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Dub (Revolution Review

Dub Revolution, September 2004

Albums produced by Dennis Brown are a rarity. On "Dennis Brown Presents Prince Jammy" (Umoja / 20th Century Dub/ Blood And Fire / Indigo) there are two of them on one CD. Little is known that Dennis Brown was a producer at all. I don't know at all whether he produced the original recordings of the two albums himself, or just that Dub- Funded rework from borrowed tapes. That is a question that is not particularly relevant, given that the actual star of this Dub- The name of the albums is Prince Jammy, who at the time of recording, 1978-79, had become chief engineer at King Tubby's studio. Young and highly motivated, he gave his best and recorded a rather complex mix compared to Tubby's handwriting. The first album "Umoja Love & Unity" came out in 1978 on Brown's own DEB label and offers versions of Dennis Brown songs such as “The Half”, “Troubled World” or “Children of Israel” as well as recordings by other artists, such as Lennox Brown's recut of the Studio One classic “Frozen Soul "(" Love Won't Come Easy "), which opens the album very impressively. But while “Umoja” was not selling well, it was the second album on this CD "20th Century DEB-Wise" quite a success - which is hard to explain, as both albums are very similar in terms of style, mix and sound. Maybe the rhythms on DEB-Wise tend to be a bit better and the mix a bit more King Tubby-typical. Be that as it may: Both albums feature the superb drums of Sly Dunbar and the bass of Lloyd Parks and Robbie Shakespeare. They recorded nice tight rhythms that were remastered for the rerelease in London. Even if these two albums are not really compelling, they combine very beautiful (and rare) material, which unfolds its qualities more impressively with each concentrated listening. 

The other Dub-Highlight of the last two months comes from the Pressure Sounds label: "Dubbing with the Royals "(Pressure Sounds / Rough Trade). It presents 14 produced by Roy Cousins Dub-Tracks, an instrumental by Gladstone Anderson and four DJ versions. The starting point for researching the oeuvre of the Royals is their song “Pick Up the Pieces”, which has a central place on the album in the form of three versions. Especially the version mixed by Tubby and Lee Perry under the title "Llongo" is one Dub-Milestone. The track “Monkey Fashion” with I-Roy's voice-over is also a collaboration between the two of them - but in this case also remixed by Errol T.! The entire Who Is Who of those times Dub-Mixing Elite contributed to the recordings collected here: Prince Jammy, Scientist, Soljie Hamilton and Ernest Hookim; and it's really exciting to compare the pieces and those Dubs to be assigned to their creators. The four DJ versions of I-Roy and Prince Far I, which are loosely below the, provide very entertaining anchor points in the flow of the rhythms Dubs were mixed. Especially “Negusa Nagast” with Prince Far I, who opens the album, stands out. Far Is thunderous vocals, embedded in a sea of ​​echoes, sound like Jah's words from beyond, pitched down to a deep murmur and in perfect synchronicity with the sharp attack of the snarre.

A few years further towards dancehall lead us to one DubAlbum by Don Carlos, “Inna Dub Style "(Jamaican Recordings), with 14 Bunny Lee productions from 1979-80. Recorded in the Channel One studio, we can already hear the fat rhythms of Sly & Robbie and the Roots Radics. As usual from that time, you will find mainly reworks of classic rhythms like "Real Rock", "Queen Of The Ghetto", "I'm Just A Guy", My Conversation "or" Satta Massa Gana ", which undoubtedly are excellent foundation for a DubAlbum is. But unfortunately the unknown one goes Dub-Mixer (maybe Soljie, or Ernest Hookim?) Not equally inspired to work with every tune. So is z. B. "Conscious Rasta Dub"Over a moderately interesting Johnny Clarke rhythm really exciting, while" Booming Dub"On" I'm Just A Guy "can almost pass as a B-side version - which in this case is not so bad, because the rhythm is just great (which the Dub-Mixer probably thought too). All DubIt is crowned by Don Carlos' inimitable hooklines that have a lasting impact on the whole tune. Even if they have faded away, you inevitably keep singing them in your head and build your own version. On the other hand, one would like to have almost the entire vocal album here ...

"Liquid Bass" (Silver Camel), produced by Yeah Thomas, is a classic wind instrumental album that is strongly reminiscent of recordings by Roland Alphonso or Tommy McCook from the 60s - if the rhythms weren't completely digital. But as if he wanted to forget this flaw, Mr. Thomas only used old Studio One rhythms such as “Heavenless”, “Love Me Forever” or “Swing Easy” and with “Econium for Coxsone” then also showed the master his reference. Mafia & Fluxy, Sly & Robbie and the Roots Radics are responsible for the powerful new interpretations, while the brass solos were recorded by David Madden and Matthieu Bost. Their melodic variations always revolve around the original melodies of the rhythms - for which one cannot thank them enough, the original hooklines are among the most beautiful that Studio One has produced. But despite all the praise, the album also seems a bit carelessly "down-produced" in places - not to mention the catastrophic cover. Maybe Jah Thomas will decide one day Dub-Reworking. It could give the recordings the complexity they need.

The question what Jah wobblewho these days his official anthology "I Could Have Been A Contender" (Trojan / Roughtrade) has submitted to look in a reggae column is not unjustified. There are a few hints as to the reasons: First there is the name, which obviously refers to the reggae universe, then the record label is meaningful: Trojan and thirdly, Mr. Wobble is bassist and thus plays it for (classical! ) Reggae main instrument. If you now listen to his three-CD anthology in full, you will rarely come across real reggae offbeats. But what you can hear in abundance in return are fat basslines - which could have sprung directly from reggae - and massive dubgood atmosphere. John Wardle (as his mother called her boy) came as a member of Public Image Ltd. from punk to reggae, which greatly inspired his bass playing. After the end of punk, Wobble began to produce his own material, which is stylistically very disparate and alternates between punk, rock, funk, world music, ambient and reggae. But whichever influences and stylistic devices Wobble used, one constant pervades his entire work: the powerful bass lines around which all songs are built. CD 1 and CD 3 in particular offer impressive examples of this: while the former brings together pieces that are influenced by world music, some of which are extremely melodic, the latter includes extensive ambient excursions to Indian and Far Eastern regions. Both very much dubbig and close to the material that is also known from Bill Laswell (the two have also worked extensively together). CD 2 on the other hand offers harder, punk-compatible material. What is really fascinating about the anthology is that the artistic personality Jah Wobble is very present in all the pieces. Here is someone who has made "his" music all his life, beyond all financial interests and independent of current tastes (unfortunately an attitude that is unfortunately rather underrepresented in reggae).

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