DUB INFLUENCE VOL 12 – EARL ZINGER

zingerrrr

For Volume 12 of Dub Influence we are honoured to have a chart from a man who needs no introduction whatsoever… but for tradition’s sake I’ll do one anyway. Arriving on the No. 38 bus from the faraway land of the great bassline hunters (Stoke Newington), this man’s search for the heaviest bassline in the world is legendary and everlasting… that’s right, it’s the Chief of the Red Egyptians, the Diabolical Liberty Taker… Doug Caramouce aka William Adamson aka Rob G aka Earl Zingerrrrrrrr!

And if you haven’t heard the Diabolical Liberties, where have you been???? https://thediabolicalliberties.bandcamp.com/releases

So without further ado, time to hand over to the man himself, take it away Mr Zinger….

Random thoughts and choices for a VERSION world

I’m starting with Animal Spacier’ by The Slits and Dennis Bovell. It was the kind of music I would be under the duvet listening to on a John Peel show, transmitting in the late 70s – desperately wanting to live in the other world that was being played to me in 3 minute segments.

I love the idea of VERSION being about Dub’s influence, we all know dubbing is a must and it’s tentacles are all over. Dobie has already spun Bauhaus and ‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead’, and that time period of late 70s into early 80’s experimentation is where some of my most potent influences lurk. Where dub was an essential tool.

So I have to reach for ON U Sound now. I suspect I could stay here and go no further. But due to Mr Jackson’s digging and tremendous interview with Mr Sherwood a year or two ago – On U is most definitely on. As I’ve just bought the vinyl (with 4 poster incentive) the next choice is The Missing Brazilians – ‘Warzone’ LP.

The sounds, little synth lines, mad elephant roaring bass distortions, and off key voices from Shara Nelson and Little Annie. I may have to use the adjective corking. There, I’ve done it. And while I’m at it I’ve got to throw in The Mothmen – ‘Afghan Farmer Driving Cattle’ – if not just for the title then the cow bells.

Now carrying on off piste to ‘Futurivel’ – Gilberto Gil. I may be wrong and quite frequently am. But I think this is when he was living in London and away from the Brazilian military dictatorship in 1969. So I like to think that he had bucked up upon Duke Vin or a respectable Jamaican sound man who had introduced him to some heavyweight sound man stringing up their sound. He helped to wire up the generator from a London street light. Spent the night deep in some early dubs then called in the morning on his boys. They came out in dressing gowns munching bits of toast and made this. If it didn’t happen like that it should of and that’s what matters. A shout to Mr Kruder for introducing this.

From Brazilian influenced late 60’s Dubwise – to early 80s vintage it get’s no better – well of course it does but not much.

Time for Wackies – speaking of 7s – I found Wayne Jarrett ‘Come Let’s Go’ in the same room I was telling you about earlier.

But that’s a digression and merely a way to introduce the point which is to nominate the dub of Leroy Sibbles – ‘Now Your Gone’The  Soul Syndicate – ‘Now You’re Gone’ (Version). Oh man – it’s the bottles of course all the way through – Sky Juice or Skully or whoever it is playing them – tinking them around, clinking bottles over such a heavy tune –  that’s a proper Ranking dub. Right time right place and right off to give the bottles back at the end of the session and get a little change back. Double bubble, works every time.

Now really I would like to be mentioning ‘Lot’s Wife’ – Prince Alla or any other examples of weighty steppers version to throw kung fu shapes at, however that would insinuate I was with Spry and Demus, Gil and the other North London heavyweights at Shaka in New Cross in the early 80s.

But really I was listening to ‘You Bring The Sun Out’ (Version of course – B side) by Janet Kay round Susan Bate’s house. Also I suppose Rocker’s Revenge ‘Walking On Sunshine’ would have been there – it had Jazz Funk dub on the B side (my memory may be playing tricks here). Which leads into soul boy Version territory. Leading to Padlock / Gwen Guthrie – ‘Seventh Heaven’ (Larry Levan mix)  a Lister favourite.

Quickly going back towards Jazz, i’ll draw for Sun Ra’s ‘Cluster Of Galaxies’.

Industrial to Lovers. It’s all about the discombobulation. So big up your huge and burgeoning status Jim Lister – a night to celebrate the version in all it’s styles is such a good idea. So turn it up. When’s the compilation?

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DUB INFLUENCE VOL 11 – DADDY SPRY

Spry

After a brief hiatus, Dub Influence returns in fine style! For Volume 11 we are treated to a selection from Mr Adé Egun Crispin Robinson aka Daddy Spry. Master percussionist and all round lovely gentleman. I first became aware of Spry back in the Galliano days of the early 90s. A Joyful Noise Unto The Creator. And I’ve seen him play with many great artists since then, including Jerry Dammers’ epic Spatial AKA Orchestra, and in recent years leading the mighty percussion section at the re-envisioning of John Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme’ concerts. Truly a sight to behold… hardcore rhythm & sound! Right, time to hand over to the man himself…

Thanks Jim for inviting me to present a selection here. So many classics that I would have drawn for have already gone! Special mentions to Nat Birchall for his choice selection of towering monuments of Jamaican music (Zion Gate, Prophecy, Vampire, Combination Drifter), Jim Lister (Torch of Freedom – BIG tune that I’d forgotten about – and Beaming), Cedric Woo (Chant Away – I participated in Carlton Coffee’s initiation ceremony to Ifa in Cuba a couple of years ago, the closing of the circle, JA roots to Yoruba spirituality, Àse), Bradder’s (Blackboard Jungle – the sample I brought to Earl Zinger for the 1st Galliano LP).

Dub can be musically sophisticated and complex, or it can be spare and raw, little more than a hypnotic driving drum and bass loop that uses Time as its instrument to draw you in and float you away. Dub at its finest has the capacity to transport you far from the here and now and into heavenly time and space, a reaching for Spirit, mystery and the unknowable juju of sound. Àse.

Most of this selection are tunes from my schooldays and early exposure to roots and dub music. In those days Daddy Kools would sell old 7” pre for a mere 60p each or three for £1.50. Now the world is waking up to the importance of this music and original pressings are priced accordingly. Demus showed me an ebay listing of Vampire 12” on Black Art for $3000+. To my mind even that insane price is cheap. European artworks are valued at millions of pounds – why shouldn’t the original pressings of Jamaican music be valued accordingly? These are priceless limited edition cultural artefacts. Why shouldn’t we value the Upsetter like we value Picasso? We need to move beyond the colonial imagination and recalibrate how we think about and value art and culture. There is still much work to be done in that regard. Àse.

1. Ras Michael and the Sons of Negus – ‘Black Vibes’ (Trojan, 1982)

This was on a tape that an older dread at school gave me as a lickle yout, one of my first forays into mystic roots. Black vibes and meditation…

2. Scientist – ‘Third Generation’ (KG Imperial, 1981)

From the LP ‘First, Second and Third Generation of Dub’. Tubby, Jammy and Scientist all going at it. This was on one of the first tapes I ever recorded off Rodigan’s Saturday night Capital Radio show. You could hear he was literally dancing round the studio with excitement. We both still had hair at the time…

3. Michael Prophet – ‘Gates of Zion’ (Shaka Dubplate, 1979)

This is such a monumental piece of music that only hyperbole and lyrics will suffice to describe it: The Supreme I-preme Shaka dub! Foot a go fling! Cane a go lick floor! The Shaka bus to heaven has arrived. Don’t be late and catch dis ya one. Use sparingly. Play loud. Prolonged use may cause mystical visions. As YouTuber B-Matic says about his upload: “Its on the verboten list of ‘dubs simply too good for anyone to listen to anymore’…Sirens on this tune weigh in at a hefty 9.2 on the Official Shaka Siren Metric, the highest score ever recorded on YouTube – almost breaking our measuring equipment…” Yes B

4. Dr Alimantado – ‘Still Alive’ (Greensleeves, 1979)

DJ cut to his own vocal, Born for a Purpose. Storming riddim, near perfect dubwise, and a lesson for all DJs in how to riff off the snippets of vocal present in the dub. Watch for the purple patch at 2.00 peaking to a glimpse of transcendence at 2.10. Sheer class.

5. Ranking Joe – ‘Tribute to John Lennon’ (Tad’s Record, 1981)

Special request to man like Demus. I always loved the dutty bass skanking DJ sound that emerged post-roots and pre digi reggae. Most of my early gigs were seeing artists like Jah Thomas, Ranking Dread, Lone Ranger, Prince Hammer, Ranking Toyan and Little John in places like the old Dingwalls and various halls in Willesden, Harlesden and elsewhere. Ranking Joe here taking a break from his more familiar slackness lyrics to big up the recently shot John Lennon. Big and bouncy.

6. Prince Far I – ‘Suru-Lere Dub’ (Front Line Records, 1979)

I was never particularly a big fan of Prince Far I, but this simple, hazy track always got me. A schooldays favourite.

7. Scientist and Desi Roots – ‘Jeremiah’s Special’ (Hawkeye, 1982)

Another great dub from my teenage years. The killer cut is on the Scientist vs Crucial Bunny LP “Dub Duel” but I can’t find an isolated upload of it. Here’s the vocal cut and dub but look for the full album upload of Dub Duel and check that version for the fullness.

