Hey, what does eighties pop icon Robert Palmer have to do with reggae? you don't know? Here's the whole story:
Robert Palmer is well known (but perhaps forgotten now) for his performances in smart suits, with a band of wireless models in their instruments. But the singer, who died in 2003, was more than the dandy of the MTV generation. When Palmer conquered the charts in Germany with "Addicted to Love" and "Simply Irresistible", the cosmopolitan Brit was already looking back on a highly respectable discography that went far beyond Steam Hammer Pop.
Raised in the north of England as a teenager, Robert Palmer discovered his passion for American black music and played in a number of soul and R&B inspired bands before being signed by Chris Blackwell to his new label Island. After the debut "Sneaking Sally Through The Alley" recorded in New Orleans with the Meters as backing band, Palmer moved to New York and discovered reggae for himself: He named his album "Pressure Drop" (1975) after the Toots & The song Maytals, which he covered. After another move to the Bahamas, the album Double Fun was produced at Blackwell's Compass Studio in Nassau, including the classic Every Kinda People, later appropriately covered by Chaka Demus & Pliers. In those days, Palmer also frequented Lee "Scratch" Perry's Black Ark studio in Jamaica, hoping to tap into the spirit of the resident reggae genius. However, the session didn't go as hoped: the local Rastas enjoyed teasing the white singer, the Perry-produced mix "Best of Both Worlds" remained unreleased (including Dub), and in the end only the single B-side "Love Can Run Faster" was released. After this episode, Palmer set the course for the eighties and the chart highlights of his career with the albums "Secrets" and "Clues" as well as the disco-funk "Looking For Clues": rock guitars, Prince-inspired funk and finally The Power Station Chic musicians Tony Thompson and Bernard Edwards, and Duran Duran's John and Andy Taylor.
“But what would have happened if everything had gone smoothly at Black Ark Studio that day? If Palmer had stuck to Jamaica and its vibes and produced all his past and future hits in this legendary studio?" asks the Echo Beach press release and the label also gives an answer in the form of the album "Palmer in Dub« (Echo Beach).
Interesting musicians contributed to it: drummer Achim Färber (Automaton, Ben Lucas Boysen), sound artist Max Loderbauer (Ambiq, Moritz von Oswald Trio), bassist Zeitblom (Automaton, Pole) and Ingo Krauss (sound engineer, partial mix, formerly Connie Plank Studio), and DEADBEAT (Scott Monteith) and Doug Wimbish.
The result is – shall we say: interesting. Perry would certainly not have agreed with that. Apart from the fact that Robert Palmer's voice, which is overwhelmed with echoes, is only annoying, the rhythms didn't turn out really well either. They just sound monotonous and uninspired. The sound is dull and even the bass doesn't develop any dynamics. To make matters worse, some songs are repeated up to three times (in slightly different mixes) on the album. There is even a separate song from the song »Jonny & Mary« Remix album with 8 versions of the track. The crazy thing about it: It's more varied than »Palmer in Dub«. We here in dubblog love Echo Beach's work, but with »Palmer in Dub« our favorite label cannot convince us.