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Review

Augustus Pablo & Rockers All Stars: Lightning & Thunder

Horace Swaby, better known as Augustus Pablo, who died in May 1999, is here at Dubblog really no stranger. I have to admit that his premature death at the age of just 44 touched me deeply. The somewhat jazzy Far East sound of the exceptional musician and producer Augustus Pablo has always struck a chord with me. The first Augustus Pablo album to add to my collection was Tommy Cowan produced and mixed by the immortal King TubbyItal Dub“. Published by Trojan in 1974, Ital Dub“ is an ingenious snapshot and shows Augustus Pablo on his way to becoming a producer of his own works. Whether Peter Tosh or Augustus Pablo was the first to make the children's instrument melodica socially acceptable in reggae will most likely no longer be clarified.

A few days ago the album “Augustus Pablo & Rockers All Stars: Lightning & Thunder“ (Onlyroots) appeared. An incredible collection of previously unreleased and Dubplate mixes of the legendary Jah Shaka, heard here under the title "Gates of Zion" and a completely different mix to the original. The vocals come from the then very young George Nooks aka Prince Mohammed. The original reads "Yeah Dub' and is on the 'Chanting Dub With The Help Of The Father" by the Rockers All Stars. Surely other riddims will look familiar to you. So the King Tubby Meets Rockers Uptown's "Stop Them Jah" became "Leave The Dreadlocks" and "Omo Valley." Dub“. Another Jah Shaka favorite is the title track "Lightning & Thunder", here the mix was titled "Sons of Negus". And now comes my absolute highlight and the grandiose conclusion of the album: "All Nations" & "All Nations Dub“. Originally found on the 1975 Upsetters album: Return Of Wax entitled "One-Armed Boxer". So folks, there is actually a lot to discover on the "Lightning & Thunder" and as long as such delicacies are still slumbering in the archives, I am worried about the continued existence of the Dub/Reggae don't worry.

Even if you already know or even own countless Augustus Pablo albums, I can still strongly recommend listening to this release. In my opinion even an absolute must.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
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Review

Al Brown & Inner Force: Dub Cuts

Paolo'Dubfiles' Baldini has been a valued and style-defining figure in the flourishing Italian reggae scene for over 20 years.Dub-Scene. He was a founding member of the BR Stylers and The Dub sync He also played bass for a few years for the Africa Unite, which I value very much. During his creative phase to date, Baldini has worked countless times with a wide variety of artists. The last few years in particular have been extremely fruitful. His collaborations with Dubblestandart from Austria and currently the English label Pressure Sounds made an extremely positive impression on me. His current work on Pressure Sounds, "Al Brown & Inner Force: Dub Cutsmixed by PaoloDubI particularly like files' Baldini.
Born in 1934 in Kingston, Jamaica, Al Brown is a relatively unknown reggae artist and much information about him is hard to find even on the web. How could it be otherwise, he also made his first recordings for Coxsone Dodd. A little later he teamed up with the Volcanoes, which then formed the Skin Flesh & Bones, of which Brown also became a member. The Revolutionaries then recruited their cast from the Skin Flesh And Bones. Al Brown released a single album in 1974 entitled Here I Am Baby, a version of Al Green's song of the same name. The title song "Here I Am Baby" was also successful in England and became a minor hit. After that, things got very quiet around Al Brown for many years. A few later singles were "Caribbean Queen" and "No Soul Today", which, however, could not build on the success of the debut album.
It wasn't until 1991 that Al Brown reappeared with his new band, Inner Force. The five musicians and one singer played only one album together with Al Brown: "Al Brown & Inner Force: Be El Ze Bub" a. To date, this album is only available on cassette. Paolo Baldini chose these recordings for his Pressure Sounds project Dubs selected. Seven of the original ten songs – one of them twice – were re-transformed into a psychoactive sound experience. As we did from Paolo'Dubfiles' Baldini are used to, everyone became Dub live at Alambic Studio, no overdubs or post-processing created. Inspired by the analogue techniques of the "Godfathers" of the Dub, King Tubby, Lee Perry, King Jammy and Scientist, Baldini goes to work with great empathy. Fortunately, he builds enough vocal fragments into his remixes, which gives the tracks that certain extra and also ensures the recognition of the soul-heavy original songs. As Paolo Baldini aptly put it himself in the interview: “The main ingredient for a good Dub-Album is, long before Dub-Master, the right songwriting.”

