Tuesday, November 4, 2008



If you want to know what the other side of Dub is, you might as well check out the other side of Reggae too.

What is the other side? What are the other sides?

Well, at least one of them is a side that is not easily recognized by people in the western world, the so called first world.

And that is, that Reggae Music is first and foremost a Sufferer's Music. It's born in Jamaica, under the most heavy conditions. Many tunes were produced while bullets were flying around studio's in what was just another gangster war.

How do you think you think you play under circumstances like that?

Another, yes yet another side is the musical technology that was used in the days when Reggae was developed.

Studio's like Channel One and King Tubby's DUB Laboratory were created by technical experts who were able to create sound equipment with material that musicians in the West felt too good for. Yes, even the school-bands who can't even get a single tone right.

What many perceive to be the "charm of Reggae" (especially the older recordings), is directly related to all these conditions. The rough sound, and the heartical vibes come out of the soul of the sufferers.

Perhaps the most extreme example of this is the legendary STUDIO ONE. Many of the basslines that make Reggae Music were born in that studio.

Decades later still going strong!

With nothing more then a two track, and later a four-track Coxsone Dodd literally recorded the start of so many of Reggae's legends.

You name them, they started at Studio One.

And you hear it. Because the sound of Studio One stands symbolic for the fact that Reggae Music is first and foremost a sufferer's music.

And that's the other side of Reggae. And with that, the other side of Dub.

It's a great album, a classic among the classics. In a nice combination of versions (dubby instrumentals) and Toasting Tunes, you hear how only true masters managed to get a sound like this under conditions like that.

And the Lone Ranger? He was the Toaster or DJ at Studio One.

Toasting is Reggae Rapping. Or actually, Rapping is R&B Toasting. Just another side of Dub.

On The Other Side Of Dub you can hear the Lone Ranger toasting. And while you do, you can rightfully wonder why you perhaps know so little of him. Because the Lone Ranger is just as good or better than toasters like Dillinger and Trinity.

So there you have a lot of reasons to buy this album.

First, it is a proof of the fact that Reggae is a Sufferer's Music. No doubt about it when you hear this one.

Second, it is an impressive document of the technical skills of players, vocalists and producers at the legendary Studio One.

Third, Lone Ranger simply is one of the top toasters of Jamaica during the 1970's.

Do It!



This is a really great sampler of Jamaican Reggae Music as it was played in the late 1970's, early 1980's.

Almost a decade worth of music on one album, and every track has his own story, relevance and niceness. Good for friends, connaiseurs, music lovers and dj's. Mmm... Someone did a very good in compiling this album!

Many different styles are presented to the listener, all of them based around the production skills of Mike Brooks.

Long parts of stricktly drum and bass with vocals on top. Early dancehall or Rub a Dub style Solid drum and basslines!

Deep Roots freaks you to every corner of your mind because of the deep phasers, accompanied by lyrics sung from the heart.

Straight up Rockers in the classic Revolutionairies Style: militant and forward. Guaranteed to make everybody move and Groove To The Riddim.

And if that doesn't convince you, simply take a look at the All-Star list of vocalists and know they are all backed by the classic groups that CREATED the music we now know to be a part in our souls.

When you take a look at the list of friends with whom Mike Brookes made the vibes during the period of 1976-1983, it becomes clear that the word "just" not only a mere understatement, it's totally misplaced!

Barry Brown. Don Carlos. Jah Lloyd a.k.a. Jah Lion. Errol Dunkley. Man oh man, this really rocks hard!



Horace Andy. One of the most remarkable vocalists within Reggae Music fe real.

As a young boy, he's singing tunes at Jamaica's Studio One as a natural talent. Decades later, he is a top-class singer who rides a digital riddim with big ease. Many will recognize his voice as the singer in the world famous Massive Attack track "One Love"!

Massive Attack has surely brought Horace Andy to many people's attention. Being the huge Reggae Fans that they are, they probably felt more honoured to have Horace Andy sing for them then vice versa.

And they did Reggae Music a great service by introducing Horace Andy to the general public. And not only Horace Andy, by the way. They have also made excessive use of the services man who holds the scepter in ARIWA studios. Yes, the Mad Professor!

Now take a way the trip-hop beats and leave Mad Professor and Horace Andy do their own thing, and you'll get a product which naturally exceeds any Massive Attack productions in quality and spritual vibrations.

What you'll get is Life Is For Living". Horace Andy singing over Ariwa Riddims, skillfully mixed by Mad P. himself.

Bob Marley and the Wailers, King Tubby, Sly and Robbie - The Ultimate Reggae Dub & Riddim Collection

Bob Marley and the Wailers, King Tubby, Sly and Robbie - The Ultimate Reggae Dub & Riddim Collection

When you're browsing through the Reggae CD's at these mega stores, you are bombarded with all kinds of compilation CD's of which sometimes the covers already say enough.
"DON'T BUY ME", they scream.

