A Summer round-up of a few “hot” Dub and Reggae releases that I haven’t managed to cover or include elsewhere.
Tony Clarke – Going Home / Hey Little Girl – Jamwax
Two tracks from Tony Clarke, rescued by France`s Jamwax, from an 10” for Ultrasonic. Dating from 1982. Clarke spent his childhood running with Waterhouse`s sound systems, before relocating to America. In New York he found some success in a variety of bands, singing and playing guitar. But he travelled back to Jamaica to record the Ultrasonic release. Hoping the trip and recording would reinforce his authenticity. The sessions, I think, employed, The We The People Band. Numbering seasoned folks such as Dean Fraser, Lloyd Parks, and Carlton Thomas. One side`s a sweet, extended chat-up line. Whose light-hearted, dance-able vibe makes me think of Michigan & Smiley`s Rub A Dub Stylee. The other`s an ode to repatriation, the journey out of Babylon, to Zion, that also references Clarke`s own JA pilgrimage. Its big B-line I`m sure I`ve heard versioned on a Scientist LP.
Jennifer Lara – Weekend Loving – Jamwax
Jamwax also expand Jennifer Lara`s Weekend Loving into four sides of vinyl. Originally released in 1985, on Ossie and Howard Thomas` Black Solidarity, it features players such as Flabba Holt, Dean Fraser, and Bingy Bunny. Tristan Palma producing, at Marley`s Tuff Gong Studios, 220 Marcus Garvey Drive, Kingston. A set of classic Lovers Rock, the standouts for me are the title track, Don`t Play Games, and (of course) the DJ-baiting fantasy, Off The Air.
Clement Coxsone Dodd created Lovers Rock specially for the UK market. The genre`s first kiss – arguably – being Louisa Mark`s 1975 single, Caught You In A Lie. Dodd`s Studio One empire – where Jennifer Lara`s career also began – is still a strong musical force. Reissuing their vast back catalogue, either in collaboration with Soul Jazz, or independently. One such reissue being the “Deluxe” double-LP, gatefold edition of Freddie McGreggor`s Bobby Bobylon.
Freddie McGregor – Bobby Bobylon – Studio One
McGreggor`s 1979 debut employed a host of Studio One “all-stars”, including Jackie Mittoo. The keyboard maestro filling the simple grooves full of strange subliminal effects. The “Deluxe” package pulls together extended Discomixes and alternate takes. Ranging in lyrical theme from shaming wrong-doers (Bobby Bobylon; Bandulo), and advocating revolution (I Man A Rasta – Freddie converted to Rastafari in 1975), to flirting in the dance (Come Now Sister). From bragging and boasting (Little Girl) to calling for love and unity for all (We Need More Love; Wine Of Violence). Ranging in style from Rocksteady, to a jazzy vibe – similar to his Natural Collie`s adaptation of Norman Connors` You Are My Starship – to dubbed-out dread (on Rastaman Camp).
Mighty Threes – Rasta Business – Jah Fingers
More “dubbed-out dread” comes in the form of Jah Fingers` reissue of Mighty Three`s Rasta Business. A late 70s Roots obscurity licensed from New Jersey label, April Records.
TNT Roots – Tears Of The Righteous – Bokeh Versions
Bokeh Versions drop some Dub proper. Giving a vinyl pressing to some previously CDR-only secrets from Earthquake Studios AKA TNT Roots. (Jah) Shaka symphonies of pixelated pizzicato, and sabre sharp stabs. Bottomless Steppers of echoed chimes, and digital blasts of delay. Designed to level the walls of Jericho.
Bunny Wailer – Dubd’sco Vol. 1 – Dub Store / Solomonic
Japan`s Dub Store have reissued Bunny Wailer`s Dubd’sco Vol. 1, from 1978. Collecting cool Dubs from a couple of singles, and Bunny`s 1976, post-Wailers solo debut, Blackheart Man. An LP considered by many – David Rodigan included – to be the best Reggae album ever recorded. The tunes are full of Black Ark-esque warmth, and infinite Nyahbinghi rattle. My favourite, Dreamland, is carried by a theremin-like whistling melody. Lending it a kind of Exotica air.
Pasty Millicent Todd – Pata Pata Rocksteady – Dub Store / Gay Feet
Dub Store also have Patsy Millicent Todd`s cute cover of Miriam Makeba`s Pata Pata, pressed up on a replica 45. Count Ossie`s band on the backing, and part of an on-going series of 1960s sevens reproduced in conjunction with Sonia Pottinger`s High Note subsidiary, Gay Feet. Caribbean-flavoured R&B out of 37 Orange Street.