real Dub-Reggae fans will do very well with this album. Paolo Baldini knows how to masterfully edit the tracks artistically without falling into artificial mannerisms. The sound is crisp and clear, exploring dark lows and delicate highs, and refined with echo and reverb where necessary.

Rating: 4 out of 5.
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Five Star Review

Israel Vibration: The Same Song Dub

"And you don't know what tomorrow's gonna bring... Life is one big road..." - Cecil "Skelly" Spence.
The next mainstay of classic roots reggae has broken away and headed to its ancestors towards Mount Zion. Cecil "Skelly" Spence from Israel Vibration died on August 26th in a New York clinic at the age of almost 70. For this sad occasion I have for the umpteenth time the "Israel Vibration: The Same Song Dub“ belongs. I'll say it right away: A fascinatingly beautiful record that has accompanied me almost my entire "reggae life". Skelly's death hit me all the harder. This fragile man, to whom we owe such glorious songs as "The Same Song", "Why Worry", "I'll Go Through", "Prophet Has Arise" and many other beautiful songs, has died of complications from an untreatable cancer.

Kingston, Jamaica was the birthplace of reggae harmony group Israel Vibration. After a polio epidemic swept the island in the early 1950s, many children contracted polio. Polio vaccines were still in their infancy, and many children around the world were still contracting this insidious disease. Cecil "Skelly" Spence, Lascelle "Wiss" Bulgin and Albert "Apple Gabriel" Craig met as children when they met at the Mona Rehabilitation Clinic. In the 1970s they formed the roots reggae ensemble Israel Vibration.
After hearing the three men sing in a wooded area outside of Kingston, Hugh Booth, a member of the Twelve Tribes Of Israel, raised funds for the three boys and gave them the opportunity to record their first album. Their first release was the single Why Worry, recorded at Treasure Isle Studios in 1976 and released later that year on the Twelve Tribes label. Due to the popularity the group gained with the release of the single, many Jamaican artists such as Dennis Brown, Inner Circle and even Bob Marley asked them to open for one of their concerts.
Israel Vibration then began collaborating with producer Tommy Cowan, releasing the single "The Same Song" on his top-ranked label in 1977. The following year, 1978, they released the album of the same name. On "The Same Song" they were joined by members of the Inner Circle Band. The plate and you Dub- counterpart "The Same Song Dub' were internationally successful, leading to a partnership with EMI label Harvest to release the album in the UK.
Now for the Dub-Album: The relatively unknown Jamaican singer/songwriter Paul Donaldson sat at the mixing desk, of whom very little exists. But with the albums The Same Song and The Same Song Dub“ he has set a monument to himself, because both albums are great moments of reggae/Dub. For example, listen to my favorite song “Ball Of Fire” from the Dubalbum, you might hear that an opus like this doesn't show up in reggae heaven every day. Simply a masterpiece full of sadness and fragility. Skelly's voice fragments whizzing through the room make me humbly get on my knees again and again.
Note: There is a second, completely different mix of the album: "Fatman Riddim Section: Israel Tafari', also produced by Tommy Cowan and released on his top-ranked label. Both albums deserve the title "particularly valuable".

RIP Cecil "Skelly" Spence, your live performances will never be forgotten.

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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Review

Well Charged: Vital Dub

I Roy would say when he saw the cover: "Well, this guy is loaded with dynamite and now he is well charged."
So, to wrap up my Mighty Diamonds Dubtrilogy there is now an album which at first glance does not indicate any connection with the Mighty Diamonds. "Well Charged: Vital Dub(Virgin Records) was originally on the Hookim brothers' Well Charge label entitled: Vital Dub Strictly Rockers” before it was released in England and hit like a bomb.
The cover alone got a lot of my friends interested in this album and led to a lot of speculation: “The guy clearly had more than one pull on that spliff. The spliff looks like it's just been lit, while the guy looks like he's already got three dowels in... In that state, he can't even make a triangle ring, etc."