There's a big change you're going to skip this one too. The picture on the cover isn't really attractive, and we've seen too many albums with titles such as this one to be convinced that it really describes the content.

And this is definitely not the ultimate Reggae Dub and Riddim collection. Obviously.

However, if I were you I wouldn't skip over this collection too soon either. Because it really does give you a good impression of Dub music.

Two discs carrying pretty interesting stuff! Full albums that can really be considered crucial, along with some very nice singles, this collection really is packed to the max.

What to say about the full album DUB ROCKERS DELIGHT, simply presented as a collection of Sly and Robbie dubs on this "compilation"? Tunes which have been sung over by none less than Don Carlos and Lacksley Castell. Yes, that one surely is crucial.

The album is followed by a selection of King Tubby mixes of riddims layed down by Sly and Robbie in the Channel One Studio. Before the Roots Radics became the Channel One Studio Band, Sly and Robbie have been the backbone of two preceding studio-bands: the Aggrovators and the Revolutionaries. Their sound is legendary until this day. Listen to the set of Bob Marley "covers" that they played back in the 1970's, in stricktly DUBWISE STYLE.

The second disc is packed with riddims played by the Wailers and the studio band of Lee Perry's BLACK ARK. This shows a side of Bob Marley's work that has not often been heard by the average Reggae fan.

Many stories have been told about this period of Bob Marley's progression. Not the least one is that all the recording he did with Lee Perry seemed to have been pirated by the latter. At least, according to Bunny Wailer in a documentary broadcasted by the BBC.

But of course that doesn't take away anything from the quality and relevance of the tunes on the second disc of this noteworthy compilation. The music has been played with JAH love and you can hear that.

All in all, I would definitely recommend this compilation each and everyone who is interested in Dub and Reggae, as it gives a really good idea about just three aspects of this great culture.

But "The Ultimate Reggae Dub And Riddim Collection"? Of course not. Because that collection consists out of 100,000's of albums fe true. And sure it must be somewhere, but where?

Yabby You - Dub It to the Top

Yabby You - Dub It to the Top

When you want to buy Reggae Music, having a bit of background knowledge can proof to be quite fruitful.

The way albums are presented and credited is often different then how this is done in western music.

Let me give you an example: it might be that you like the singer Yabby You very much. You know his albums One Love, One Heart and Fleeing From The City and you think it's great.

So when you would see this album, Dub It To The Top, you might think it's another album which features this singer Yabby You.

But that's not the case.

Yabby You is indeed a singer, but also a producer. He is the one who discovered one of my all time favorite Reggae singers: Michael Prophet.

The mighty King Tubby has mixed plenty of Dubs for Yabby the producer as well.

And both are present on this album, but you won't see a mention of it in the title.

It's a part of Reggae Culture. Because now Yabby's skills as producers are highlighted and another time his skills as a singer.

Dub It To The Top is an 18 track collection of great DUBS by tracks which Yabby (helped) produce(d).

Many of the riddims are well-known in the inner circle of Reggae enthusiasts.

The first part is reserved for some crucial and militant Rockers music mixed skillfully by the Master. The second contains brain-smashing dubs from some of the hottest Michael Prophet tunes.

You must buy this album!

The versatility of possibilities within Reggae music becomes apparent when you realize the different vibe in each tune.

Heavy dubbing, jazzy vibes with hornsman Tommy Mc Cook blowing his way over the rhythm. Vocal snippets from singers and deejays echoing on top of essential drum and bass lines.

And the styles are manifold too. Don't ever think that Reggae Music is just another style, no it is a RHYTHM with many styles and varieties. On this album you'll get acquainted with some of these styles.

In a period of just three years, Yabby managed to produce some crucial Rockers music as you can hear in the first part of the disc.

And in the second part you'll be introduced to some early Rub a Dub music, dancehall music before it became the coke headed babylonian style shortly after Bob Marley's death.

All tunes have been used by Reggae Singer MICHAEL PROPHET (One of Yabby You's Discoveries, along with Black Uhuru's Michael Rose) who you can hear throughout the many crucial DUBS that Blood and Fire put on that second part.

In fact it wasn't Blood and Fire who did the selection. They just reissued "Yabby You Meets Michael Prophet: Vocal & Dub". And according to the LINER NOTES that come with this release, the "crème de la crème" of Jamaican Dub participated on it. But you don't have to read these notes to know this: the sound speaks for itself.

Dub it from the top to the very last drop in this essential course how to dub it to the top!

Culture - Harder Than The Rest

Culture - Harder Than The Rest

Get ready for a Roots experience, brought to you by true masters of the genre.

An all-star list of musicians playing a skillfully arranged style of Reggae Music that will keep you rocking from the top to the very last drop.

Joseph Hill and his fellow singers riding the rhythms like cowboys drive their horses.

So of course this album will satisfy your hunger for more after listening to other Culture albums.

Just for a while, though.

Because you'll want more, and more, and more.