8. Augustus Pablo – ‘Rockers Meet King Tubby Inna Firehouse’ (Shanachie, 1980)

Pablo records were the Holy Grail for us growing up and discovering this music. Finding an original Rockers 7” in Record and Tape Exchange would always make your day. Pablo forged such a singular sound and musical voice that he needs no introduction here. One of many cuts I could have chosen, I always loved this.

9. Yabby You – ‘Beware Dub’ (Prophets, 1976)

Thunderous nyahbingi dub cut to the truly biblical “Conquering Lion” riddim. Another musical genius with a singular vision.

10. Sylford Walker – ‘Eternal Day / Dub Universal’ (South East Music, 1975)

Simply amazing tune and one of my all-time top ten.

11. Harry Mudie meet King Tubby – ‘Full Dose of Dub’ (Moodisc Records, 1976)

And lastly, while looking for a different Harry Mudie tune for this list I stumbled across this gem, never heard it before. Funky as hell and certainly fits the brief of “dub and dub influenced music.” God bless the internet. See you on the dancefloor.

DUB INFLUENCE VOL 10 – JAYE WARD

jaye ward

Those who, like myself, used to buy records in Koobla and Reckless on Berwick Street in the 00s will know that Jaye Ward knows a thing or two about music. Jaye sorted me out with many a hard-to-find US house 12″, for which I am forever indebted. One of my favourite 12’s of all time in fact… ‘Sounds Like Ultra’ by Alan Smithee in Blue Blackness (who was Alan Smithee anyway??? I never did find out). That tune will always have very special memories for me… reminding me of my first trip to New York and my first visit to what is probably the best club I’ve ever been to… Shelter.  So thank you Jaye for all the tunes and thank you for a wicked Dub Influence chart! Over to you…

Jim has invited me to suggest 5 dub and dub inspired records. 5?! That’s incredibly difficult. I’m a Hackney born and bred music lover, occasional player of tunes to disinterested punters and cultural observer. The echo chamber has soundtracked my life from word go. It was and is everywhere. It permeates the air that I’ve breathed. I could do you 50 or even maybe 500 dub influenced records but I reckon dub is in everything. The feral secondary school I went to in ’79 was deep in it. School dances hosted by mighty sounds like Saxon, Unity and Sir Biggs. Friday night youth club cinema and being exposed to Babylon, Rockers and Countryman while eating crisps and drinking squash… even though I got into punk and new wave dub was still there… A unifying sonic palette of echo drawing us all together in the dance… Scientist, Tubbys, Bovell, Prelude Records, Lee Perry, Rhythm & Sound, Deepchord, Weatherall, Mad Professor, Manasseh, Dub Arachnoid Trim, Shaka and even The Loft… so so so many… So here’s a random five from all corners of the dancefloor..

1. The Pop Group – ‘3:38’ (Radar Records, 1979)

Squats, punks, Bristol, Blackbeard Bovell, backwards wonky shouty jazz bizniz, Bside beauty..

2. The Revolutionaries – ‘Kunta Kinte’ (Channel One, 1976)

All time Channel One steppa! A pre Geordi La Forge inspired roots monster and school dance rewind. Deerstalker hat Burberry Mac Shaka classic. So many versions. From organic spacial foot forward action to digi dub dreads at the controls. A fave forever x

3. Mato – ‘Tribe’ (Special Dub Version) (Wave Music, 1996)

Japan is ALL about the dub. Francois Kervorkian is ALL about the dub. Sweeps you up in nyabinghi house looseness and an all encompassing swirl of love. One for the heads down lights off middle of the dancefloor crew.

4. Jean Adebambo – ‘Paradise’ (Santic Records, 1981)

Lovers Rock classic. That sweet invention for the ladies and those wind and grind sessions was born out of studio sessions and the mixing desk. An all time classic song treated with extra version skills. Another favourite in my house.

5. Sugar Minott – ‘International Herb’ (Dougie’s, 1983)

Basic Channel. We all love Basic Channel don’t we? Rhythm & Sound “I’m a Queeeen and I sit on my own throne!!” Dub to the extreme. Washes of reverb and echo. Abstract and beautiful. These German scientists were responsible for bringing the NYC dub label Wackies out into the global daylight. A label that was plying its trade for the longest time with artists famous and not so famous… This tune though!! dark NYC shabeens and smoke filled rooms. Deep jazz rootical dub vibrations at its finest (and I made the video too).

DUB INFLUENCE VOL 9 – ROSS ALLEN

Ross Social Picture

Following last week’s wonderful selections from Paul Bradshaw, Dub Influence Vol 9 brings us another great writer and all round music nut, Mr Ross Allen. If you’re not a subscriber to Ross’ weekly(ish) newsletter, you’re missing out. Stream of consciousness, from the heart and always very funny ramblings from the musical front line! Email ross.allen@me.com to sign up.

I think I first became aware of Ross when he used to write for Straight No Chaser in the mid 90s, and not long after I became a fan of his radio shows, when he used to sit in for Gilles Peterson on Weds nights on Radio 1… I’ll never forget the show Ross did a couple of days after Sept 11 2001. A very strange time to say the least. Gilles must have been away, cos Ross filled in and played a much needed 2 hours of soul lifting music. He started the show with 69’s ‘Desire’ (the first time i’d ever heard it) which seemed to sum up the very weird, confusing time we were in. I remember Donny Hathaway’s ‘Love Love Love’ getting played too. A great bit of radio.

Since then, I’ve always listened to Ross’ shows, from his brilliant and much missed week night show on GLR/BBC London 94.9, to his Ministry of Sound show, and now his Mi-Soul ‘Meltdown’ extravaganza. What I love about Ross is his genuine love and passion for the music (and the nightlife that goes with it), whilst never taking things too seriously, and having a laugh at all times. I can relate to that! Anyway, enough chat from me, time to hand over to South London’s finest, Mr Destination Out, Ross Allen.

