DUB FROM CREATION
ON U SOUND / BEAT RECORDS BRC89
ON U SOUND / BEAT RECORDS BRC90
Creation Rebel's first album "Dub from Creation" was released in March of 1978. Originally a studio outfit known as the Arabs utilised by the mighty Prince Far I for rhythms, the band effectively provided the young Adrian Sherwood with the sonic equivalent of playdoh. Now available for the first time since its original appearance with the addition of two Far I tracks ‘Frontline Speech’ and its version both on the rhythm of the album’s opener and title track. Four of the other tracks were dubbed from Eric ‘Fish’ Clarke’s ‘A Love that Grows’ album as playgrounds for studio efx especially the dub staples of echo and reverb. On 1979’s much tougher outing ‘Rebel Vibrations’ Fish was replaced by the imported Style Scott, preceding "Starship Africa" by over a year both sets were instrumental dub affairs and can now be appreciated as largely experimental in their approach as breeding grounds for what was to follow. Of the six bonus tracks Dr.Pablo’s melodica led ‘Joyful Noise’ and ‘Creation Fever’ stand clear as the rest are mainly lightweight vocals. For committed On U devotees only.
The sound of Dubphonic is already implanted in the sub-conscious of many via the use of their dreamily insistent remix of G-Stone’s ‘Orozco’ on the cult TV show ‘Six Feet Under’, its included on this set. A further triumph was their handling of Linval Thompson’s ‘Jah Jah is a Guiding Star’ on a Blood & Fire remix compilation for Echo Beach. Following their touring support of Audio Active the French trio of Stefane Goldman, Sylvain Mosca and Alexis Maura a.k.a. Alexkid are back courtesy of the irrepressible dub adventurers at Hammerbass, pioneers of the Dub Federation for All. If the dedicated mission of Dubphonic is to achieve the sonic equivalent of a warm glow then they are already there, but by the time we get to ‘Djibouti Love Affair’ and the gorgeous stabs of Christian Lechevretel multi-tacked trumpet the effect is getting almost physical. Quite the most enervating music I have come across in a long time, without any effort, should come with some king of warning about driving or machinery.
METEOSOUND METEO 011 12" VINYL
Shitkatapult´s inbuilt dub expert wanders across the corridor again to the offices of Daniel Peter’s Meteosound. Lars Fenin might be driven by dub but thankfully he’s also constrained by his own awareness of the tekno excesses that can make many of his European contemporaries now sound old-fashioned by comparison. Following on from his well-received ‘Driven EP’ he again wisely curbs any expansionist tendencies by holding down the tunes within an extended play vinyl format with six tracks in the style of a jump-up edition of Mark and Moritz around the corner at Rhythm & Sound. Fenin´s first cooperation on record with a reggae singer comes with Gorbi on ‘No C.I.A.’, the uptempo opener ‘3 Snares’ threatens to herald a classic 70s roots tune but the groove comes quick and stays, rootical electronic dub comes from ‘Half a Song’ and ‘Warning’ and the only slip is on ‘Shake’ that relies on a mid tempo techhouse shuffle.
BOB MARLEY & THE WAILERS
GROOVING KINGSTON 12 – THE JAD MASTERS 1970 - 1972
UNIVERSAL ISLAND 602498164723
The first in a promised epic series in the pre-Island history of reggae’ s most influential standard bearers, achievable via a deal between Danny Sims’ JAD imprint and the Universal owned Island. All the music has appeared on JAD over the past few years but suffered from poor or non-existent UK distribution. The lavishly presented long-book format contains 3 CDs, the first features early Tuff Gong output including a proto-version of ‘Lively Up Yourself’, ‘Concrete Jungle’, ‘Screw Face’, ‘Trenchtown Rock’ and U Roy’s DJ cut ‘Kingston 12 Shuffle’, the second has material from London sessions including the long-lost ‘Music Gonna Teach’ and the third disc has a retread of the Perry sessions that we know and love. The importance of the set is that its complier, Wailers and Perry expert Jeremy Collingwood, reworks the myth of Marley portraying a young, hip but hardworking musician focused on his eventual success and mainly influenced by the contemporary sweet soul and funk providing the soundtrack for the growth of black consciousness. Musically, apart from the aforementioned unreleased track, amongst the sixty nine tunes here there are twenty three versions which is a seriously brave move for this opening set of the series and should be applauded.
SLY & ROBBIE
RIDDIM – THE BEST OF SLY & ROBBIE IN DUB 1978 TO 1985
TROJAN TJDDD162 2XCD
Although the title may overreach its claim in stretching the ‘best of’ definition through to 1985 this is still a great introduction to Jamaica’s most feted drum and bass due. The Taxi production unit they created in early 80s may have been responsible for those metronomic rhythms literally churned out for the first part of the decade but many of the productions collected here prove that Sly and Robbie had done it the hard way in sessions run by the likes of Jah Thomas, Bunny Lee and Linval Thompson. As members of the groundbreaking Revolutionaries, creators of the militant Rockers sound and relaxing into the production line that was the Aggrovators, Sly’s explosive style and Robbie’s sinuously melodic basslines revivified old rock steady rhythms and created endless new classic combinations. Fully expecting boredom to set in well before halfway in this massive two CD set the affair turned out to be a delight, especially the snatches of Gregory Isaac’s vocals in selections from his great ‘Slum Dub’ set and the intros to versions produced by Nkrumah ‘Jah’ Thomas. Head for ‘Sly & Robbie: The Kings of Dub’ a take on ‘Death in the Arena’ and ‘Lambsbread’ a version to John Holt’s ‘My Heart is Gone’ but save all admiration for the sublime Taxi dub to Dennis Brown’s ‘Revolution Part 2’ on which S&R replace brass with a heavenly peal of steel pans.