Culture's raw and engaged vocals have impressed Roots music lovers ever since they marked their permanent place in the Reggae Top with their debut.

And the tradition is continued with Harder Than The Rest.

This combination of truth and right with righteous reggae has proven to stand the test of time. Yes, that's why it's called Roots, you know. It can't dead.


And hard.

Album after album after album.

Culture - Cumbolo

Culture - Cumbolo

If you want to know what is Rockers Music, well, then you can always put this album in the player.

Culture's Cumbolo is a school example of Rockers Music fe true.

And not just, because Sly and Robbie lay down a solid foundation of Drum and Bass for an all star list of musicians to fill with incredible horn themes and tight riddim skanks.

Not just, because when you approach the album in a technical way you will find that this is solid music based on well thought of ideas and themes.

For there is more to Roots Music than just the technical approach. It has to do with the contents of the lyrics as well, and how they are brought.

And that is exactly, where this album enters.

Righteous Rastamen singing truth and right from the depths of their souls.

Yes, this is Rockers. Stricktly Rockers.

It makes you relaxed to fill you with energy again. It makes you strong when you feel weak. It makes you long for more.

And more.

Peter Tosh once called it "Reggaemylitus" and right he was. You'll get hooked fe true by listening to music such as you can find on Cumbolo, truly one of Culture's strongest albums.

Culture - Baldhead Bridge

Culture - Baldhead Bridge

There is a reason why so many artists can be very good and never ever will be able to reach to the heart and soul.

There is a reason why vocal groups such as Culture have impressed so many with their debut Two Sevens Clash and the follow-up album Baldhead Bridge.

You guessed it, it has nothing to do with talent. Not really, that is. And it has also nothing to do with getting the best musical education in the world.

There is not a trick in the book to reach the heart.

Or is there?

Well, it's not really a trick.

Or maybe it is.

It might have something to do with the strong conviction that the members of Culture display in their music. An awareness of Babylon combined with a desire to speak out for JAH and truth and right.

Maybe that's why some will always wonder why they love Culture Music so much and yet may never be able to know why.

Baldhead bridge is just one example.

When you listen to the music and meditate over the words, you will feel it and know it.

Culture - At Work

Culture - At Work

In Reggae Culture, we can find many harmony groups: one lead singer and one or two, or even three back ground vocalists.

Just thinking of a few isn't really that difficult: Israel Vibration, Black Uhuru, Wailing Souls, and of course Culture.

And we shouldn't forget that the Wailers originally started out as a vocal trio too.

Culture ruled the Jamaican charts when Bob Marley and the Wailers were riding the international charts, and that gives an indication to the relevance of the works of Culture.

This album will introduce you to Culture at work: catchy riddims, vocals from the heart.

Many consider it to be one of their weaker albums, but if that really is, then it says something about Culture's Quality!

Oh yes, it's true that the music on Culture At Work is quite different then the Rockers we can find on classics such as Culture's debut Two Sevens Clash, but the music is well digestive.

Especially when you realize that in 1986 (when this album was originally recorded) Jamaica was being flooded with cocaine in an attempt by Babylon System to stop the movement of Rastafari from liberating the people's minds.

And Culture has always been on the forefront in the struggle against Babylon.

Mad Professor - Beyond The Realm Of Dub

Mad Professor - Beyond The Realm Of Dub

In the 1980's, Mad Professor released his -now legendary- "Dub Me Crazy" series. Mad Professor not only established his name with them, he also definitely established a standard in DUB mixing with that line of albums of which this is the second one. Effects form the sound, there's almost no dry ("effectless") instrument to be heard. Things which are usually in the back of the mix come forward because of the massive amount of effects they're being put through. These are the kinds of dubs of which their vocal counter-parts can hardly be recognized. Dubwise time! Yes, this album is best enjoyed in an ire atmosphere with good speakers. Close your eyes, and you will find out just how mad this professor is and just how crazy you can become from experiencing this chapter.

The tracks used for this album are all tight, Roots Reggae Riddims. They make you move and groove, from the first to the last one. Sometimes slow, sometimes fast, sometimes mellow and sometimes militant. The tunes are well selected, the way of mixing makes them into one chapter. Just one chapter in a line of albums which are very rightfully called "Dub Me Crazy".

Mad Professor - Afrocentric Dub

Mad Professor - Afrocentric Dub

Yet another masterpiece by the hands of the Mad Professor, straight out of the Asylum of Dub. This album contains some of the ruffest riddims from Mad Professor's ARIWA Studio's. Most of the ten killers are kicking DUBS from Michael Prophet's album Rootsman, which is ofcourse also an Ariwa release. Ofcourse?

Yes. Mad Professor mixes and produces music which is recorded in his own studio and he also releases the material. A common, but often misunderstood aspect of Reggae Culture. So that's why you'll find Michael Prophet on tracks attributed to Mad Professor. Or vice versa, in the case of Michael Prophet's Rootsman. Mad Professor definitely goes deeper where he stopped on that album: complicated echo's, more filters, more this and more that. When you own Rootsman, you must also have this one.