Ok, back to the topic at hand: the riddims that are on this classic Dub-Set from 1976 are, with one exception, from the undisputed masterpiece of the Mighty Diamonds: "The Right Time" aka "I Need A Roof" and this connection alone has earned the reputation of "Vital Dub“ reasoned. Although no band is named on the album cover, a quick look at the line-up (despite some aliases) and it's obvious that the rhythms of this work were recorded by the early revolutionaries: drummer Sly Dunbar, bassist "Ranchie" McLean ( partial replacement for Robbie Shakespeare), keyboardist Ansel Collins and all the other usual suspects are mentioned. Joseph "Jo Jo" Hookim and keyboardist Ossie Hibbert sat at the mixing desk. The mix is ​​mostly a straight-through of the rhythms that are still unparalleled to this day. The solid production is a remarkable instrumental collection Dubs. The tracks are versions of classic Mighty Diamonds songs from their prolific Front Line period (Virgin/Caroline), including Dubs of "Go Seek Your Rights" (presented here as "Cell Block 11") and the anthem of suffering "I Need a Roof" ("Roof Top Dub"). As is typical of hookim productions, the Dub-Arrangements idiomatic without being terribly innovative. Nevertheless, the instrumental tracks on which the tracks are based are and remain milestones. "Vital Dub“ is one of the Dubalbums that established the riddim twins Sly and Robbie. Anyone who wants a gentle introduction to the world of Dubs searches could be a lot worse off than starting with this.

Sly Dunbar recalls: “When we made the riddim for 'Right Time,' the Diamonds weren't in the studio. I went back to Channel One to hear the vocals and I said, 'This is wicked.'

I can only agree with that opinion.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
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Review

The Icebreakers with the Diamonds: Planet Mars Dub

Yes, let's continue with Oldies but Goldies. After the murder of Donald "Tabby" Shaw in March of this year and Fitzroy "Bunny" Simpson, who died of natural causes a few days later, the singing trio The Mighty Diamonds is unfortunately only history. Formed in Trenchtown in 1969, the group has played to tens of thousands of people around the world for more than 50 years of their career. The sudden death of the two protagonists strengthened my will again to deal more intensively with The Mighty Diamonds and their early Dub-Albums to deal with. After I'm in Dubblog already "Deeper Roots (Back to the Channel)' about the green clover, this time I pounced on 'The Icebreakers with the Diamonds: Planet Mars Dub' (Virgin Records) from 1978. Yes, I know, 'Tabby' and many others found the song album 'Planet Earth', the very first album recorded at the newly completed Compass Point Studio, to be quite overproduced. Ok, I don't know the original tapes and I don't know what else Virgin Records did to the recordings. What I do know is: “Planet Earth” and its Dub-pendant "Planet Mars Dub’ were pretty easy to find in well-stocked record stores back then – even without pre-ordering. That may be one of the reasons why both albums were often on my turntable and why I still know every note on them very well to this day. The album gave many reggae fans the "Dub-Access" facilitated.