VERSION MELTDOWN – THE SOUTH LONDON CHART

1. Riuichi Sakamoto – ‘Riot In Lagos’ (Alfa 12”, 1980)
What can I say ? This is probably my favourite ever piece of music. Made by two of the most amazing musical pioneers. The one mentioned in the title, ex of Yellow Magic Orchestra and all manner of forward thinking musical projects, the other a UK legend who has now become a good friend, the one and only ‘uncle’ Dennis Bovell.
I have met and spoken to both of them about this track. I was going to license it for the first ever release on Island Blue (my old label) but the original owners Japan’s Alfa Recordings wanted 20K to re-license it back in the late 90’s – Shame as I had Carl Craig and Coil (Ryuichi’s idea) lined up to remix it. Anyway, according to Dennis it was made in about an hour in his, as yet, unused studio that Ryuichi insisted on using even before Dennis had !! All you need is the mind of these two, a Prophet 5 keyboard and some delays to make the most insane electro record ever. I first heard Tim Westwood play it on LWR way back when. I originally thought it was on the ‘Good To Go’ OST (which I bought and realised it wasn’t – that happened a lot in the old days). Then Colin Dale on a pre legal Kiss let the name out, it was soon mine and I have never stopped playing it and marvelling at it’s insanity.
2. Natty Burry – ‘Silk, Satin, Velvet & Wool’ (Uprising 7”, 197?)
A recent addition to the collection but a tune which blew my head off. According to Demus, who was there when I got it, it is a Shaka staple from way back when. To me it is the kind of record that I would wind up reggae shop owners looking for by asking if they had any ‘mad dubs’ – they would always look at me with a bemused look and a frown ‘mad dub???’ After some embarrassed explaining and dropping a few artists names, I might get near to what I wanted but often times not. I have never really known what I am talking about with reggae (though Lloyd Bradley’s ‘Bass Culture’ did give me a chronology) – it just seems, much like all digging, that it is a bottomless pit, and one I am less au fait with. Still you dig in for stuff like this. A classic loping, funky groove on the bottom end, a sweet vocal and THAT moog adding extra standout-ness.
3. Leftside – ‘Gorilla Foot’ (Ganja – download, 2013)
Relatively new and not likely to get played at the VERSION night as it’s a digital only release. Leftside aka Dr Evil has been one of my favourite JA MC’s over the last ten years. I had a phase, a long one, of going to Dub Vendor looking for ‘mad bashment’ – madness in music is obviously one of my key components – and it is. I want my records to freak me out (or have a soul, a funk or all three). I loved all the off key rhythms that were coming out just before they stopped pressing 7”s en masse in JA. From South Rakkas Crew, Jazwad, Dave Kelly and a slew of others, Esco and Leftside were in there, making freaky beats with humour and huge potential to rock the party. I’m not sure what Esco is doing but Leftside is still at it, one time member of Major Lazer (when it was good – until Switch left) and now making silly, fun, party music with his own rhythms. ‘Gorilla Foot’ is a dance floor rocker with lyrics about girls who have fat feet. It’s fun and funky in a modern JA style. Ganja is his take on the O.T. Genasis YouTube smash ‘Coco’ (you need to see that video for pure modern hip hop ridiculousness https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vYnas6q3Sg.) Ganja is Leftside’s version https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ZXGkXBYO-4equally as silly) – you gotta have laugh with all this music lark haven’t you ?
4. J. Clark (Johnny Clarke) – ‘Babylon’ (Cha Cha 12”, 1980)
Right, back to serious things (or should that be tings ?). This is serious. A track from my favourite bit of celluloid. The classic ‘Babylon’. First seen when I was doing my O levels and my insight into the strange (to me) world of sound systems. Any film that starts off in New Cross is going to have my attention and this, still does. Watched many times on dodgy VHS cassettes, DVD’s and then properly released a few years ago. This is the tune from the scene in the arches just before Beefy gets his machete out. This track with Shaka playing syn drums and sirens over the top of it blew my mind. I couldn’t work out what it was. I tracked down the Shaka version of this tune and it was similar but not quite the one. Was it a dub plate ? No, there was another version and this is it ! The original on Cha Cha Records. A groove of the highest proportions, foundation shaking bass, an almost jazz guitar part and a great song about the Babylonian issues facing Johnny and his people, and probably all of us !! Then there is the dub. Deep and heavy, more than a little ‘mad’. This is one of my favourite reggae records. It is a dark arch, a huge system and delaaaaaaayyyyyys a go go !! Everything I ever wanted from my trips to all those stores and worth every funny look I ever got !!
5. Serious Intention – ‘You Don’t Know’ (Easy Street 12”, 1984)
This was no problem to get. Straight out of Lewisham Market bought upon its release, probably heard on Dave Pearce’s ‘Funk Fantasy’ on BBC London (which was a great show). This is the Garage at its optimum for me. A place that I have come to think of as my Mecca. We got into the whole Larry Levan thing, knowingly, in the early 90’s as we started to explore the breaks of house and Garage. His playlists, seemingly, one of the foundations for the genres. Whilst doing this I realised that most of the records I bought as a young South London Soul boy were of a similar ilk. Soul with a twist of electro. It was the soulful side of the electro records we loved. Musical, electronic in parts and often with crazy sounds that blew my mind and dragged me into an unknown NY Underground of tiny labels, unknown artists and life changing records. It was NY street funk from the eighties and the sound of the Garage best seen/heard in labels like West End and Prelude. Easy Street was another as were tonnes of others. We followed this sound until it blew up in 1988 and beyond the labels changing, as did the sounds. It was so innovative and exciting… I’m still doing it today. Getting back to Serious Intention. This is a total classic and was from the day I heard it. Crazy synths, dubbed out vocals and a killer update on Key-Matic’s ‘Breakin’ In Space’ (check that here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzJu-doGKUY) that we all danced to back in the electro days. Though we didn’t dance to that with as much passion (others did) as we did to this when we heard Anthony Malloy do a PA of this the other year on King Street NYC for the Larry Levan Way party on May 11th 2014 !! You can play this at my funeral as I dub out for good… Especially for DK.
6. Gwen Guthrie – ‘Peanut Butter (Larry Levan Remix)’ (Island EP – ‘Padlock’, 1983)
Another one that rocked that infamous street last year. I have always been a fan of the whole ‘Padlock’ EP and really I should have ‘Seventh Heaven’ in this chart but when I saw the reaction to the drop on this record on King Street that day I realised what this whole Garage thing was about (or think I did). It’s all about drums, bass and dub, with as much soul as possible – it’s also about the FUNK, a new kind of funk for then !! The disco side of NYC I love but you might notice that in the 80’s things got slower, funkier and dubbier. This track and the whole Padlock EP is a perfect example of that. Come to think of it so was most of the music made at Compass Point around that time. Props as ever to the old Island Records, 4th & Broadway for forging and adopting that new style with such aplomb and tapping into the sound of the best club in the world. Made for big speakers.
7. Inta Warriors – ‘Inta Natty Style’ (Prototype 12”, 1994)
Coming home. I was never a Junglist. I could have been with more access to the names of the tunes. Lenny De Ice’s ‘We are E’ was purchased from Mash on Oxford Street but only because Weatherall told us the name of it. Coldcut got us into Satin Storm and Bug Khan but in general hanging out in Mash with a load of cheesy ravers listening to un time stretched breaks and cheesy piano’s wasn’t my thing. So, many reggae inflected rave tunes went unheard and missed. This was one of them. I first encountered this when, as Peshay’s A&R man, Photek, a good friend of the Pesh, gave me a DAT of his Special Forces mix of this and it blew my mind. I used to play it loads on GLR and in clubs like Bar Rhumba/The Blue Note but I then got the original and from the intro alone you are hooked. The debut release on Grooverider’s Prototype and a killer Junglist anthem from way back when. Shame I missed it originally but I was a bit more Gays, models and NYC than Lea Bridge Road when it came to dancing to the newness !!
8. Fracture – ‘Overload’ (Exit 12”, 2014)
A big one from last year. A tune that fits into the Marka (Skeptical & Dub Phizix’s anthem) mould. Half time DnB but pushing it on the double time. Heavy bass, lots of dubbed out effects, sirens and a techno sheen which is what makes this music so uniquely UK. Elements of Human Beatboxing, sound system snippets make for a bubbler for the modern dancehall. There is lots more of this music out there you just have to look for it (or listen to me on mi-soul.com)…
9. Tony Allen – ‘N.E.P.A. (Dance Dub Remix)’ (Earthworks 12”, 1984)
I think this is the first Afro Beat record I tracked down, way back in 1986. It was written about in The Street Scene magazine’s Afro Beat pages and, I think I remember them saying, this was big in the alternate room at Caister that year. It was an easy leap for me into this music as, apart from the afro beat (no pun intended), this is pure eighties NYC with its synths and delays. A weird record from the time when we were getting into Arthur Russell’s ‘Go Bang’ and other exotic but weirdly, funky and hypnotic musics that would forever keep us out of the main rooms and firmly in the back room being weird but loving it !
10. Dennis Bovell – ‘Jazterpiece’ (Chrysalis LP – from the album ‘Babylon O S T’, 1980)
The tune, or one of them (Yabby U’s ‘Deliver Me From My Enemies’ and ‘Warrior Charge’ ??) from the soundtrack to ‘Babylon’, and as much as I was disappointed that Johnny Clarke wasn’t on there, this was just a killer piece of music that intrigued me by its uncategorisable ness, and nearly made up for it. Jazz with reggae and a weird kind of funk ?? It’s hard to describe but really it’s all about the jazz, set in a modern (for the time) setting. Filmic and brilliant. Thank you Uncle Dennis !!
11. Twinkle Brothers – ‘Magnetic Enforcer’ (Twinkle Music LP – from the album ‘Dub Massacre’, 1982)
A tune bought from Daddy Kool – a man who would always give me a weird look when I arksed for ‘mad dubs’ but this time I got one, actually I got three (the hardway – he was miserable that Keith in there)… Bought the same day as Hugh Mundell’s ‘Africa Must Be Free..’  (and the dub album of that). It was a good day for reggae and me ! This is exactly the record I wanted; a rolling bass, sharp drums, big horns and scrubbed tape (hence the Magnetic Enforcer title) delayed like crazy. One of my favourite ever dub tracks, it having so much space but never getting boring. It’s often times what is in between the music. This is a great example of that, as is the whole LP.

DUB INFLUENCE VOL 8 – PAUL BRADSHAW

For this week’s Dub Influence we have a man of great words and serious musical knowledge. For those who may not know, Mr Paul Bradshaw is former editor & publisher of the legendary Straight No Chaser magazine, and now writer of the equally essential blog http://ancienttofuture.com. Just check Paul’s recent piece ‘Tribal War, CIA, Dons & Drugs’ looking at Marlon James’ book ‘A Brief History of Seven Killings’. As you will soon read, Mr Bradshaw has lived the music over the last 40+ years, and if you haven’t already, I highly recommend listening to his podcast ‘The Art of Buying Reggae Music’ http://bit.ly/1hBlsZz which tells of Paul’s experiences frequenting the reggae record shops of Dalston, Stoke Newington and Stamford Hill in the 70s. Educational and fascinating listening.

You can catch Mr Bradshaw playing an eclectic selection between live sets at the monthly ‘FREEDOM! –  The Art Of Improvisation’ night at The Vortex in N16, the next session is Monday 7th September. I first encountered Paul’s musical tastes when he was a regular guest on the final Vibrazonic hour of Gilles Peterson’s Sunday night show on Kiss FM in the mid 90s. Always super deep selections. OK, time to hand over to the man himself:

VERSION GALORE….

OK… HERE’S a few tunes picked up on along the way.

Jamaican artists and producers have never been afraid of knocking out cover versions of everything from UK pop hits like ‘Puppet On A String’ to conscious R&B / soul classics like Nina Simone’s ‘Baltimore’ or Syl Johnson’s ‘Is It Because I’m Black’. “Version” is a Jamaican phenomenon. Initially, it came in the form an instrumental flip-side to a vocal on a 7” single. It provided the riddim track for the sound system deejay to do his thing but thanks to sound scientists like King Tubby and Lee Perry the “version” mutated into “dub” – an art form within the art form.

The Jamaican musical lineage is unashamedly self-referential while being mind-blowingly original. Basically, you can’t keep a good song or a good tune down and with that sentiment in mind my first recommendation is you touch down on Rupie Edwards’ mid-70s tribute to Slim Smith’s seminal ‘My Conversation’. The LP arrived on white label and delivered 12 versions including 6 instrumentals and 5 Deejay cuts of the ‘My Conversation’ riddim. Original style!

Back in 1973, Trojan’s ‘Version Galore’ series was, for me, essential listening. Vol 1 is a rock steady gem that features the mighty U Roy riding a dozen classic Duke Reid cuts inc. ‘Tide Is High’, ‘Wear You To The Ball’ etc. ‘Version Galore Vol 3’ is another classic collection with I Roy’s ‘Black Man Time’, Dennis Alcapone’ ‘Cassius Clay’ et al.

