A Dub For Auntie Audrey

When I was still at school, musically, my friends and me made the easy transition from the 2-Tone and UB40 on Top Of The Pops to reggae and dub proper. Things move so quickly when you’re a kid but one minute I was painting a white stripe across my nose like Adam Ant and the next I was taping Rodigan On The Radio. Tuning in, I`d sit with my mates Michael and Gary as they practiced their toasts to the tracks as they played. I worked part-time, and, like any budding obsessive, saved lunch money and bus fare for records, but I lacked the resources and the real where-with-all to be any kind of “expert”. We bought the popular Greensleeves 12s – stuff like Clint Eastwood & General Saint`s Another One Bites The Dust – from the local branch of Our Price. At the other end of the high street a store called H.R. Cloakes stocked those seminal Tony McDermont sleeved Scientist dub LPs, and random JA disco mixes. Consequently Jah Lion`s Rat A Cut Bottle was among the first records I ever bought. It was for sure the first 12. One of the  shop`s assistants, a Kirk Brandon look-a-like called Tim, was a big, big On-U fanatic. 

I didn’t become a vinyl loon until I moved back to Croydon – following 3 years at Uni in Leeds – fueled by acid house / balearic, and funded by various means. In hindsight key things that got me digging were the lists of “Top Tunes” printed in the Boy`s Own fanzine, and then Andrew Weatherall`s Giving It Up sessions on pirate station, Kiss FM. Something that became all the more apparent with Andrew`s sudden passing on February 17th, 2020. As Joni once sweetly sang, “Don`t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got til its gone.”

In the 15 months and counting of pandemic there`s been a lot of lockdown-induced taking stock. Even in the middle of Japanese nowhere – where we’ve only had 5 cases of COVID – for a few months schools and work places were closed, which led to a fair bit of pottering about, and nostalgic loft clearouts. At the end of 2019 I`d been ploughing through old Jah Shaka playlists – after finding a rare dubplate recorded by Gary in the late `90s – with plans of writing a story about the gang of us growing up in South London. With everything I write the soundtrack comes first. Then when Andrew died I spent a ton of time revisiting his NTS shows, and also tapes of those Kiss broadcasts – just as I’m sure everyone whose life Andrew impacted did – and initially I focused on the reggae and dub. Doing that nerdy gig of ticking things off…got, got, got, need, need, need…and remembering when, where and why I picked up those 45s, 12s, and LPs. From the Kiss pause-buttoned compilations I recognized, and realized, of course, that Andrew`s selections had helped shape my own tastes. It was in trying to track down these tunes that I first visited Daddy Kool, on London`s Berwick Street.

The owner, Keith, could be notoriously “krusty” – I saw him throw people out for requesting the wrong record – but when I came up to the counter with a copy of Willie William`s Armagideon Time he seemed to warm to me – despite me being long-haired and stick thin – an obvious e-head / raver. He dug me out a battered copy of Gregory Issacs` Soon Come – and when I asked him about Prince Far I`s Cry Tuff Dub Encounters, he regaled me with stories of his hand in the recording of Chapter III – and memories of him and his mate running up and down cinema aisles selling bags of weed at a screening of The Harder They Come. The shop had a copy of Earthquake Studio`s Dub Harder Than Steel – which I’ve never seen anywhere else – and seemed to have everything that Mad Professor had ever done. So armed with Andrew`s list, and guided by Keith`s recommendations, my knowledge slowly grew. I mean I`d go in looking for something specific and 9 times out of 10 come out happy with something else – but isn’t that – sadly wasn’t that – what a good record shop is about. 

If you came out of Daddy Kool and turned right you hit Reckless – the first stop for second-hand originals – and then Selectadisc – which was packed with “possibly” legit reproductions – Derrick Harriot`s Scrub A Dub Reggae – for his version of Isaac Hayes` Shaft – springs to mind. Turn left and there was Ambient Soho – who carried a fair amount of obscure digidub. Uptempo steppers full of trance-y noises – Goat & Fish At The Controls` School Of Fish Dub, Iration Steppers` Scud Missile, and Rootsman`s Koyaanisqatsi.

