It's not easy for a One Riddim album: There are better ones out there – such as Ijahman Levi's "On-Track“, whose riddim is abysmal, but Ijahman's voice and songwriting easily make up for this shortcoming. Or about Seeed's "Doctor's Darling"-Riddim, who suffers from more or less crooked vocals and the notorious VP mastering, but the riddim is killer: © Roots Radics, re-recorded with mighty pressure by Seeed. Then of course there are the worse ones - you only have to listen to them through VP's “Riddim Driven” catalogue. As always, exceptions confirm the rule, see above.
If then such a riddim album exclusively with instrumentals or Dubs is equipped, the difference between good and bad becomes even clearer. Mickey Dread's 1982'sJungle signal"-Theme for the British TV documentary "Deep roots music' - immortalized in several majestic versions on the album of the same name - is arguably one of the best releases of its kind (although, admittedly, there are others). Dubversions can be heard).
As a negative counterweight I would like to mention Adrian Donsome Hanson's "Freedom Sound Riddim (Dub mixing)". The pale, monotonously flat riddim just doesn't cut it – even if Mr. Hanson thinks it's worth a 14 track album. Ultimately, the secret of its success has to be a rich, catchy riddim that offers new insights layer after layer – on the aforementioned “Junge Signal” this works splendidly; then you don't even need big ones Dub-Effects.
So how's Seanie doing T/Aldubb/Rob Smiths' new "Punky Reggae Party (Remixes)"-Release (Echo Beach)? Bob Marley's original version will probably be hard to top: a killer riddim with a lot of drive behind it. Interestingly, a completely atypical-sounding Lee Perry production for which Island Records is more likely to be responsible - especially since the track was released there as the B-side of the "Jamming" 7″ and 12″. LSP's original version may have sounded very different:
But back to the new material, to the re-recording with Seanie T on the mic. First heard on Lee Grove's "Dance A Dub"-Album as a brisk dance groove with more than convincing vocals, followed by one more in keeping with the Island Records original Dubversion on the "Dub for Fashion 1"-Samplers. The latter comes from Aldubb, who now presents them in vocal, extended, riddim-instrumental and whatever versions. You can't kill a good riddim, especially when you're like Aldubb remains relatively close to the original. Not even the notorious, monotonous arrangements by Rob Smith, who again uses the same sounds in his versions, manage to do that. Then there's another one as compensation Dub-Mix by Umberto Echo, who by far has the most beautiful sound from Aldubb's recording tickles out:
Whether the "Punky Reggae Party" remixes are about Aldubb vs. Rob Smith, in other words: it's a one or two riddim album, let the listener decide. I stick to a clear 1-0 for Aldubb's Riddim; but the winner's trophy goes to Umberto Echo.