Of that first wave of Dub LPs I’ll go with ‘Dubbing With The Observer’ which was mixed at Tubby’s. Released in ’75 it reminds me of Music City in Ridley Road Market on busy Saturday morning. Niney was on top form back then with a very original sound – look no further than that version of Dennis Brown’s ‘Cassanova’.

Back in the mid Seventies I worked in youth club in College Park, at the junction of Scrubs Lane and Harrow Road. It was there I got to know Leroy ‘Lepke’ Anderson who went on to co-found Dread Broadcasting Company (DBC) – one the most ground breaking pirate radio stations of the day. It was at the youth club that I first heard the version of Bunny & Ricky’s ‘Bushweed Corntrash’. ‘Callying Butt’ is nothing short of EPIC! A sonically supa-heavy Lee Perry dub – Play LOUD!

Working in Maroons Tunes in Greek street during the early 80s was Rae Cheddie, Leroy Anderson, Steve Barrow and me. Rae was Bullwackie’s man in the UK and had some bad bwoy ‘Macka’ dubs in his arsenal. Steve used to bring a very refined box of his own 7’s in to work just in case he got bored with the tunes in the shop. Leroy was heavily into running DBC and totally tuned in. One album that was available only through Maroons was a white label Glenmore Brown produced LP – ‘Tommy McCook In Dub’ feat. Versions of ‘Merry Up’, ‘Mr Harry Skank’ et al. How we acquired it I’m not sure but any music on Glen Brown’s Pantomime /South East Music labels was much sought after. We had a couple of fuck-off speaker boxes either side of the door at Maroons and that LP sounded so-o-o-o tuff. Definitely stands the test of time.

Due my going on-and-on about reggae during the late 70s I was recruited by Afro Caribbean activist Lionel Jeffries to do a talk at North London Poly on Holloway Road. I had to take my own Hi Fi including two decent Celestion speaker boxes. On the day I discovered I was to share the session with Jah Bones of Rasta Universal Zion. The room was packed and Lionel had succeeded in attracting a large amount of black students. Jah Bones was first up, whipped of his crown and shook down a yard of dreadlocks. I thought how the fuck is this little grey boy ever going to follow that! The answer lay in a cassette I had of Lee Perry’s ‘Blackboard Jungle’ – at that time a super rare LP. The first strains of “Calling the meek and humble welcome to Blackboard Jungle….” filtered into the room followed by that jaw dropping cascade of bass and drums courtesy of Family Man and Carlton Barrett. Jah Bones looked over, nodded his approval and I was gone clear! Give thanx for the genius of man called Scratch..

Augustus Pablo is a legend – strictly rockers. ‘This Is Augustus Pablo’ is one of my all-time Top 10 reggae albums. Maybe that’s down to an initial listening session which was a combination of herb and headphones. Totally mind blowing. But for this little session I’m going with a tune I played out at FREEDOM! a couple a weeks ago – the 12” version of Paul Blackman’s ‘Earth, Wind & Fire’ – ‘Ras Menelik Congo (Harp)’. Space is the place.

This one’s for Demus ­- a classic from the session we shared in the upstairs room at Gilles P’s Far East/Blue Note Night. The version excursion that is Lee Perry’s Disco Devil – a JA pressed 12” single that was pretty rare at that time.

Lucifer son of the morning, I’m gonna chase you out of earth

I’m gonna put on a iron shirt, and chase Satan out of earth

I’m gonna put on a iron shirt, and chase the devil out of earth

I’m gonna send him to out of space, to find another race

Sly & Robbie were the drum & bass foundation of all those early Black Uhuru cuts like ‘Rent Man’, ‘Wood For My Fire’ or the killer tunes on that D Roy LP – ‘Shine Eye’, ‘Leaving To Zion’. But when Black Uhuru signed to Island the music shifted onto another level. Their performance at the Rainbow in Finsbury Park in the wake of the ’81 riots was the soundtrack to a truly menacing experience. If you’re looking something with a different flava then ‘The Dub Factor’ LP from 1983 is well worth a visit! Mixed by Paul ‘Groucho’ Smykle the impact of ‘The Dub Factor’ prompted me to interview him for the NME. It was around that same time that Groucho sneaked a deep little dub mix out of King Sunny Ade’s ‘Ja Fumni’ which surfaced on a 12”.

The early 80s saw that Island ‘/Compass Point thing spill over into NYC. Was (Not Was) dropped that “dub” of ‘Out Come The Freaks’ but if I was go for one tune from that time it’s ‘Girl I like The Way You Move (Dub Mix)’ by Stone on West End Records. Good vibes.

While I was tempted to go off on one about the Burial albums – which were the perfect blue light / dawn rising inner city driving accompaniment – I’ve opted to dedicate this last tune to all those inner city dwellers struggling with austerity and go with Larry Levan’s ‘Dub Mix’ of Gwen Guthrie’s ‘Ain’t Nothing Going On But The Rent’…. still sounds real good to me!

DUB INFLUENCE VOL 7 – ASHLEY BEEDLE

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For Dub Influence Vol 7 we are very lucky to have a chart from a true musical don. Someone whose productions and musical taste has had a massive influence on me over the years. It’s only when I started writing this, that I realised quite how much his music has soundtracked my life. From early 90s house classics like X-Press 2’s ‘London X-Press’, to The Disco Evangelists ‘De Niro’ and the Ballistic Brothers ‘Blacker’. Tune after tune. A big one for me was Ashley’s remix of DJ Food’s ‘Consciousness’ in 1995… leftfield drum n bass that sampled Earth Wind & Fire… a man after my own heart. Not to mention all the wicked Black Science Orchestra stuff and the monster that is ‘New Jersey Deep’. It’s always been obvious that Ashley’s tastes are broader than broad.

Ashley’s ‘Grass Roots’ comp on Strut in 1999 was also a big influence. A stone cold classic packed with killer tunes, from Rufus & Chaka’s ‘Sweet Thing’ to Grace Jones ‘Feel Up’ 12″ to Four Below Zero’s ‘My Baby’s Got ESP’… it’s soundtracked many a party I’ve been to over the years. As have Ashley’s DJ sets at Nuphonic parties, Faith, Heavy Disco, Unabombers nights. I love the London Heavy Disco Revue stuff too… tracks like ‘The Balloon Room’ and ‘War on the Bullshit’… all the way up to this year’s ‘Ghost Dancers’ 12″ w/ Earl Zinger… another London club classic! Anyway, enough from me… anyone that knows Ashley Beedle knows that he’s a serious reggae and dub head. So time to hand over to the man himself. Here’s Ashley’s Top 10 Dub Influence chart.

1. Augustus Pablo – ‘Islington Rock’ 7″ (Rockers, 1978)

I purchased this when Greensleeves Record Shop was at the top end of Uxbridge Road in Shepherds Bush. This is the first time that I heard Augustus Pablo – life changing!! I would’ve been around 16 and thought I was proper irie.

2. Steel Pulse – ‘Luv Nyah’ 7″ (Tempus, 1977)

This was the B side of ‘Nyah Luv’ which originally came out on a Tempus 7” and then re-issued on Anchor Records in a picture sleeve. Groundbreaking UK reggae group and this track was mixed by Dennis Bovell aka Blackbeard – still sounds fresh today. They went onto release the seminal album ‘Handsworth Revolution’ on Island Records in 1978.

3. D.Brown – ‘Babylon Trap Them’ 7″ (Derrick, 1976)

The first issue in 1976 was miscredited to Dennis Brown when in fact it was the Blackstones. A later cut of this track was released by the Meditations. Recorded on the UK label Derrick, the flip is ‘Babylon Trap Them (Pt2)’ which is the dub and it’s a killer.

4. Meditations – ‘No Peace’ 7″ (Black Art, 1978)

This is one of my favourite Lee Perry Black Ark recordings. A great vocal from the Meditations but on the flip, you can feel the Upsetters unleashing Jah Lightning and Thunder come raining down!

5. Bobby Kalphat – ‘Last Date’ 7″ (Tropical, 1975)

Produced by Clive Chin, the Soul Syndicate flex their muscle under Bobby Kalphat’s wistful melodica on the B side of his instrumental ‘Last Date’.

6. The Mighty Two – ‘Forgive Them Rasta’ 7″ (Joe Gibbs, 1978)

A wicked version to Dennis Walk’s ‘Almighty I’. This is a favourite from back in the day from the blues parties down in Harrow.

7. Soul Vendors – ‘Addis A Baba Pt 2’ 7″ (Studio One, 1979)

Jackie Mittoo and co. aka The Don D Allstars, lay down an almost spacey jazz funk groove. This was the B side to Willie William’s ‘Addis-A-Baba’ released in 1979 and it was later sampled by Rico Rodriguez in his ‘Chang Kai Shek’ released in 1981.

8. Nicolette – ‘Beautiful Day’ 7″ (Talkin’ Loud White Label (pressed in Jamaica!), 1996)

Remixed by the Shut Up and Dance crew, this track uses the Stalag riddim to fantastic effect. This never leaves the box! Trust me!

9. Mikey Dread – ‘Jungle Signal Dub’ 10″ (Dread at the Controls, 1982)

If you’re going to play out a Mikey Dread track and destroy some sounds at the same time, this is the Daddy! A horn driven monster. Bless the dead.

