Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Niney The Observer - Sledgehammer Dub

Niney The Observer - Sledgehammer Dub

Many reggae albums are named after their producers instead of the artists, and this one is no different. It's named after Niney (because he has nine fingers) the Observer, who had a major hit with his tune "Blood And Fire". Irony, or is my mind inspired by the great Dub that I hear? Knocked down by a Dub Sledgehammer? Anyway, the acclaimed record label BLOOD AND FIRE surely is getting company. They're no longer the only ones re-releasing old and classic Reggae in high quality packages. Here comes MOTION RECORDS!

This UK based record label has released a steady flow of high quality material during the last years, and "Sledgehammer Dub" is no less. In fact, it's the Dub from an ultra-rare Dennis Brown album called "Deep Down With Dennis Brown", but you won't hear his voice in the ten tracks that used to form Sledgehammer Dub. It has a few bonus tracks, though. They can't be resisted too, not in the least because these tracks do contain Dennis' voice.

Originally, Sledgehammer Dub was issued around 1976, in a white sleeve without a track listing. How different is this release: it comes with a complete booklet written by Lee Perry biographer David Katz, in which he interviews Niney and other people concerning the album. When you read the liner notes while listening to the music, things start to live! You'll be introduced to the wide and rich culture in which Reggae Music came to exist.

The album has an all-star list of appearance. Most of the music was played in 1972 by the well known Studio band Soul Syndicate, exactly 30 years after this re-release. Many of the tracks on the album have the "flying cymbal" sound which is more or less the trademark for this band. Then, the dubs. According to Niney, every track was mixed by the late great KING TUBBY. Does he need an introduction, being the inventor of DUB?

The four bonus tracks are very interesting too. One of them is a track called Head Line, which is a Dub from Dennis Brown's "My Time" and it includes the voice of Big Youth. Kind of funny, kind of interesting: the CD closes with a time warp to the millennium change with a dub plate from the UK Dub Rockers THE DISCIPLES. A proof, that Reggae Music is Timeless, Alive and Kicking!

To summarize this review: Sledgehammer Dub is another hit, and this one hits hard! Created by an all-star list of Reggae legends during a peak of their creativity, the album should be in every serious Dub Reggae collection. BUY IT!

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