And just like "Rootsman", this album has a conscious theme. Many people complain that Dub can not have a message, which is nonsense if you just realize how much a title can say, a few words here and there can have more impact than a lyrical stream. Afrocentricic Dub has all this, too.

So much to say about this album, even before I even mentioned the magnificent Dubbing performed by Mad Professor. There is not a single part on this album in which there is not something going on. Sometimes subtle, sometimes provokingly loud. Enough to keep you playing this album again and again and again.

Mad Professor - A Carribean Taste Of Technology

Mad Professor - A Carribean Taste Of Technology

Get a Caribbean taste of technology: lay back and enjoy a Dubwise experience extravaganza. Mad Professor, one of the biggest pioneers in Dubwise mixes at his best in this 1985 DUB album. The riddims are crucial and the selection well balanced. The mixes are psychedelic, to use an understatement. Decades after it's original release, this album still serves as an example for many contemporary producers. Layers of effects on effects, digital niceness and analogue equipment. Every drum and bass line will make you rock and groove, and what comes on top of that, well, just let it flow inside your soul for maximum effect. It is an undisputed fact, that DUB originated in Jamaica. Jamaica is an island in the Caribbean, labelled as "undeveloped" or "third world". When you enjoy the heavy heavy DUB tunes on this album, more then two decades after their creation, you may realize how incredibly offensive such a label is for countries deliberately kept poor. Poor in money, but definitely not poor in creativity as well as messages of righteousness.

Michael Prophet - Rootsman

Michael Prophet - Rootsman

This one you just can't refuse. Michael Prophet's ROOTSMAN will be more than satisfactory for various people and for different reasons. For the DUBheads, because of the magnificent mixing by Mad Professor. For the lovers of Full Lyrical works, because this is the best album from one of Reggae's top vocalists. For the Conscious people, because all tracks are based on a conscious subjects. Presenting one of ARIWA Studio's finest releases, definitely the personal favourite for at least the coming 6 months. ROOTSMAN contains ten vocal tracks, and two dubs. Michael Prophet rides all ten riddims as only a conscious man can ride an upfull Reggae Riddim. Straight from the heart. And when a conscious heart expresses himself, this gives the vibe some people always will wonder how to get... Here it is, Michael Prophet giving you truths and rights on an All-Killer-No-Filler release.

Most of the tracks are steppers, there's a few one drops as well, ending with a tune called "My Lord", which sounds like the "the next love song" at first glance. Only this is a love song to the Most High JAH. Kind of Special Livication. There's two DUBs on the album as well, but Mad Professor also mixed dubs from this album on his own DUB releases as well.

Mad Professor also did a superb job on this release. It is difficult to make a dubby mix and still have the complete lyrics in it too, but this album shows Professor can do it. In his own style, righteous and wild, well versatile as I would say... Really, this one you just can't refuse!

ViaJAH Morgan - Reggae Poetry For The Soul

ViaJAH Morgan - Reggae Poetry For The Soul

Let me give you a couple of reasons why you really must buy this album. ONE: When you want to have an album of which the title covers the content, you got to check this one. This truly is "Reggae Poetry For The Soul".

TWO: ViaJAH Morgan is a very talented poet and he can ride virtually every style of riddim. The music therefor is well versatile, every style is covered. One time it's the style that Linton Kwesie Johnson made popular, the other time the music is much more Jamaican. One time it's rub a dub, the other time it's bubbling/dancehall. But every track is unique in it's style.

THREE: There isn't one track on this collection of intelectual utterances that deals with vanity. Every track is conscious and tells it like it is. Psalms to worship the Most High. Teachings to explain Black Culture to a wide audience. Prophecy to babylon system. Calls for justice. And calls for emancipation of mental slavery.

FOUR: The album is available on CDBABY, which is an online CD Store for online and independant artists. This too is a reason to buy the album: you will directly support the artist. And he deserves your support. You'll get 17 tracks on this album: it's packed with High Quality music and lyrics.

When you want to listen to the music before you buy, that's possible too. Almost all tracks can be previewed for 2 minutes in mp3 format.


Zema - Black Sheep

Zema - Black Sheep

When she trod her first steps on the musical field, she was only seven years old. Now in 2003 she is labelled as "one of today's top female modern Roots Reggae vocalists" and can look to a great response to the release of her 4th album. A response, which she describes to DUBROOM.com as "overwhelming", while she prepares herself for a visit to the other side of the planet for some concerts to promote Black Sheep. There's obviously a hunger for some Righteous Roots Rock Reggae and Zema (pronounced Zay-Ma) is definitely among the providers! The album was recorded in Kingston, Jamaica and contains the musical works of an impressive list artists. If you ever saw the superb Reggae movie "Rockers", you'll remember the drummer that was playing the head role. Leroy "Horsemouth" Wallace drummed the rhythms on Black Sheep as well. Yabby You helped out technically. And what to say about Dean Frazer, the legendary saxophone player that featured on many classic Reggae Albums? Not to mention Skully on percussion, or Zacky (Twinkle Brothers) on keyboards. With Zema's Black Sheep you are listening to a group of Reggae Music Originators, without a doubt.