10. Rhythm & Sound w/ Cornell Campbell – ‘King In My Empire’ 10″ (Burial Mix, 2001)

A typical stripped down production by the Rhythm and Sound crew underpinning Cornell’s ethereal vocals – what more could I and I want? I also have another version ft. Jennifer Lara called ‘Queen Of My Empire’… equally lovely!

DUB INFLUENCE VOL 6 – DOBIE

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for volume 6 of dub influence, we have a chart from a north london legend. once described as ‘the ghost dog of stoke newington’, when i lived in N16 dobie is definitely the man i bumped into the most, and it was always a pleasure. without knowing it at the time, i first came across dobie in the mid 80s. i was a keen skater at the time – alas, not a very good one – and used to buy ‘R.A.D.’ magazine religiously every month… it was the bible for all uk skaters. i later found out that dobie was one of the main photographers for R.A.D. and took all those amazing pics of the south bank, stockwell skate park, the westway etc… that i spent many hours looking at.

it was the late 90s when i discovered dobie’s music production and DJing skills, thru classic tracks like ‘cloud 98 3/4’, and nights like blacktronica at the ICA and the blueprint sessions at plastic people. for those who may not know, dobie’s history runs deep… from working on the first two Soul II Soul albums, producing london posse’s ‘how’s life in london?’ and recording a solo LP for pussyfoot ‘the sound of one hand clapping’. he’s remixed everyone from bjork, massive attack, les negresses vertes, tricky to gang starr and recorded for labels like brownswood and BBE. in the last couple of years he’s released two EPs for big dada as well as an album ‘we will not harm you’ in 2013. like i said, deep. right, enough chat, it’s time to hand over to the man himself, take it away dobie…

ok where do i start. VERSION reached out to me asking for a list of my top 5 dub or dub oriented tracks. man, it’s a hard one, so many to pick from that i love. this is not my top 5, it’s too hard for me to pick my top 5. so i’ve just picked 5 that have always stuck with me. tracks from the likes of killing joke through to scientist the dub master. enjoy…

1. bauhaus – ‘bela lugosi’s dead’ (small wonder records, 1979)

i’ll start with a bauhaus classic. i first got introduced to this track by an old skater friend who is a big bauhaus fan. this track was in heavy rotation with us on the boogie box when it came out. the thing that got me about the track is the mood of it, the bassline, and how dubbed out it was coming from a band like bauhaus. not something i would expect from such a band. it’s that post punk meets dub reggae. a steppers vibe on the drums or is it a bossa nova… you decide. very cinematic in it’s nature, dark, moody, menacing vocal, spooky on one hand, but straight up dub on the other. twisted left of centre dub, that opposites attract thing, love it. one of those tracks i wish i’d made.

2. killing joke – ‘turn to red’ (malicious damage, 1979)

the A-side of the 12 inch this track came out on is called ‘almost red’ and on the B-side you’ll find this twisted head spinner of a dub version called ‘turn to red’. another case of opposites attract. similar vibe to the bauhaus track to a point. dark, moody but rawer. a little less laid back than the bauhaus track, more in your face. also peep the track ‘nervous system’ on the same 12 inch.

3. scientist – ‘de materialise’ (greensleeves, 1981)

this comes from the dub legend known as scientist, from the album ‘scientist meets the space invaders’. classic dub, classic scientist. for some reason clint eastwood always comes to mind when i hear this track. riding into town on his donkey in an old school spaghetti western… cowboy style.

4. sly & robbie – ‘the dub of gold’ (island records, 1981)

sly & robbie aka the riddim twins. taken from the album ‘raiders of the lost dub’. it’s a dub version to the track ‘heart of stone’. quite a slick sounding dub production wise with a bassline to kill for.

5. exemen – ‘far east’ (manchu recordings, 2001)

the last spot goes to exemen aka mr jason chue aka wookie and the track ‘far east’. dub for the dance floor. you’re not going to find too much crazy spaced out fx or big reverbs firing off all over this track, which is one of dub music’s trade marks. more dub in it’s rawest essence. back to it’s foundation, the drum & the bass, RIDDIM!!!…. (FULL OF CULTURE Y’ALL) which wookie has on lock down. the track is such a hybrid, what is it? grime, ukg, drum & bass, hip hop. it touches on all those forms to me, with one foot firmly stuck in the raw essence of dub. enjoy.

DUB INFLUENCE VOL 5 – NAT BIRCHALL

Nat B Pick A Dub

Volume 5 of ‘Dub Influence’ brings us a very special chart from none other than UK jazz legend, saxophonist Mr Nat Birchall. I’ve been a big fan of Nat’s music ever since hearing his stuff played on Gilles Peterson’s radio show around 5 years ago when Nat’s ‘Guiding Spirit’ LP had just been released. It was clear that the spirit of Pharoah Sanders and John Coltrane was alive and well… and living in Manchester! I’ve seen Nat play live many times since then, as part of trumpeter Matthew Halsall’s band, and last year I had the pleasure of witnessing Nat’s own incredible quintet play at The Vortex in Dalston. Their ‘Live in Larissa’ 2xLP from last year is a modern classic. I can’t recommend it enough. Nat’s new album ‘Invocations’ is due for release on Jazzman very soon… so look out for that, I can’t wait to hear it.

What some people may not know is that Nat is a great lover of reggae and dub, and has been buying it since the early 70s. He is incredibly knowledgable about the music and has put me onto many great records over the last few years. If you haven’t checked it, take a read of Nat’s brilliant writings about some of his favourite dub records on his own website. The man is deep!

http://www.natbirchall.com

For his VERSION ‘Dub Influence’ chart Nat has treated us to a Disco Mix 45s special! For those who may not know, when the New York disco 12″ phenomenon took off in the mid 70s, the 12″ format also became popular in the world of reggae, with labels releasing special ‘disco mix’ 12″s. The difference with the reggae disco mixes is they comprised of 2 or more different versions of the same tune edited together and released on a nice fat sounding 45rpm 12″ (as opposed to the NYC disco approach of one track being extended and remixed a la Walter Gibbons’ mix of Double Exposure). Anyway, less of my waffle, time to hand over to the man himself. Take it away Nat…

1. Yabby You, Trinity & King Tubbys – ‘Chant Down Babylon Kingdom/King Pharaoh Plague’ (Vivian Jackson – JA, Prophets – UK) 12″ Disco 45 1976

This is probably my all time favourite 12″ Disco mix. When the Disco mix phenomenon took hold in Jamaica in 1976 not all the songs released in this fashion took advantage of the benefits this new format made possible. This one is an exception and fully maximises the potential available in the 12″ 45 pressing. On both sides the vocal part is heard first, with a more dubbed-up mix than the 7″ or LP versions, the Deejay (Trinity) version follows and in both cases is segued skilfully from the vocal part without dropping a beat. This disco mix is also LOUD! The sound is BIG and deep, with excellent bass made available by the fact that the 12″ record allows for the groove (for a relatively short amount of music, usually around 5 or 6 minutes) to be “spread” across the whole side, thus enabling a bigger sound as well as superior sound reproduction in general.

These songs are from Yabby’s LP “Chant Down Babylon Kingdom/Walls Of Jerusalem” (Nationwide – UK, Prophets – JA) and represent, to me at least, the pinnacle of his work. Catching everything at a high, the songs, Roots rhythms, musicianship, recording quality, King Tubby’s dub mixing, extended vocal/Deejay, big 12″ sound. Perfection without objection.

2. Horace Andy, Jah Stitch & King Tubbys – ‘Zion Gate/Every Wicked Have To Crawl’ (Carib Gems – UK) 12″ Disco 45 1977

This record shares many of the same qualities as the Yabby You – Tip-top rhythm/song/mix, with the vocal segueing perfectly into the deejay version by Jah Stitch. And a BIG sound again. Some of the better Disco mixes are typically twice as big and loud as the LP counterparts, and about 30-50% louder than the 7″ pressings. Jah Stitch was one of my favourite Deejays in the 70s, his voice alone was Dread and he always had something interesting to say. When he dropped his lyrics on a rhythm like this, with King Tubbys in full effect, the effect was devastating. Jah Stitch was shot in Kingston in 1976 but lived to tell the tale, immortalising the incident in his “No Dread Can’t Dead”, a version of Cornell Campbell’s “Stallowat”.

3. Dennis Walks, I. Roy, MBV, Bongo Herman & King Tubbys – ‘Combination Drifter’ (Moodisc – JA) 12″ Disco 45 1977

When the Deejay style started to take over the music scene in the early 70s many of the producers started to record the talkers on old hits from their back catalogue. U. Roy had numerous hits toasting over old Treasure Isle songs from the 60’s for producer Duke Reid for instance. Harry Mudie was not a prolific producer but a lot of his output was pure gold. Dennis Walks’ big 1969 hit song “The Drifter” is one of those rhythms that has spawned a thousand versions. Not without good reason, this rhythm is MASSIVE in every way. I. Roy cut his version (simply called “Drifter” on its original release) around 1970 and it was issued on 45 in JA and the UK as well as in the USA. But this 1977 disco mix version brings together the original vocal, I. Roy’s deejay cut, plus the horns version “Midnight Drifter” by MBV and the Bongo Herman bongo cut “Car Pound Drifter” plus that version’s dubside “Nitty Gritty Drifter” in a tour de force mix up that is spread over both sides of this seriously heavy piece of wax. Tubbys starts to dub up the rhythm right from the very start of the vocal side and gets in some wild dub effects along the way. Showing remarkable ingenuity King Tubby takes the original spoken intro to the Bongo Herman version (all the different versions segue into each other beautifully again) and splices it into the mix right at the very end of side two, just before the music fades. “Bongo Herman, Bongo Herman, them gone with the car, them gone with the car!” “Which part??” (ie “Where?”)

