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.

One Response to “The Icebreakers with the Diamonds: Planet Mars Dub"

It's always awesome Ras Vorbeiwhat you conjure up from your archive.
A very fine one DubAlbum by or with the Mighty Diamonds.
And you show me again and again how incomplete my knowledge about ReggaeMusic and especially in the Dub still is. And that, although I've heard almost nothing else since 1890 (it's probably a transposed number).
The name Karl Pitterson is also known to me from the albums you mentioned, but so far I haven't thought anything of it, since I used him as a DubMaster hadn't really got his head around yet.
Now this album is digitally remastered. That's fine! But a “vinyl remastering” or just a new edition of this beautiful one would be really cool DubAlbum. No matter what Lee Perry and Friends always had to complain about Island Records, it was a very powerful medium for reggae fans.

Otherwise it was and is nice to know that this album exists.

So long ………………… .. lemmi

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