DUBROOM ALBUM REVIEW
Personally, I am always very exited over albums or tracks containing both the vocal as well as the dub version in one mix. Albums with such tracks are usually called a "Showcase" in Reggae Culture. This album almost is such a showcase: only the last one doesn't come with it's Dub version. I wonder why. No space? Mmm.... This album used to an LP, but then, in this Re-issue from Ras Records it would have been a nice bonus as a CD can contain much more music then the 36 and a half minutes it lasts now. Clearly a missed change. As the title already indicates, we are talking here about an album recorded during the times in which Gregory Isaacs was a rising star. The "Cool Ruler", as the nickname of the master of the Lovers' Rock genre is called, as he rides over riddims created by Sly and Robbie's own Taxi Gang. Super-tight Roots and Culture tracks as well as some slick Lover's tunes.
The album starts of with a nice version of "Soon Forward", riding on the One Drop rhythm. Gregory's voice reaching the higher regions without problem and the Dub is, eerrr...., cool. The second track (You'll Never Know) is more energetic, as the Steppers Drum are introduced and some chord changes improve the very melodic vibe. Excessive use of Bell Percussion adds to this vibe. It could have been a little less, but then, the song isn't very long too. Track number three is a Roots and Culture song called "Motherless Children": a biblical commandment to take good care of those in need on a tight Roots Reggae rhythm. Roots and Culture is not over with only this track, cause the next song is "Slave Driver", a heartical cry to remember that injustices and wickedness will not last forever. What babylon has done to the slaves will come back at their own head. This track has become a true Reggae Classic, and many artists have recorded or performed their own version of it. Gregory's rendering is not the least of them. After this, Gregory goes back into Lovers' Rock with "Mistake", an upfull tune with some nice conga works in the mix and a dub which is way too short. Not the strongest track on the album. The one after is way and way much stronger: "Going Downtown" is a strong track about Reggae Music as freeing up the minds of people because it gives strength for those who suffer. Hear Gregory singing about the things that were done in the past and how he is not going to allow babylon to push it onto him too. The CD closes of with "I'm Coming Home". As soon as you hear the first lines, you hear that this track comes from totally different sessions than the other tunes. The track is dubby, mellow and low: chill out.
The Dubs on the album aren't really heavy, or excessively psychedelic. And many of them are not of the same length as the vocals. I've heard better dubs from Sly and Robbie and so when I listen to the riddims, I am a bit disappointed. The riddims are good and simply ask for a treat by such as Prince Jammy. The bassguitar is professionally mixed to a prominent position. I would still recommend this album to those who are interested in Reggae's history, as this album features the voice of Gregory during the time in which he was an upcoming star as well as the tight rhythm twins: Sly and Robbie. No essential addition to your collection, but also not a mis-buy.