edition 7" and 10" series find their way here, including Iration Steppas, Mungo's Hi-Fi, Music Family and Dubclash.
Yabby You Dub It To The Top 1976 - 1979
BLOOD & FIRE BAFCD038
The early work of Yabby You is rightly revered as amongst the deepest and most spiritually committed of all roots reggae. When his interests turned more to the production of other artists the earnestness which pervaded that early work lifted most noticeably with his championing of the young Michael Prophet, a singer coming out of the shadow of the mighty Dennis Brown. The vocalist's "Serious Reasoning" resides on the same level as the Mighty Diamonds' "Right Time" as a roots classic. This set reissues the 1977 King Tubby/Prince Jammy mixed "Yabby You Meets Michael Prophet: Vocal and Dub" together with seven bonus cuts lifted from b-sides of the time and a 12" flip showcasing Tommy McCook. Even the introduction of an early syndrum fails to detract from tracks such as the lovers' tune Rock With Me Dub and the rail against Babylon inna Vatican Mash Down Rome Dub. This is about as good as it got at the end of the seventies before the horn sections became expendable with the advent of the heavier Radics dancehall style.