The Independent, August 13th, 2004
© 2004 The Independent
Jah Wobble: Ten Best Dub Tracks
1 KING TUBBY MEETS
Augustus Pablo I first heard this as a pre-release in 1976. Love the sound of Augustus Pablo's melodica; I am also kinky for the sound of the dubbed-up timbale drums that feature on this recording. King Tubby was the king of pure, heavy-duty dub at that time. It was released in this country on Island Records. Hearing 'King Tubby' for the first time had a profound effect on me: it was like hearing music from another cosmos. There are any number of good King Tubby compilations now around - Trojan Records and the Blood & Fire label are good places to look.
2 CONCRETE DUB Bob
I no longer have this record... in fact, I have not heard it for probably 25 years, so I hope it does really exist and is not a figment of my imagination. If memory serves me well, it was the dub version B-side of an Island 7" single; probably of the track called 'Concrete Jungle', from the Catch a Fire album. It must have been one of the first ever domestically released dub singles. It was great to hear a dub version of a Marley track - I nearly always preferred the dub version of a tune. There was more space, and the bass and drums were pushed to the fore.
3 MARCUS GARVEY (DUB
VERSION) Burning Spear
One of the very first dub versions I ever heard. I heard it in 1975 on a Friday night on the Capital Radio reggae show. I used to listen to that show religiously - Tommy Vance was the DJ. I now occasionally hear him DJing on heavy-rock stations as I channel-hop.
4 PROMISE IS A COMFORT
TO A FOOL Trinity/Yabby You
A classic bassline, with a beautiful vocal refrain, and DJ chat. There are some bass lines that contain the whole mystery of creation within them. This is one of them. Other examples are Roy Budd's bass line to the title track of Mike Hodges Get Carter, and Cecil McBee's line on Lonnie Liston Smith's 'Expansions' are two that come immediately to mind. The crediting of reggae musicians is notoriously lax. There are three possible players, re this particular tune. All giants of the bass - Robbie Shakespeare, Aston 'Family Man' Barrett and Clinton Fearon. If I had to put money down on who it is on this track, I would say it was Mr Fearon.
5 TWO SEVENS CLASH
For a while back in 1977, you could not get away from this tune. It still sounds heavenly. It reminds me of walking back from a party in Hackney on a Sunday morning as the sun was coming up. I couldn't get the tune out of my head.
6 JUJU MUSIC King
There was a little-known dub version of this classic album, mixed by an engineer that I worked with, called Groucho. What he did was devastating. I would love to hear it again. It was on Island (again!) and was released around 1982.
7 ROWING Dennis Bovell
One of the great musicians of his generation. I used to watch him perform this with his band Matumbi. As with "Juju Music", I hankered after hearing it again. I'm pleased to say that the label Pressure Sounds has released a compilation of Dennis's dub stuff, which includes this track.
8 THE SAME SONG Israel
Similar to our own late, and very great Ian Dury, 'Skeleton,' 'Apple' and 'Wiss' [Israel Vibration's three members] were stricken by polio in the fifties. This blend of their vocals within a dub context is wonderful. Yet again, there is a great compilation on Pressure Sounds.
9 CONSCIOUS MAN DUB
Lee Perry and the Jolly Brothers
You could not have a dub selection without Lee "Scratch" Perry appearing. This is a great example of his idiosyncratic style.
10 SMILING STRANGER
This is taken from his 1980 album One World. It was one of the first records outside reggae to utilise dub techniques. Superb.
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