LINVAL THOMPSON AND FRIENDS
WHIP THEM KING TUBBY!
According to Linval Thompson all the songs and dubs on this collection were blessed by mind and fingers of the master, and certainly on listening to the dubs here that claim seems to hold true as Tubby takes a robustly classic course in application of effects and tweaks the hi-pass filter in that deadly subtle way of his. Remarkable that this material has remained hidden away until now as there’s a stylin’ version of Pablo’s ‘Rockers Dub’ voiced by Thompson as ‘Whe the Wicked’ and re-tweaked by Tubbs in a masterly restrained fashion with percussion claiming all the action plus a great opener by Horace Andy ‘Wise Man’ and a light jazzy take of ‘King Tubby Meets Rockers Uptown’ on the albums title. Other fine vocal contributions come from the late Jacob Miller and the still great Johnny Clarke. Thompson’s rep as artist and producer moves up a notch or two with this debut of new UK imprint Auralux, a collaboration between eminent Scratch scholar Dave Katz and Dave Hill of the culturally sound dance label Nuphonic.
DUB FROM THE SECRET VAULTS
In his ten years or so in the guise of Twilight Circus (Sound System) Ryan Moore has been so prolific that there was always bound to be tunes at the end of quarter inch tapes, on cassettes at the back of drawers, hidden behind the mixing desk etc. and here they are into’d by new friend Big Youth at the album’s opening. The tracks vary from r’n’b styled noodling, ‘East of Memphis’ to a 80s Laswell tribute ‘Electric Africa’, from a fully fledged dubout that mysteriously escaped a release ‘One Drop’ and right through to a cool too-short binghi-sleaze groove ‘Lift Off’. So Ryan becomes a sort of dubstyle version of Money Mark or Tommy Guerrero – no bad thing!
Although the title may sound pretentious we are actually dealing with revolutionary music of the highest order consigned to what is still regarded by many as a sub-genre of a kind of subordinate provincial r’n’b. This essential double CD that has a trio of classic early Upsetter dub albums – the original 1973 JA version of Cloak & Dagger, the legendary collaboration between Perry and Tubby Black Board Jungle (the Auralux reissue is reviewed elsewhere) and the largely ignored 1975 set Revolution Dub, all cleaned up and with bonus tracks. Cloak and Dagger starts with the much sampled intro "Greetings Music Lovers …..", and moves into spooky horns instrumentals and drum and bass dubs and the more famous Dillinger’s deejay piece ‘Dub Organiser’. Bonus tracks are sourced from an impossibly rare 1974 7" 33rpm vinyl and there are instrumental and dub versions of Perry at his rare groove best on the ‘Jungle Lion’ rhythm. Revolution Dub never came out in Jamaica but appeared in the UK on the Cactus label and was recently bootlegged out of France. Moodily quirky describes the atmosphere as Perry takes liberties with his own material that other dare not touch - dialogue from the seventies British sitcom Doctor In The House being the most bizarre example as well as selections from Perry’s own repertoire of bodily functions. As long as Trojan continue to issue material of this quality then we can accept even more reissues of ‘Long Shot Kick the Bucket’!
SESSIONS SESHDCD218 2xCD
Drive right past the generic series titling to reach this selection from Firehouse in Jamaica and Fashion in London, two foundation labels of modern reggae, and as picks come from the rarely-played Ian McCann there’s a quality guarantee. The Firehouse sits nicely alongside the Pressure Sounds overview of Tubby’s digital label from a couple of years ago, and the Fashion tribute is overdue as intimated in this column a few months ago. The ‘Tempo’ rhythm dominates the JA half with cuts from Redrose’s original , King Evarald, the mutated strain of ‘Crank Angle Pt.2’ via King Asha and King Kong’s strictly anthropological ‘Aids’. But other killers jostle to the fore, notably Little John staking a claim on Junior Byles’ ‘Fade Away’ and the return of King Evarald murdering Bacharach & David on the sound system paean ‘Kill Ole Pan’. Plenty intros from the late MC Fuzzy Jones and Redrose weighs in again at the close on the ‘Joe Frazier’ rhythm with tribute to the Tubbsmeister on ‘Dub Organiser’. The UK end at Fashion’s A-Class studio holds up well against such tough opposition, but with Cutty Ranks’ ‘The Stopper’ and ‘The Cutter’ book ending the selection it’s a head start. In there too is the ex-Jah Walton reverting to his original identity as Joseph Cotton with his yard-style gossip chat ‘No Touch the Style’ and the newly arrived in London Junior Delgado voicing ‘We A Blood’ generating x amount of versions in turn.
STUDIO ONE DUB
SOUL JAZZ RECORDS SJRCD/LP89
The death of a major figure in music usually signals the start of a distasteful wave of cash-in reissues, so we have been fortunate over the past few years that Clement Dodd presided over excellent Studio One retrospective programmes with Heartbeat in the USA and lately Soul Jazz in the UK. Fitting then that the latest in the Soul Jazz series is this dub set as many of the rhythms showcased here have proved so durable that they continue to be versioned twenty five years after their creation, ‘Pretty Version’ with dubbed vocals running through the mix from the Heptones’ ‘Pretty Looks’, put a name at last to ‘Running Dub’ from Delroy Wilson’s ‘Run Run’ and perhaps the most revisited rhythm of recent times ‘Creation Version’ derived from Dawn Penn’s ‘No, No, No’. Interviews Mr.Dodd and engineer Sylvan Morris who, along with Syd Bucknor, was responsible for engineering duties on the Brentford Road desk reveals only a few tantalising secrets of the recording sessions will always be best remembered by the sounds rather than the processes employed. Another vital chapter in this excellent series.