By this time I`d moved to Streatham Hill. It`s probably posh now – I’ve no idea – but in the mid-90s prostitutes lined the main drag at night. A problem that the police attempted to solve – make disappear – by merely pushing it a single street away. One of the reasons I ended up leaving my flat on Woodleigh Gardens was the used condoms / frangers thrown in the front garden – and too many scary post-midnight altercations with pimps. The Drum Club`s Lol Hammond rented an upstairs apartment at the end of the road, and I’m pretty sure Andrew also lived nearby. I know he shopped at the local store, Inner Rhythm – buying hip hop and Black Cock edits from Damon, Paul, and Ross. While I guess their main thing was house, Inner Rhythm had a bit of everything – and from them I also bagged some great reggae comps, plus the odd 12. Stuff on Lloyd Coxsone`s Tribes Man Records, and a lot of Augustus Pablo productions – check Hugh Mandell`s Africa Must Be Free. Back in Croydon, in Our Price, the new guy at the counter, clocking my techno purchases, raved about Black Dog, and gave me promos by The Disciples. “I think you’ll like this.”

When I listen back to those Kiss cassettes – so many of the tracks for me are important, classics. I played those tapes so often – memorized them really – that those tunes became bench marks, against which everything else was measured. Brad Osbourne`s Blood, Sweat And Dunza (“A Johnny Clarke chewn!”), Yabby Youth`s Walls Of Jerusalem, Tenastelin`s Africa Is On My Mind, The Outsider – aka G.T. Moore, The Robotiks` Dodgy Contacts, a strange, anonymous, 12 with a duck on the label, Centry`s riff on Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit, and Cymande`s Rastafarian Folk Song* – which isn’t really a reggae track, but has been sampled by loads. I hope, though, I’ve made clear that it wasn’t simply the tunes, but the search they sent me on. 

Painstakingly picking over the NTS Music’s Not For Everyone track-lists I was chuffed to discover that I actually owned quite a lot of the reggae and dub dropped. Numbers ranging from old love songs – like Alton Ellis` Too Late – to brand new gear, from folks such as Brixton Horns, DJ Sotofett, and Elijah Minnelli. On the show Andrew may well have spun the OGs, but in a lot of cases once rare vinyl had, then, recently been repressed. Mabrak`s King Tubby mixed Ital Talk – Liquid Talk, Brenda Ray`s wonderful Walatta, Ras Michael`s Promised Land Sounds – Rockin’ Live Ruff N Tuff, and Count Ossie`s Man From Higher Heights – whose No Night In Zion Andrew had put in a “Yard 5” chart for The Face back in around 1992 (K. Alexi`s Sado Drums was in the corresponding club list).

There were reams of reissues care of Andrew`s spars at Pressure Sounds – Al Brown`s Proverb, I-Mo-Jah, Vivian Jackson, Tommy McCook, Phil Pratt`s Easy Street Special – plus the occasional old favourite from parent label, On-U Sound. Records like Dub Syndicate`s Ravi Shankar – which can be considered something of a Weatherall signature tune – played everywhere from Berkshire`s Bizarre barn party to Peckham`s Red Eye.

Going through playlists, print articles, and piles of scribbled notes, I found tunes that were sampled – like Jean Binta Breeze`s Dubwise (thank you Chris Galloway!) and Big Youth`s Lightning Flash Weak Heart Drop, which according to legend was the first reggae record that Andrew bought. I found sources of inspiration, such as Prince Far I`s Long Life and The Upsetters` 10c Skank. Both of which influenced Andrew`s work with Primal Scream. I also have tracks from an infamous, increasingly inebriated radio session that Andrew co-hosted with The Scream`s Bobby G – Lee Perry`s Pussy Galore, and Burning Spear’s Social Living.

There’s music from Boy`s Own`s pre-acid house camaraderie – titles with tales attached that Andrew included on his 9 O`clock Drop compilation, for Nuphonic – Aswad`s Warrior Charge, and The Clash`s Shepherd’s Delight, which was earmarked, but didn’t make the comp`s final cut. There are tunes – like Ranking Dread`s Love A Dub – that were played by Andrew and Terry Farley, upstairs at The Shoom, productions from the Sabres Of Paradise – like Wilmot and Ysaebud – and Andrew`s various labels – such as The Charismatics` Work Hard, and a few tunes from Blue.