4. Augustus Pablo & Professor/King Tubbys – ‘Israel In Harmony/Israel Dub’ (Rockers – JA/US) 12″ Disco 45 1979

Augustus Pablo was a legend in my world of the early to mid 70s, still is of course. His very name (which he “inherited” from producer Herman Chin-Loy) was enough to conjure up mystic images and moods. He was prolific both as a musician, playing melodica plus various keyboards, and as a producer of both his own material and that of other artists. This deep, deep instrumental/dub excursion first entered my world in 1981 when a friend of mine put it on a cassette tape along with some other music of the time. This tune was my favourite of them all, and it took me a good while to getting around to finding out what it was called and locating a copy on vinyl. The tune is Pablo’s melodica version of Earl Sixteen’s “Changing World” and is one of my favourite Pablo tunes. Mixed at King Tubby’s studio probably by Professor in 1979.

5. Faybiene Miranda & The Black Disciples – ‘Prophecy’ (Tribesman – UK) 1976 12″ Disco 45

Faybiene Miranda only made two records for Ocho Rios-based producer Jack Ruby to my knowledge. The other one, “Destiny”, doesn’t work quite so well as this classic, for me anyways. Born in Panama, via the USA, she visited Jamaica in the mid 70s and eventually cut this huge piece of music with the Black Disciples, which was Burning Spear’s band when he recorded his classic albums for Jack Ruby, “Marcus Garvey” and “Man In The Hills”. This is kind of an example of something that might not work so well in theory, American hippie writing and singing a song about Marcus Garvey and freedom for the people back when the US was only just being introduced to this music. But it works brilliantly, the rhythm is stunningly heavy with a killer intro and bass line, perfectly rendered to wax on another LOUD disco 45. The band featured the real heavyweights of Jamaican roots at the time, including Horsemouth, Robbie Shakespeare, Chinna Smith, Dirty Harry, Skully, Touter, Bobby Ellis and Herman Marquis. And the vocal is delivered perfectly with an utterly convincing confidence and “cry” that belies Faybiene’s non-Jamaican roots.

6. Glen Brown & God’s Children Band & King Tubbys – ‘Melodica International’ (South East Music – JA) 12″ disco 45 1978

Glen Brown is a legend of Jamaican Roots music, with good reason. His catalogue is filled with heavy rhythms that are considered classics. Tunes like “Dirty Harry” and “Save Our Nation” have been re-cut many, many times and every version is a killer. This particular tune is on the B side of Wayne Jarrett’s “Youth Man” which utilises the rhythm track of Glenroy Richards’ “Wicked Can’t Run Away”. This extended disco 45 begins with a dub mix. After the clatter of drums at the intro Tommy McCook’s tenor saxophone heralds what is to come in his inimitable fashion. McCook is one of my heroes of the saxophone and always played with a strong, clear tone. His phrasing is exceptionally strong, even by Jamaican standards. The melodica version follows the dub, played by Glen Brown himself, not Pablo as some US issues state. King Tubbys did all Glen Brown’s mixing I believe and it was a deadly combination.

7. Devon Irons/Lee Perry, Anthony “Sangie” Davis/Doctor Alimantado – ‘Vampire/Words’ (Black Art – JA)  12″ Disco 45 1978

In 1977/78 Lee Perry’s output as a producer was at its height. The sounds he was conjuring up using his basic equipment in his Black Ark studio were at their most deep and dense. Some of the 12″ mixes in particular were like artefacts from another world, such was the mystic quality of the sound contained in the heavy vinyl grooves. These two songs, as well as some others like Watty Burnett’s “Open The Gate” or The Twin Roots “Know Love”, are pinnacles of the Upsetter’s methodology. The rhythms are first class to begin with. “Words” uses the rhythm track of the original release of the song (as “Words Of My Mouth” credited to The Gatherers) from 1973, but has extra layers of instrumentation which add to the density and intensity of the music. Lee Perry’s percussion and swirling dub effects add to the mystique of the music, which was mystical enough to begin with. In the second part an alto saxophone is introduced and Lee Perry himself deejays over the mix. But the other side is even dreader than this! “Vampire” begins abruptly with dubbed horns and vocals before the drums roll into the rhythm and the journey begins. Dubbed horns and backing vocals enter and leave the mix at various times, all the while the dub mix drives the music onward gathering intensity as it progresses. At the half way stage Doc Alimantado declaims at the top of his voice “Nah true dready! Everything the Rasta man do he got to fight!” and the rhythm stops and then immediately starts again from the beginning. Alimantado was at the height of his own powers at this time and he builds the intensity all the way, with Perry’s dub mixing adding to the effect. The best music always transcends notes, words and rhythm etc and this is an exceptional example.

8. Militant Barry/Keith Hudson – ‘Idi Amin Disco/Blood Up/Free Black People’ (Conflict – UK) 12″ Disco 45 1977

Keith Hudson was responsible for some of the deepest, most profound and often the most experimental roots music coming out of Jamaica from the late sixties/early seventies and into the late 70s. His output was recorded in Jamaica for the most part but often remixed and/or overdubbed in the UK. This underappreciated disco 45 featuring UK-based deejay Militant Barry appeared in 1977 and is a long time favourite of mine. The lyrics celebrate (!!) the then topical subject of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin. “Sounds called Idi Amin on ‘im golden anniversary” In a bizarre personality reversal Militant Barry states that “Amin come fe free black people” 1977 was the year of Queen Elizabeth’s silver jubilee in the UK, but Militant Barry continues with “Him first (beat) the queen” (In 1977 the UK ceased diplomatic relations with Uganda and Amin declared himself “CBE” Conqueror of the British Empire!). We might believe the deejay wasn’t being entirely serious however, as he also declares “He was seen on the moon…and it wasn’t too soon.” Whatever Militant Barry’s lyrical intention, at the half way stage Keith Hudson’s grave voice eases into the mix intoning “Woaah, them a people yah no change, them a people yah no change. Same mouth free Barrabas, same mouth free Barabbas. (It was the same thinking and the same type of people that freed Barabbas instead of Jesus). But I and I no free Barrabas, natty dread a free Selassie I.” Meaning Rasta should praise Haile Selassie instead of Idi Amin. Hudson continues with “Pilate wash him hands so clean, but Pilate hands a blood up, blood up, blood up.” All of which may possibly be interpreted as Hudson washing his hands of the deejay’s controversial lyrics!

The B side is an extended dub mix of the same thumping rockers rhythm and it manages to keep up the searing intensity of the A side.

9. L. Jones – ‘Day Dreaming Of Africa’ (Xamayca Music – UK) 12″ Disco 45 1977

I have no idea who L. Jones is, some people say it’s Lloyd Jones but it doesn’t sound like the same guy who did the classic “Rome” to my ears.  And I have no insight into the origins of this record. The label states “Produced: Clivey” which means absolutely nothing to me! But the music means a lot. It’s a very beautiful piece of music and a nice rhythm which at first sounds a little like Alton Ellis’ “Hey World” but isn’t. It’s a very understated piece of music and like all such music it grows on you until it gets right under your skin. The vocal is beautifully sung and along with the lyrics conveys an upbeat optimistic quality that pervades the whole record. “I stretch forth my arms, and call my sons home. I throw out oppression… And create a brilliant civilisation once again. And wake up my children, from their eternal sleep…” The vocal segues perfectly into the dub by a very skilful tape splice, further evidence of the considerable effort put into this music by the engineers involved.

10. Sylford Walker/King Tubbys – ‘Africa’ (a.k.a Our Father Homeland a.k.a. Jah Jah Power) (Kingley Sounds – UK, South East Music – JA) 12″ Disco 45 1979

When I was buying fresh roots music in the mid 70s I would buy anything I could find with Sylford Walker’s name on it. Which wasn’t very much. I first bought his stunning “Burn Babylon” on the Birmingham-based Locks record label in 1975 and was very taken with both his voice and his style. I subsequently bought 45s of “Lamb’s Bread” and “Clensyness Is Godlyness” plus this UK-pressed disco 45. In later years I found his “Deuteronomy”, “Jah Golden Pen” and “Chant Down Babylon” 45s and in 1988 Greensleeves issued his “Lamb’s Bread” LP which had even more tunes that had eluded me back in the 70s. All these tunes, with the exception of “Burn Babylon” and “Jah Golden Pen”, were produced by the great Glen Brown. As I have written above, Glen Brown and King Tubbys was a deadly combination and this one is no exception. The rhythm utilised is Glen Brown’s version of Isaac Hayes’ “Do Your Thing” which has inspired a few Jamaican versions, including The Chosen Few and The Tornadoes. This 12″ mix has some inspired trombone by the great Vin Gordon a.k.a. Don Drummond Jr. making this a weighty excursion all round. The second half is given over to a great Tubbys dub with more trombone featured dub-wise style. This rhythm was used for quite a few songs by Glen Brown’s roster of artists, including the absolute classic “Two Wedden Skank”, and also one of my very favourite dub mixes ever, a 45 entitled “Black Dub”.