The music sounds fresh and tight and the (way too few!) Dubs contain some spaced out echo's. This is Roots Reggae, played and recorded with modern equipment. But definitely without compromise! And also without compromise are the lyrics. The words reveal the path Zema is walking on. A conscious path of walking in life with Jah, the Most High. This path can be lonely and persecution is almost galore, but it's the richest way too because (s)he that is able to praise Him in Truth and Spirit, Roots and Reggae, is free. The Black Sheep is free!

In these current times, we need more heartical and uplifting music. This album shows that it can be done. And when you know Zema's 2nd and 3rd albums, you want to have this one as well. The music has moved towards a deeper roots and the production makes sure you'll hear something new everytime you hear it. The only reason why the album hasn't a full three stars is because there are only three Dubs on the album.

Gregory Isaacs - Dub A Di Number One

Gregory Isaacs - Dub A Di Number One

An album with a title like this one, containing heavy duty riddims and mixes from such as Ernest Hoo-Kim and Errol T is a must for every lover of Dubwise Style as I would say. But does the title cover the contents? I think so! That is why this album gets the highest possible rating of three full stars.

During his long time carriere, Gregory has put out some massive Roots and DUB tunes. Although Gregory Isaacs is mostly known for his smooth Lovers' Rock tunes, there is another side of the Cool Ruler and that side is prominently featured on this album. This side makes him interesting for the hard core Dub heads who you can't get into enjoying Lovers' Rock.

For those who are familiar with Gregory Isaac's great Dub album "Slum Dub": Dub A De Number One definitely contains the same atmosphere. The same thing you'll also find on the Blood and Fire Inner Circle release Heavyweight Dub. The music rocks hard and the echo's go straight to your head. Everything in in the "orthodox" Roots tradition.

But Dub Da Number One goes further than the two albums mentioned above. It contains a set of dubs "From the Archives" so to speak, mostly stuff which was previously unreleased (and I wonder why), but you'll also find dubs from a recent release, "I found Love". This album was produced together with the famous Reggae guitarist Ernest Ranglin. Now, the great thing with this all is, that you don't have to expect some digital cross-over music, or ragga when you know that there's recent music on the disc too.

Riddim after riddim, some pretty well known, mix after mix, the album remains interesting. Every now and then I just got to get up from my chair, stop writing and start skanking. Time to disturb the neighborhood and remind them, that Dub is The Number One. Fortunately, they agree!

Freddie Mc Gregor - Big Ship

Freddie Mc Gregor - Big Ship

This album has inspired the name for Freddie Mc Gregor's "Big Ship Studio's", in which he keeps working his work. His work is to sing music, Reggae Music. And he does so ever since he was seven years old. And that was in 1963, so imagine his experience and the things he witnessed. This surely is another Channel One Classic!

That's why Big Ship has the typical rub-a-dub sound of the 1980's. A sound that is still loved by many, including your's truly. A sound that has a heavy drum and bass foundation, playing a pumping rhythm, some effects here and there, the list goes on and on. Big Ship also has a mix between let's say heavyweight and lightweight lyrics. Freddie shows he's perfectly at home in both area's.

His voice rides the riddims on the album like a big ship on the ocean, the Black Star Liner.

A lot of Dub Freaks with a special ear for the Scientist, will also appricilove this album, as they will recognize that the tracks on Big Ship are the "originals", the vocal tracks of the Dubs that they love so much. I know I did when I heard this specially recommended selection of great tunes in a strict Rub A Dub tradition as it could only come from Channel One and similar Jamaican Studio's in that particular time, the late 1970's/early 1980's.

Enjoy "Rootsman Skanking", "Let me Be The One" and get some consciousness to ya in the form of tracks like "Holy Mount Zion" and "Big Ship". A versatile document of Rub a Dub Stylee!

Willie Williams - One Love

Willie Williams - One Love

There are many names in Reggae that are not as known as they should be. Take Willie Williams, for example. He is the one who created great tracks like Messenger Man and the great Ammagideon Time, a Conscious Reggae Classic containing the following words:

"Lots of people won't get no supper tonight, Lots of people going to stand up for their right. Just remember, To praise Jahovah, And He will guide us in this Iration Cause the battle is getting hotter, in this Iration, it's ammagideon...."

Ring a bell? The track has even been played by the well-known british Punk-Rock band "The Clash", according to the official Willie Williams Website. As with many Jamaican Reggae artists, the brother started his runnings in the famous Studio One. This studio gave birth to many riddims, used unto this very day! A if not The perfect foundation for a Reggae Carriere as I would say.