As I said, Chris Blackwell's Compass Point Studio had just started up in the Bahamas. The Icebreakers - basically an offshoot of the Revolutionaries - provided the backing band, Karl Pitterson produced and sat at the mixing desk. Karl Pitterson is also one of my heroes who has received far too little attention. After all, he's been on albums like: Rico: Man From Wareika; "Bob Marley & Wailers: Exodus"; "IJahman: Are We A Warrior"; "The Abyssinians: Declaration Of Dub"; "Sly & Robbie: Raiders Of The Lost Dub' and many other albums.
Pitterson's Mixings are always refreshing. Listening back to the “Planet Mars Dubs” reflects the same relaxed style attributed to the Mighty Diamonds. Here, however, with a different approach, because the main drivers of any mix are reverb, echo, and delay. Pittersons Dub-Versions show not only the vocal talents of the Mighty Diamonds trio, but also the strong instrumental virtuosity of the Icebreakers. The album flows at a perfect tempo from song to song and the vocal snippets constantly floating through the room once again make it clear to both eyes and ears how incredibly dense the harmony singing of the Mighty Diamonds was at the height of their career in the late 1970s.
The overall sound of the album is unmistakably shaped by Karl Pitterson, who would soon be appreciated for his refined and richly produced style. Perhaps the atmosphere at Compass Point Studios was an oasis of relaxation compared to the political powder keg of Kingston at the time. Anyway: “Planet Mars Dub” manages it quite successfully, tight vocal harmonies and strong musical accompaniment with (at the time) cutting-edge Dub- technology to combine.

One more note: “Planet Earth” and “Planet Mars Dub' are pretty odd chapters in the history of the Mighty Diamonds. The Icebreakers will be on the “Planet Mars Dub” is mentioned first and “The Mighty Diamonds” are listed simply as “Diamonds”. One speaks of legal reasons.

Rating: 4 out of 5.
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Review

Carl Campbell: Zion Dub

A few months ago, while searching for Sly & Robbie albums, I came across the classic "Carl Campbell: Zion Dub“ excavated. The album is extremely rare and was previously only released on LP in a limited edition on Carl's Records in 1978. For a short time it was again available on CD in 2017. Carl's Records was apparently quite short-lived. Only one more album was released, "357 Magnum Dub", which Winston Riley of the Technics co-produced and published with Carl Campbell.
The recordings for “Zion Dub' emerged on Channel One in the late '70s and the list of musicians making up the Revolutionaries incarnation reads like the champions league of Jamaican session musicians of the time. Sly & Robbie formed the backbone of the band, joined by Chinna Smith, Tony Chin, Keith Sterling, Augustus Pablo, Winston Wright, Sticky, Skully & Tommy McCook. The result is an excellent, heavyweight RootsDub-Album that sounds like an early issue of the Roots Radics with Scientist at the Controls. All tracks begin with a toast from Jamaican-born, Brooklyn-raised DeeJay Mikey Jarrett. The comments on: "Darker Shade Of Black", "Ten To One" and "Hot Milk" etc. are all entertaining and lighten up the whole album.
DeeJay Mikey Jarrett is a reggae legend. As the A&R man for the well-known Channel One Studio, he gave artists like Lone Ranger and others the opportunity to record their first records there. His first own single "Ku Bly Klan', made in New York in 1974 by Lloyd Barnes for the legendary Bullwackies label, was a hit and now fetches very high prices on the collectors' market.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
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Five Star Review

Burning Spear: Original Living Dub Flight. 1

Hip Hip Hurray, what a happy day. Burning Spear, the "Master of Roots" is back. His last studio album, Jah is Real, was released in 2008. After that, things got pretty quiet about the “Master of Wailing” because he withdrew to his old age and “retired”. The 77-year-old has finally changed his mind and is touring again. Hopefully many more people will have the opportunity to experience a Burning Spear concert live. Most concerts I've seen with Burning Spear have been mystical events. Burning Spear and his virtuoso Burning Band have never disappointed me live.
Due to the joyful occasion, I have spent the last few days reading Burning Spears works once again - and for the Dubblog naturally prefers the “Living Dubs” – listen very carefully.
Burning Spear released his first self-produced Marcus' Children in Jamaica in 1978. Iceland released the LP entitled "Social Living" and was promptly hailed by many as a roots masterpiece. The album is still rightly considered one of the best reggae works from this era.
Shortly after the release of Marcus' Children, Winston Rodney released Living Dub Vol. 1", mixed by Silvan Morris, among the people. This original mix is ​​also what the 2003 release "Burning Spear: Original Living Dub Flight. 1“ (Nocturne), which can actually still be found on the streaming services. "Living Dub Volume 1” in its original version is undoubtedly Spear's Dub-Explosion. The riddims and grooves presented are the purest essence of hypnotic music from the Burning Spear brand. These incredible Dubs transcend the human spirit into the other dimension of musical experience. There they are, those immortal bass and drum rhythms, those echoes and reverbs, with Spear's vocal track fading in and out of the mix, and most importantly, that unique vibe that only Burning Spear can deliver. "(Original) Living Dub Volume 1” is definitely one of those albums that I would take with me to the desert island. Let yourself be enchanted and keep the Spear burning!