DUB INFLUENCE VOL 4 – CEDRIC WOO

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For our 4th installment of Dub Influence, we have a man of many talents. In the late 90s, Cedric had his own dub themed radio show on the French airwaves called ‘Earthquake’ where he joined the dots between all styles of dub and dub influenced music. In true VERSION style! I first came across Cedric as part of the Voices DJ/party collective in the early 00s, and not long after as part of the Lucky Cloud sound system crew who put on the wicked David Mancuso Loft parties at The Light Bar in Shoreditch. There’s also Cedric’s legendary Beauty & The Beat crew who just last weekend celebrated their 10th anniversary with a very special party in East London. Cedric also spins and programmes the nights at the wonderful Brilliant Corners venue in Dalston, where VERSION takes place. Plus the man is also a hardcore triathlete! Multi-talented and then some. For his ‘Dub Influence’ chart, Cedric has blessed us with a truly epic selection of 20 tunes, so make yourself a cuppa and I’ll hand over to the man himself. Take it away Cedric…

1. Nora Dean – Angie La la (Treasure Isle, 1969)

Also known as Ay Ay Ay, though not exactly a dub record (this came out in 1969 after all!), this certainly sounds like nothing else, featuring reverb, echo, incomprehensible lyrics, bird whistles, mouth noises…some proto Black Ark wizardry right there! First heard played by Ade at Balance and a Beauty & the Beat classic ever since, this is as psychedelic as can be.

2. Lee Perry – Dreadlocks in Moonlight (Upsetters, 1976)

One of many Lee Perry masterpieces I could choose, one of the most important men in dance music history imho. ”Jah is I light and salvation, whom shall I fear?”

3. Twinkle Brothers – Free Africa Dub (Front Line Records, 1978)

Bought from Channel One sound system right after they played it at one of their carnival sessions. The crowd went mental. Sounded like techno in there.

4. Carlton Coffee – Chant Away (Boss Disco 1978)

Joel Martin played this during an after party at mine some years ago. Irresistible nyabinghi Jah music. Needless to say how ecstatic I was for the recent reissue.

5. Black Uhuru – Guess Whos Coming to Dinner (Taxi, 1979)

Channel One sound system at carnival on Monday circa 6pm. Anthem.

6. Mikey Dread – Break Down the Walls (Dread at the Control, 1980)

Always had a soft spot for Mikey. Classic.

7. John Martyn – Big Muff (Island, 1981)

John Martyn produced by Lee Perry in the golden years of Island records. Out there and absolutely brilliant.

8. Aswad – Dub Fire (Island, 1982)

Heavy sound system tune that is, with an unforgettable bass line. This used to open many a blues dance during my spell in NYC in the late 90s.

9. Gwen GuthrieSeventh Heaven (Larry Levan remix) (4th & Broadway, 1982)

Larry Levan and François K’s productions were equally influenced by dub, and gave us many a masterpiece. This is one the best mixes of all time imo.

10. King Sunny Ade Ire (Island, 1983)

Afrobeat in dub by Sunny Ade on Island records. Voodoo magic.

11. Rolling Stones – Feel On Baby (instrumental dub) (Rolling Stones Records, 1983)

A rather unexpected dub excursion by the Stones, feat Sly Dunbar on percussion, played by Mancuso at the Loft.

12. Skunkadelique – Spinal Dread (Mankin Records, 1983)

Not much info on this one, an early 80s punk-dub affair on Virgin France that is really quite a bomb.

13. Wally Badarou Mambo (Island, 1984)

The whole ‘Echoes’ LP is an ultimate ‘desert island’ album, recorded at Compass Point Studio where dub was pretty much the basis of every production. First heard on FK’s seminal Essential mix… this is a huge fave.

14. The Orb – Towers of Dub (Big Life, 1992)

Memories of my first paid DJ gig circa 95 where I played this to a strictly roots reggae crowd. This might not sound too adventurous but it was, and it worked!

15. African Head Charge – Heading to Glory (On-U-Sound, 1993)

Shamanic dub for the changa soldiers out there.

16. Revolutionary Dub Warriors Warrior (On-U-Sound, 1994)

A bit of a secret weapon of mine, that still destroys all the right dance-floors. Super fat. On U Sound magic.

17. FishmansWalking In The Rhythm (Polydor, 1997)

My friend Nao got me the CD about 15 years ago and it has followed me in pretty much all my travels. Cult in Japan!

18. ZenzileAlkaline O.D. (Crash Disques, 1999)

There was a big live dub scene in France in the late 90s, spearheaded by bands like High Tone and Zenzile. This is bass heavy and still very melodic… big memories of my student years.

19. Rhythm & Sound w/ Jah Batta – Music Hit You (Burial Mix, 2003)

Rhythm & Sound’s showcase cd was a staple in my car when it came out. This is not on it but it does hit you in all the right places indeed.

20. Prince JazzboReplay version (Basic Replay, 2007)

Next level digital dub from the late 80s. Haunted and funky, way before dub step came along!

DUB INFLUENCE VOL 3 – SNOOPY

Snoopy

Yes! For our third installment of ‘Dub Influence’ we are very lucky to have a chart from the legend that is Snoopy. What Snoopy doesn’t know about reggae, dub and music in general… ain’t worth knowing. Below is a bit of background on the man, and that’s right, he once interviewed Michael Jackson, and in 1980 he topped the UK reggae charts for 4 weeks in a row. No biggie.

Snoopy first started writing about black music when he was 16 in 1975, contributing to ‘New Musical Express’ amongst others. From 1976 until 1981 he regularly contributed to Black Echoes, the world’s only weekly black-music newspaper, based in London. He worked with, interviewed and wrote articles about Junior Delgado, Matumbi, Tradition, Reggae Regular, The Cimarons, Dennis Brown, Louisa Mark, The Blackstones, Trinity, Gregory Isaacs, Rupie Edwards, Dr. Alimantado, Brown Sugar, 15 16 17, Delroy Wilson, Steel Pulse, Ruddy Thomas, Honey Boy and I Roy. He also wrote extensively about soul music – interviewing his idol Michael Jackson in 1979. In 1980 he topped the UK reggae charts for 4 consecutive weeks with the No.1 hit medley ‘This Is Lovers Rock’ as part of the vocal trio Eargasm.

In addition to writing, he also worked for various record companies, including for Dennis Brown at DEB Music in Battersea. Shook magazine published his remembrance of the late reggae producer Joe Gibbs. In 2009 he received a special award for his contribution to reggae music at The Lovers Rock Gala Awards, presented by his mentor Penny Reel. He also appeared in the documentary film ‘The Story Of Lovers Rock’ in 2010.

http://www.celebrategoodtimes.co.uk

THE MAN IS DEEP!

Time to hand over to Snoopy to talk us through a few of the dub records that have had a big influence on him over the years…

1. Tommy McCook & The Agrovators – ‘King Tubby Meets The Agrovators at Dub Station’ LP (UK – Live & Love, 1975)

This under-rated album was originally issued in Jamaica on Total Sounds as ‘Creation Of Dub’ and eventually released in the UK by Count Shelly’s Third World organisation in Stoke Newington, albeit with a different title and track names. I was 16 years old when I bought this LP and was already a huge fan of the flying-cymbal (or flyers) ridim characteristic of many Bunny Lee productions of the time. The inspired horn arrangements also truly captivated my attention – but it was the echoed-out, reverb-drenched and phased-far-out dubonic wizardry of King Tubby and his engineers which really grabbed my groove-joints. Of course, back then everyone assumed that any release denoting the King Tubby’s epithet must signify that it had been mixed by the elusive legend. It wasn’t until much later that it transpired that kingpin engineers like Prince Philip Smart and singer Pat Kelly were also responsible for many of the dubs and mixes accredited to Tubby himself. Well, whoever was responsible for whatever mix will probably remain shrouded in mystery – but there’s no doubt that the sounds they created at 18 Dromilly Avenue (in Waterhouse, West Kingston) remain some of the most potent and amazing musical treats ever to come out of Jamaica. Kicking off with the brilliant ‘Creator Of Dub’ (Johnny Clarke’s great version of Burning Spear’s ‘Creation Rebel’) it features dubwise interpretations of original vocal cuts by Cornell Campbell, Delroy Wilson, Linval Thompson, Jackie Edwards and more of the ubiquitous JC. I especially love ‘The Height Of Dub (a cut to Cornell Campbell’s ‘Press Along Natty’) with its mariachi horns and spaghetti-western vibe. But the outstanding cut has always been ‘The Dub Station’ – a version of the mega-rare and practically unknown (until recent times) ‘African Roots’ by Sheila Rickards, the vocal of which had originally exclusively appeared on an obscure ’76 Canadian compilation. From its tense, slow-burner ‘Goldfinger’ inspired opening to its glorious dubbed-up conclusion, the track fires along like a powerhouse – with Carlton Davis’ phenomenal drumming and Robbie Shakespeare’s heartful bass at its deep rhythmic core. The work of saxophonist Tommy McCook, trombonist Vin Gordon and trumpeter Bobby Ellis is stellar throughout and one of the album’s crucial ingredients. In 1977, in a series of articles on dub music for Black Echoes, I rated this album at No.3 in a list of 125. I’d now ratch it up to No.2. It’s that good.