If there is one word to describe Willie's music, it must be the word consciousness. And to proof this statement, one only has to check out this Smugg Records release containing a lot of rare and even previously unreleased tracks by this Reggae Prophet. Sixteen tracks of pure consciousness! And the music rocks too, well versatile I would say as the major styles of Reggae are present on the album. Tight Rub a Dub, skanking Roots music, Dub Effects and Full Instrumentation: it's all there. It even has a few "digi-tunes", to make the dancehall fan move and groove to this One Love album as well.

Various - Triple Dons 1

Various - Triple Dons 1

Under the slogan "Roots Revival, Dancehall Survival", UK based Record Label SMUGG RECORDS releases quite some interesting material from respected artists such as Willy Williams and Horace Andy. The latter is prominently present on one of their latest releases, a rubadub/dancehall compilation called Triple Dons 1. Triple Dons? Yes I! This album contains 18 great tracks from Frankie Paul, Johnny Osbourne and Horace Andy. They are "dons" all right! And the ones who have been selecting tunes for this compilation are also dons. What to say about Bunny Lee? This is a legendary producer who has released many hard rocking tunes over the years. He was involved! Over one hour of highly danceable material which will be enjoyed to the fullness when the volume is set on max. You'll find a lot tunes from the early days of digital dancehall, but this material will proof to be interesting at least for the "analogue puritans" too.

Listen to the mighty, mighty Frankie Paul as he makes a heartical plea to stop the war, for example. Feel Horace Andy singing about love and relationships, a major theme in Dance Hall music, as only he can do it. Experience Johnny Osbourne's Juggling, as his soulful voice rides a highly danceable digital rhythm.

Most of the tracks on the album come from the days when the drum computer entered the Jamaican Studio's. There was a lot of protest about it, then. But listening back, you can hear a lot of creativity in the programmed drums. Digitality was a novelty in that days, and novelties can work inspiring. I believe that this creativity is caught on Triple Dons 1.

Various - We Are Getting Bad - The Sound Of Phase One

Various - We Are Getting Bad - The Sound Of Phase One

Motion Records starts off the year 2003 with a high quality collection of Hard Rocking Reggae Riddims originally released by Jamaican Label "Phase One" in the late 1970's. "We Are Getting Bad" contains almost 75 minutes of material never released on CD and even more, two previously unreleased killer DJ tracks! Obscure tracks, as the name(s) of the DJ('s) are not even known! Where Phase One never wanted to license their tunes to the more established Reggae companies, they teamed up with UK based Motion Records for this one. The album contains much variety: Dubs, DJ'ing, Vocals, and Maxi Singles. All tracks are Hard Stepping tunes: well produced, well played, well sung. This is definitely a release in the category "All Killer, No Filler". Hear vocal groups as the Chantells and the Heptones. DJ's such as U Brown and Jah Berry. Dean Fraser's saxophone play. Superb Dub Mixing by such as Ernest Hoo Kim.

This release shows how much great music is made in Jamaica. Everytime, another vault opens and timeless music comes out. It's a shame, that the majority of these tracks never found their way to a bigger audience in the times they were created, but it shows just how much Jamaican music was ahead of it's time in the 1970's.

Completely in the tradition of Quality re-releases, "We Are Getting Bad" comes with a mini booklet written by a respected writer. For Motion Records, this is Lee Perry biographer David Katz. The booklet contains an interview with the head of Phase One, who currently (January 2003) runs things at the famous Mixing Lab studios. Katz uses the interview as a framework for his very interesting description of the culture in which the music came to existence.

All in all, I would say that this release should be in your Roots Reggae and Dub collections. When you respect yourself, that is. The music is simply great and the booklet gives enough inside information to enjoy the music into a deeper level. Buy!

Alpha & Omega - Serious Joke

Alpha & Omega - Serious Joke

Heavyweight Dub coming your way! Leading UK Dub Duo Alpha and Omega coming with 2 vocals and 10 Dub Shots to enhance the musical atmosphere with their mystical vibes and to make you move and groove from the top to the very last drop. It's their 19th album and this one has the potential to appeal to a broader public the "just" the Dub lovers. Serious Joke stands out among other current Dub releases. On many tracks, Alpha and Omega created a middle-eastern atmosphere by using melody lines and structures from that region, and integrated it into the concept of DUB without any problem. The basses remain very heavy, the drums stay on top, effects are galore. The riddims are catchy and original. Many Reggae and Dub albums are in fact a collection of singles, but this album is one complete thing. So when the whole record is played, the experience is the strongest. It's a good experience.

Another nice thing, is that on this album you can also find the voice of Messian Dread. As a part of a small collaboration project in which the two Dub Producers made a completely new riddim around just a vocal track from the other, Alpha and Omega re-did "Wolves", and dubbed it in their own style.

An intense style. If there is one thing that would describe Alpha and Omega, it would be their intense dubs. Regardless as to whether they use the militant rhythm of the steppers drums, or the more relaxed two drop, it stays intense. When you put on Alpha and Omega, they are there. You can't really use their music as "sound-wallpaper", it has to be played loud.