Quick note on the Barry O'Hare remixed version: The 1992s "Living Dub volume one' has a slightly different track list than the original mix and of all things the Rasta song 'Irie Nyah Keith' - my favorite song from the original album - which Spear previously sang in Studio One entitled 'Zion Higher' - is missing and replaced by 'Run Come Dub“ replaced. We also find an additional title on the release: “Hill Street Dub“. Ok, of course collectors also need this completely remixed album released by Heartbeat. O'Hare's interpretation is by no means bad, but sounds different due to its digital purity. That's why reggae purists tend to call it "Original Living Dub Vol. 1”.

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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Review

Sabab presents Revival Style

On Ireland, the green island in the Atlantic, lives a "Dubling” out Dublin named Elias Zaidan. As a producer, sound engineer and artist, he calls himself Sabab. The Arabic word sabab means "cause, initial spark, impulse". the inside Dublin-born half-Lebanese, half-Irish consequently draws inspiration from both cultures. Certainly Sabab could have produced beautiful Irish jigs or Lebanese dabkehs, both folk dances danced 'in a row'. Or if he had become a chef, he would certainly have prepared a sheep's stomach stuffed with sumac and the finest oriental ingredients. But we are wasting our precious time, because luckily Sabab has taken a completely different artistic direction. In addition to avant-garde, electronic, jazz and film music, the sound from Jamaica is very special Dub his great passion, of which he gives us a remarkable demonstration here. "Sabab presents Revival Style“ is his debut work for the Lion Charge label and the title of the album says it all, because already “Wild Style Dub' leads us in the right direction. The eight in Dubliner Gussie Edwards Studio convincingly show the talent of the hitherto unknown sound engineer, who played the old-schoolDub-Sound of the late 70s, early 80s skilfully captured on this nostalgic musical journey and transferred to the present. Sabab convincingly demonstrates his quality at the mixing desk and his very special preference for spacydubbig sounds. A rich bass, drums echoing from the deepest dungeon - like in Scientist's best "King Tubby's Sessions" times, hissing hi-hats and decelerated rhythms float through space and time. The psychedelic sounds created by reverberation, echo and tubbyesque sound loops sound wonderfully nostalgic, yet are stylishly furnished with a modern touch. Finally, the only question I have is whether Sabab recorded the album alone or with a band, which I assume is more the case with “Revival Style”. Unfortunately, there is no information about this in the credits, but that doesn't detract from the album overall.

Finally: A beautiful musical journey into the legendary late 1970s era of Jamaica, when flyers, steppers and rockers still set the tone on the island.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
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Five Star Review

Paul Fox: Dub B

Winchester UK based singer and producer Paul Fox is here at Dubblog a wrongly almost blank slate. The Roots, Reggae and Dub Artist has been releasing music under his own name since 1992 and has worked with many well-known artists and producers. The list of artists who have been in the studio with Paul Fox includes such illustrious names as: Nick Manasseh, Robert Tribulation, Michael Rose, Rod Taylor, Fullness, Dubheart, Jonah Dan, Brother Culture and Alpha & Omega, with whom Paul Fox also toured Europe in 2008. His sound was heavily influenced by Jah Shaka, Nick Manasseh, Jah Observer and Aba Shanti. He was so impressed by their music and vibes that in the late 1980s he began experimenting with a four-track recorder at home in private. It was with Julian Ryan, a friend and musician who introduced him to Jonah Dan, that he first tried his hand at reggae and Dub. Percussionist Jonah Dan had a small studio in west London and the three met regularly every week to record roots reggae and related Dubs from it. After releasing recordings together under the project name "Shades of Black" for a few years, they parted ways in the early 2000s and each went into business for himself by founding his own studio. In the meantime, more than 50 albums have been released on which Paul Fox appeared, be it as a producer, sound engineer or singer.