2. King Tubby’s – ‘Watergate Rock’ 7″ (UK – Black & White, 1974)

This is the dub version of a massive smoochy reggae hit by Larry Marshall called ‘I Admire You’. I picked this up from a regular haunt of mine when I was a young teenager – the soul and reggae stall at Chapel Market in Islington. It was probably the record that properly got me into becoming a serious dub obsessive and is one of the first 45s to be credited to King Tubby. Through Tubby’s technical skill and wizardry, the stepping drums are transmogrified into sounding completely unlike drums have ever sounded before: when I first heard it I was both amazed and tremendously excited. I never knew music could sound like that! It was fresh and new and very, very heavy. With its blasting melodica, gutsy bass-line and squawking guitars, it has stood the proverbial test of time and remains a dub classic. It completely altered my view of what music could be and opened my ears to the possibilities of musical and rhythmic transformation through mixing. It was vibrant and important.

3. Jah Devon – ‘Move Out A Dreadlocks Co. Dub’ 7″ (JA – Black Stax, 1976)

In 1976 a singer called Leon Hyatt had a big ‘pre’ hit called ‘Starkey’ on Black Stax. This was a tune you’d hear played out by sound systems in clubs, blues dances and parties. The bass-line had a magnificent drop and everyone went wild for it. The song was eventually released in the UK through Ital Records of Clapton on their Nationwide imprint. One night that same year my spar and mentor Penny Reel travelled with me across to the other side of the river for a sound system clash being held at Lambeth College. It was rammed and proved to be a hot contest. The sounds vied for supremacy with a mixture of current ravers favourites (Delroy Wilson’s ‘I’m Still Waiting’ was the biggest tune of the year, bar none), roots rumblers (Channel One rockers, Pablo rockers, strickly rockers), version excursions and occasional bouts of dub fever. The winning tune of the night was definitely the dub version of the DJ cut of Leon Hyatt’s song. Recorded by Jah Devon it was called ‘Move Out A Dreadlocks Company’. Through dubonic dexterity the already heavier-than-lead ridim became something altogether more deep and intensifying. It was one of those tunes that rattled your insides when you were rockin’ near the massive sound system speakers and actually made you feel kinda queasy. But the bass-line was kind of comforting and mellow. We ended up walking back from the dance all the way from South London to North London but that Jah Devon dub still reverberating in our bones kept us going.

4. Augustus Pablo – ‘King Tubby Meets Rockers Uptown’ LP (US – Clocktower, 1976]

Of course, the title track of this album was famously issued as a single by Island Records in the UK in 1975, following its American release on Mango the previous year. Whereas in Jamaica it was the B-side dub of a vocal tune by Inner Circle vocalist Jacob Miller (‘Baby I Love You So’ on Pablo International), such was the popularity on ‘pre’ (import) of the instrumental lick by King Tubby that the tunes were flipped for UK & US release. That tune remains a true representation of dub – it is unequivocal dubonic excellence in its purist form and rightly so. It fully deserves the term ‘classic’, ‘masterpiece’ or any other illustrious appellation bestowed upon it. The Augustus Pablo album of the same name appeared in 1977 – in the UK mostly as an American import on Clocktower as Jamaican copies (on Pablo’s own Yard Music label) were very few and far between. I certainly never saw one at the time. It entered the British reggae charts on July 16th 1977 and by August 27th it was the No.1 reggae album, eventually spending three weeks there. Surprisingly, in spite of its massive popularity at this time, the album wasn’t officially released in the UK until the late Eighties. Consisting of dub versions utilising recordings made between 1972 and 1975, the collection firmly stands as a testament to Pablo, to King Tubby, to dub freaks everywhere. In the previously alluded-to dub list, I ranked this at No.2. Some 38 years later, I would now suggest this would have to sit at the top of the pile. Wicked.

5. Bob Marley & The Wailers – ‘Concrete’ 7″ [JA – Tuff Gong, 1975]

As a 16 year old, Saturday nights were mostly spent glued to London station Capital Radio when Greg Edwards had his brilliant ‘Soul Spectrum’ show and Tommy Vance presented the essential ‘TV On Reggae’ programme. As a chart freak from birth, I loved it when Tommy would count down the Top 10 singles of the week (to the ‘version’ of Lloyd Charmers’ ‘Sweet Harmony’). But my favourite T.O.R. shows of the era were when he would play an hour of uninterrupted dub music – which were a mix of LP tracks, B-sides and imports. It was through shows like these that I first became crazy about dub. They were a huge influence on me and fuelled my passion for all things dub. Sometimes they would even remix the dubs as they played – dubbing the dubs. Like all serious music fans back in the 70s (and beyond!) I would religiously record these dub shows onto my cassette player. One of the tracks I really liked was the dub of a brand new release by Bob Marley & The Wailers called ‘Jah Live’. That year I left school and ended up working as an officer junior in Bedford Square – a five-minute walk from Daddy Kool Records in Hanway Street up the West End. I spent my lunchtimes there and went there after work as well – it was my haven, my musical hideaway, where I could pick up all the latest releases and imports. Steve Barrow would sort me out with whatever I wanted. I was thrilled to be able to track down a ‘pre’ copy of the Bob Marley tune (though it was a hefty £1.20!) – not for the vocal, but for that lovely dub. It was one of the first pre-release 45s I ever bought. Island Records later issued the song but without the original dub on the B-side. Forty years on, it’s still ‘Concrete’ by name and still hard as concrete.

6. Yabby You – ‘Rock Vibration’ [UK – From ‘King Tubby’s Prophesy Of Dub’ LP, Prophets, 1976]

One of the reggae clubs I used to frequent back in the 70s was Phebes in Stokie to hear sound systems like Jah Shaka and Fat Man Hi Fi. The latter was one of my favourites. Sometimes you’d hear a dubplate and think “What the hell was that?!” – and one of those times was when he played an exclusive featuring the distinctive voice of Michael Rose. I recognised it as his ‘Dreadlocks Coming To Dinner’ was the very first pre I bought. This amazing rhythmic reggaematic rider was soon put out by Fat Man himself as a UK ‘pre’ (a British pressing selling for an import price with a large punch-hole) and it was issued on the ‘Boss’ label. It was deemed to be by Rose’s group Black Uhuru although the label itself was untitled and uncredited. The general consensus about the song’s title was ‘Born Free’. It was also later known as ‘Willow Tree’. I picked up a copy of the record from another one of my favourite record emporiums – Jah Bunny’s shop in Dalston Lane. The dub mix on the ’45 was fantastic. However, in July ’76 an album appeared called ‘King Tubby’s Prophesy Of Dub’ which featured dub versions of Vivian Jackson productions. The opening cut on Side 2 was a version of the ‘Born Free’ ridim – a dub mix which was even better than the one on the ’45. With its wild amalgam of phasing, echoes, reverb, delay and deconstruction/reconstruction, it remains to this day a massive killer cut.

7. The Upsetters – ‘Scratch The Super Ape’ LP (JA – Upsetter, 1976]

As for many kids of my generation, The Upsetters’ 1969 hit ‘Return Of Django’ was one of the first reggae records I heard and had. Years later, I was still buying the music of the incredible Lee Perry. In ’76 I bought this LP as an expensive Jamaican import album. The fact was in those days it was never clear whether Jamaican releases would ever get a UK release (Augustus Pablo, for example) so they had to be snapped up quick before they disappeared, in spite of the fact that for everybody money was always tight. However, this one didn’t disappear as Island Records were quick to respond with a UK release three weeks after it first appeared in the reggae album charts – reaching No.1 and remaining on the charts for nearly half a year. Mixing dub and vocal cuts across two deep and heavy sides, every track is brilliant but personal favourites include Prince Jazzbo’s stunning ‘Croaking Lizard’ (also a hugely successful single, backed with Max Romeo’s ‘Chase The Devil’ which uses the same ridim), ‘Underground’ (featuring some great vocals from The I-Threes), ‘Curly Dub’ (starring Lee Perry himself) and ‘Zion’s Blood’ (featuring vocals from two-thirds of The Heptones). Essential in every way.

8. Well Charged – ‘Vital Dub’ LP [UK – Virgin, 1976]

Between 1975 and 1977, Channel One studios in Jamaica really came to the fore, releasing a storming number of singles and albums on labels such as Channel One, Disco Mix, Well Charge and Hit Bound which dominated the reggae scene. Under the aegis of producer Joseph Hookim, the house-band The Revolutionaries created the new ‘rockers’ sound which placed a real emphasis on new drumming patterns created by the amazing Sly Dunbar. One of the studios’ biggest successes was with vocal group The Diamonds – who, after an incredible run of hits, were rightly redubbed The Mighty Diamonds. I was a huge fan of this group from the off (and will never forget seeing them live at London’s Lyceum) – and tunes such as ‘Back Weh’, ‘Right Time’, ‘I Need A Roof’, ‘Catonine’, ‘Jail House’ and ‘Have Mercy’ remain firm ’45 favourites. My love for this brilliant vocal trio was what first attracted me to this dub album, as it contained versions of some of their hits – in addition to dubs of LP tracks like ‘Go Seek Your Rights’, ‘Natural Natty’ and ‘Why Me Black Brother Why’. There were a string of other dub albums released by Channel One during that period – including ‘Satta Dub’, ‘Revival Dub’, ‘Earthquake Dub’ – but for me, ‘Vital Dub’ remains the one that still is vital. As the back cover invites – Dub Me Baby.