Clint Eastwood - Real Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood - Real Clint Eastwood

Reggae Culture is very rich in traditions and expressions. One aspect of Reggae Culture, is that in the Dance Halls, where DJ's are toasting (Reggae Rapping), some have chosen the same name as a movie star. Lee Van Cleef. Charlie Chaplin. And of course, Clint Eastwood. He is the younger brother of well-known Roots DJ Trinity and a good friend of Dillinger, another famous name in the genre of Reggae DJ. Together with General Saint he scored a world hit with their rendering of "Stop That Train". With these things in mind, the title of the album is funny. Cause the Real Clint Eastwood is a DJ that make you rock and swing on some of the greatest music from the 1970's! Some facts: Most tracks are produced by Bunny Lee and all of them are mixed by King Tubby. The music was played by the Aggrovators (Sly And Robbie) in 1979. Fourteen tunes, with a total playing time of just over 52 minutes.

On this album, you'll hear very hard and deep roots tunes. The kind of tunes that make you turn up the volume until the place starts to shake and thing. When the Aggrovators play and the Godfather of DUB, King Tubby, mixes it up for the DJ to chat over, a lot of musical hearts start to beat faster. Including mine. Sly and Robbie show why they are called the rhythm twins: super tight Drum and Bass Lines as I would say! Clint Eastwood has his own style of toasting. It is influenced by his elder brother Trinity, but definitely he's got his own. His rolling pronunciation of the "R', Kung-Fu style of breathing (in the style of Dillinger) and variety of subjects make this record a very welcome addition to your Roots and Culture collection.

Tappa Zukie - MPLA

Tappa Zukie - MPLA


Those of you who like to listen to Dubroom Radio, must be aware of my personal gladness when it comes to Roots Reggae in DJ Style. Reggae rhythms, mixed in Dub style, while DJ's are rhythmically chanting on top of it. It's a genre known as "toasting", which has been the foundation for a popular style such as Hip-Hop.

M.P.L.A. is an album which you can let people listen to, when they want to know some more about Toasting. Originally, the music on M.P.L.A. was released in 1978. VIRGIN RECORDS, the publisher of this great material, has been releasing crucial Reggae music since the 1970's, and many of their releases are strong until this day. This album is no exception. Unfortunately, the album contains just ten tracks, but the fact that the disc is in mid-price compensates it.

The record starts with PICK UP THE ROCKERS. "Rockers today, you will love it tomorrow", Tapper chants on top of a tight One Drop riddim, with sparse guitars and other instruments dropping in and out while the drum and the bass play on.

The second one is one of Tapper's best known tracks, the title track for this one. A militant steppers rhythm, a great horn section dubbed perfectly, and an incredibly strong bassline form the main ingredients for this killer track. M.P.L.A., one of Tapper's best tracks indeed!

After a storm there must be a calm, they say. On this album, the calm comes in the form of DON'T GET CRAZY: a one drop with some very prominent echo's. The recording is very lo-fi on this one.

The fourth track, GO DEH NATTY is more up tempo. Riding on a well known bassline which keeps the track going on like a train!

After this one, Tappa rides over a dub from Horace Andy's hit Skylarking. STOP THE GUN SHOOTING contains a heartical call on the people to stop fighting and shooting each other. A theme which you can see many times within Reggae. Where there is poverty and social injustice, the poor people start to fight each other too and many Reggae Musical works to make the people unite and fight against injustice instead of each other.

ITAL POT is the next one. A One Drop rhythm with the famous Flying Cymbals style, where the Hi Hat opens on the same time as the skanks of the guitar and piano. It's a dub from Johnny Clarke's rendering of "Creation Rebel".

After this, track called MARCUS. Marcus Garvey, the Jamaican black freedom fighter. He is highly respected in Jamaica and many Reggae Artists have made one or more tributes to him. This track contains some beautiful horn licks, fragments of Johnnie Clarke's voice with echo added to it, while Tappa Zukie chants on top with his very special voice.

Track number 8 is called Challis to Challis. Again, the flying cymbals enter. The rhythm is relaxed yet intense. Fragments of guitar play enter the track like a cutting razor, parts in which you only hear the singer singing, and then echo's come in while the drum and the bass start playing again. Nice One!

DON'T DEAL WITH BABYLON is next. An intense track, Tappa's messaging voice crying heartically about the things Babylon does to keep down the Natty Dreads. Even when Dread don't deal with Babylon, them still come to mash it down.

The last track of the album is called FREEDOM. It contains all the necessary ingredients for a good Roots DJ track: consciousness, solid bass and drum, great Dub mixing.

MPLA is a great album when you want to hear some conscious toasting. Although Tappa Zukie has released "slackness", this album only contains "conscious tracks". They all have a social or spiritual subject and that is a good thing.