I haven't mentioned it yet, but I've been paying more attention to Paul Fox for a long time - also because of his immensely pleasant voice. I was all the more amazed that I was able to see the release of his two current albums "SameBlood"And"Dub B“ I literally overslept from last December. From everything I've heard from Paul Fox so far, "Dub Blood" can undoubtedly be counted among his best recordings. Paul's soft voice floats again and again through the room and evaporates in melodic, dubbig soundscapes. The sound is vaguely reminiscent of Jah Shaka, but also Mad Professor - so more English Dub par excellence. I don't want to mention every track explicitly, because each one has its own special appeal. I would just like to highlight my very personal favorite as Primus inter Pares. "Living in a Dub Zone", the counterpart to "Warzone Part Two Refugees" from the song album "Same Blood". Starting with the fine sound of an Arabic oud or Turkish saz and really rich binghi drums, the lyric leads us throughout the song: "Still wondering if all of these wars gonna cease - still wondering if I'm ever gonna live to see peace". and explosive sounds of war in the middle of the current situation in Eastern Europe, ie Ukraine. Of course, the theater of war could rather reflect the fatal situation in Syria, because arabesque sounds can be found at several points on the album. It doesn't matter, the song grabs me with full force every time.
I would like to mention one more thing, the attentive listener will also appreciate the wonderful binghi drumming on “Burning Dub' and 'Soon is the Dub“ not to be missed. In general, I really like the percussions on all the tracks on the album. "Dub Blood" takes a musical turning point in the middle of the album, because the rest of the tracks sound slightly symphonic from there.

Conclusion: It has been a long time since such a nice, up-to-date “RootsDub-Album". In my opinion the best album of 2022 so far.

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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Review

Ras Red I: Gweithredu Dub

Should someone tell me that you shouldn't be influenced by packaging. If there had been a comic (Wimmel) picture by Tony McDermott on the album, I would have noticed this oeuvre much earlier. Unfortunately, on the present album, only a "Monchhichi"-like being with very red eyes is emblazoned in front of a sound system. I was way too old for Monchhichis in the early 80s. Today I stumbled across this completely overlooked album again because of the Welsh word 'Gweithredu' (action). As you can easily see above, we are talking about Ras Red I: Gweithredu Dub. If the creature depicted is to stylize Ras Red I (read "Red Eye"), then he obviously consumed finest sativa landrace that gave his creativity a real kick-start. Russell Squire, that's the name of the multi-instrumentalist, producer and Dubmaster from Taunton, a town in the county of Somerset in south-west England. With "Gweithredu Dub“ he has put together a retrospective that can undoubtedly be seen as a homage to the heyday of reggae in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Ras Red I is no stranger to England and his Dub-Workshops are no longer a secret in the county of Somerset. He is also committed to the survival of the oldest language spoken on the island, Welsh (Cymru > English Wales).
The present album is a mixture of own compositions that were recorded almost alone and remixed and some Ras Red I favorites that were created with other artists in their own studio over the past four years. I really like "Swine", a reference to George Orwell's Animal Farm, by One Style MDV (MDV = Many Different Variations). One Style MDV is a band of African origins from London with over 30 years of British Reggae roots and always reminds me slightly of Misty in Roots. At least in terms of their output, they are very similar to Misty in Roots.

With his own Dub-Tracks and the Dub-Remixes by some guest artists, this album shows Ras Red I as a promising grassroots-Dub Artist. For the very relaxed mix, the master preferred to have a bit of an indica variation, because "Gweithredu Dub' instead of 'action' exudes a cosily warm laid back feeling. Exactly what makes a relaxed evening.

Rating: 4 out of 5.