When in 2019 a new album with the martial title "Sly & Robbie vs. Roots Radics: The Final Battle“Was announced, the expectation was high: Should the more or less aged, male vocalist who's who of the golden reggae era be captured again on freshly recorded riddims, which are 50/50 from Sly & Robbie and the Roots Radics. For this, producer Hernan Sforzini gathered pretty much everyone who could still stand in front of a microphone in 2019; the potential for a monumental album was definitely there. But as it is with great expectations: They are seldom met. In this case mediocre vocal performances reproduced clichéd texts that rarely go beyond the wisdom of sayings. But that's only half the drama, because there is also Sforzini's exuberant production according to the motto "more is more": here a few keys, there still absolutely brass samples and above all more percussion, percussion, percussion! There is hardly any room to breathe in the middle mixdown - this is probably the album's biggest flaw, as you can see on the track "This Morning" by Michael Rose:
Two years and a few lockdowns later, however, we should no longer be concerned, because the ones that have just appeared apply Dub-Counterpart to discuss: "Sly & Robbie vs. Roots Radics: The Dub Battle“ (Dubshot Records) keeps what the vocal album promised. Here, too, a Who's Who is represented, albeit that of the golden one Dub-Era: King Jammy, Scientist, Bunny "Striker" Lee, Mad Professor, Dennis Bovell and Lee Scratch Perry rigorously edit the tracks, clear them out properly and ensure that those buried are resuscitated. This is where the miracle of the Dubs celebrates - which is very good in "Dub Morning, "the Scientist-edited track of the Michael Rose title above:
The comparison shows: The scientist has done a great job and thrown out everything that was Dub-Vibe is not serving. The essence remains: A killer bassline that - accompanied by sometimes exploding one drop beats - makes its way through echo and reverb. Wonderful ... Scientist can still do it, and his colleagues are not much inferior to him: Every track wins in the Dub- Enormous revision; the comparison with the vocal versions is as illuminating as possible and you can hear producer Hernan Sforzini, who is here as Don Camel, also for three Dubs is responsible, congratulations on the consistently successful release.
I don't quite understand why there are two additional tracks by King Tubby from the early 80s on the release. They have absolutely nothing to do with the original vocal album and in their simplicity, devoid of any dramaturgy, are completely untypical for Tubby. The motto “more is more” does not seem to be completely off the table for producer Sforzini.
Ultimately, it should be noted that we are in a phase in which we have to say goodbye to many of the greats of the genre - the last few months have shown this painfully. Also “Sly & Robbie vs. Roots Radics: The Dub Battle “reminds us of this: Contributors like Bunny Lee, Toots Hibbert, Lee Perry are no longer. Style Scott is no longer either, but as a Roots Radics veteran it should have been there. A generation change is in progress, which it feels like the next generation is missing. But who would come close to a borderline genius Lee "Scratch" Perry ...