Various - Ready When You Ready

Various - Ready When You Ready

This is the second edition of a series of Rub a Dub sounds re-released by the UK label SMUGG RECORDS. Where other labels who specialized themselves in re-releasing Reggae tend to lean more towards the more Rootsy Reggae from the 70's, this label also acknowledges the quality and timelessness of Jamaican dancehall music. Rub a Dub music, as early dancehall was called, is the keyword for this album. An album containing 19 tracks with a total length of 66:05. A compilation, with an impressive line-up: Don Carlos, Frankie Paul, Gregory Isaacs, Horace Andy, Johnny Clarke, and many more. All tracks are highly danceable, and show the many sides of Rub a Dub as well. Some tracks are mixed heavily in Dub style, with long parts of drum and bass, some are programmed, or a combination. And even the most stiff-necked haters of programmed music would admit, that in the majority of tracks the singing is simply beautiful. Specially nice are the openings track (Danny Vergo - Champion Sound), the well-known Don Carlos track Mr. Big Man and Barry Brown's Next Door Girl. And not all tracks a voiced by singers, Danny Dread's Ginal Girl is a nice example of some rub a dub toasting ("Reggae Rapping").

Do I have only positive things to say? Well, in general, yes. It's a really good compilation of tunes. Ofcourse, not all tracks could move me. The amount of albums that deserve the three star "All Killer No Filler" mark are not many anyway so that wouldn't make this album exceptionally. But for those who like to dance on Rub a Dub tunes: this album is recommended for your collection. And it would also serve as an introduction to this style of music to your friends.

All in all, this album is the one you play hard at parties, most of the tracks will make people jump up for some heavy skanking. And don't let the cover art make you think that it's only love-songs on the album, as there's a significant portion of conscious lyrics on the compilation.

Brigadier Jerry - Jamaica, Jamaica

Brigadier Jerry - Jamaica, Jamaica

Many people speak about Roots Reggae and how they love it. Many, many Roots Reggae classics are being re-released by such labels as Blood And Fire: a true Labour of Love.

And for many, Reggae stopped somewhere in the end of the 1970's. The re-issues surely give that impression a bit.

On the Internet I have seen complaints about that, because there is so much emphasis on the era of Rockers, that the Reggae created afterwards is ignored, where it could really cater to a Roots Audience.

I am talking about the RUB A DUB Style, as Dancehall Reggae was called in the end of the 1970's, early 1980's. Cool and laid back rhythms accompanied by Dub and Dubby effects.

One of the true Dub Masters in that genre must be the Scientist. This protégée of the legendary King Tubby his mixed an incredible amount of Dubs in Channel One Studio's. And not only Dub albums on his own name, he worked on many more albums.

Including this one, the 1985 debut album from "fast toaster" Brigadier Jerry, a member of the Rastafarian organization 12 Tribes of Israel, since 1978.

As a Toaster ("Reggae Rapper"), he started his musical career in this same year. Why it took him so long before his first album was released, nobody knows. But when it arrived, in the last days of Rub a Dub (perhaps), it was a welcome addition and alternative to the then rising Dance Hall Style of Ragga.

The set starts of with the title track, in extended style. Dubwise music from the top to the very last drop. Hear scientist use the digital echo and other effects to enhance Briggie's lyrics and the riddim of the drum and bassline.

The second track "Jah Jah Move" is a little more energetic and hails up Jah and the Bible in which you can "find the truth for yourselves", as Brigadier Jerry says.

After this comes the track called "Jah Love Music", with Scientist creating a lot of heavy and long echo's on the drum and the horn section.

Track number four contains another meditation of worship to Jah, "Give Thanks And Praise", in which Briggy does a little singing and more melodic style of toasting every now and then.

Track five speak about daily life, "Everyman A Mi Bredrin", one of the lesser strong tracks in my opinion. "Kushungpeng", the track after that, is also not one of the strongest tracks. It could have been improved by some wild Dub mixing, but for some reason the Scientist choose to do otherwise. A

fter this, strength comes again in a beautiful rendering of Bunny Wailer's classic "Armagideon" on which Briggy Jerry chants words from the Bible and from own observation and reading out of the book of Revelation, out of the Bible.

The album closes of with "Three Blind Mice", in which Brigadier Jerry gives a demonstration in Rub a Dub toasting, he chants all kinds of words that have not a meaning but sound very rhythmical and are very difficult to do yourself. Or in other words: Don't try this at home.

And as the album started, it also closes: with an extended version. Three blind mice goes over from vocal into Dub with some nice works from Scientist at the Control tower.

I would definitely recommend this album to Rub a Dub fans, to fans of Reggae Toasting, and to fans of DUB music in general.

It is one of the rare Brigadier Jerry albums that there are, and that is a true shame, because he surely remains to be one of the most talent full DJ's. Most of his tunes are straight on conscious tracks with an uplifting message to read scripture and find out for yourself, a teaching often heard in the 12 Tribes of Israel Organization.