I sought out righteous, Babylon-bashing, vinyl mentioned in interviews – Junior Byles` Fade Away, The Gladiator`s Looks Is Deceiving, and Bo Jangles` Prophecy Reveal – and cherry-picked slow dances from Gregory Isaacs` More Gregory – Andrew`s teenage “make-out” record of choice. Also present and correct are 45s ID`d from posts on Facebook group The Flightpath Estate – things like The Marvels` Rocksteady – which I payed a pretty penny for at the time** – plus pukka pieces from Graham “Sherman At The Controls” Sherman`s glowing Glastonbury tribute – Sugar Belly`s Cousin Joe and those brilliant Blackmarket dubs of Strummer and Co. 

I guess that`s why I started putting these “mixes” together, to have all of the music – and memories – safe in one place. There was no bigger intention than that. There are 5 compilations here. Two hours each. There’s a very good chance that there’ll be a 6th. I’m not sure I can stretch to a lucky 7 but I`ll try. I spent 12 months or so putting these together, but around 30 years looking for and locating the vinyl. Happy birthday Andrew. Thank you for the on-going journey.

Limited Download 

I need to say huge thank yous to Jeff Beckett and @WarrenAJB for supplying the full set of Kiss tapes, and to Martin Brannigan for courageously compiling and annotating them. Another big shout needs to go out to NTS for hosting and archiving Music’s Not For Everyone. What an incredible treasure trove that is. 

Notes

*Andrew`s copy of Cymande`s self-titled debut was a gift from Ashley Beedle. I have a vivid memory of one Full Circle all-dayer, where Andrew and Ashley arrived separately, but dressed exactly the same – Converse, combat pants, zoot suit key-chain, topped off by a Varsity college jacket. When Ashley spotted Andrew he chased him all round the club. 

**The Marvels 45, like much of the music included, has subsequently been reissued, and should be fairly readily available.

TRACKLISTS

Part 1
King Tubby – Channel 1 Feel This
Brad Osbourne – Blood Sweat Dunza
Prince Far I – Show Me Mine Enemy
Winston Edwards – Downing Street Rock
Tommy McCook – Death Trap
Ranking Dread – Love A Dub
Horace Andy – Skylarking
Yabby Youth – Walls Of Jerusalem
Pecker – Mystical Electro Harikiri
Joe Gibbs & The Professionals – Majestic Dub
Mabrak – Locks Talk
Singers & Players – A Matter Of Time
King Tubby – King At The Control
King Tubby – Living Version
Dennis Bovell – Grunswick Affair
Vivian Jackson & The Prophets – Jah Vengeance
Prince Far I – Homeward Bound
Tenastelin- Africa Is On My Mind
Brixton Heights – Ripe Horns
King Tubby – Dub Station
Max Romeo – Far I Captain Of My Ship
Blue – Circle Line (Rootsman Mix)
I-Mo-Jah – Jah Love
Lee Perry – Come Home Dub
Playgroup – 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover

Part 2
GT Moore (The Outsider) – Jerusalem
Joe Gibbs & The Professionals – Revenge
Prince Douglas – North Of The Border Dub
Gregory Isaacs – Mr Know It All
Prince Far I – The Right Way
Lee Scratch Perry – African Starship
The Upsetters – Blackboard Jungle Dub
Nora Dean – Angie La La
Augustus Pablo – No Entry
Black Roots – Tribal War
The Clash – Shepherds Delight
Culture / Bo Jangles – Two Sevens Clash / Prophecy Reveal
Pablo Moses – Dubbing In Angola
Gregory Isaacs – Set The Captives Free
Joe Gibbs & The Professionals – Walls Of Jericho
King Tubby – North Circular Dub (Rootikal Edit)
Dub Syndicate – Ravi Shankar
Joe Gibbs – Social Justice
Revolutionaries – Bamba In Dub
The Prophets – The Man Who Does The Work
Scientist – Laser Attack
Dub Syndicate – Dr Who
The Outsider – Serengeti
Joe Gibbs & The Professionals – International Treaty
Chosen Few – Shaft
Junior Byles – Fade Away
Big Youth – Lightning Flash (Weak Heart Drop)
Augustus Pablo – Watchful
Aswad – Warrior Charge / Dub Charge 

Part 3
Jean Binta Breeze – Dubwise
Ras Michael – I Ya I
Los Gaiteros De San Jacinto – Amanezco
Count Ossie – No Night In Zion
Earthquake Studios – Most High Dub
Disciples – The Message
Bob Marley – Rebel Music (Bill Laswell Dub)
Charismatics – Work Hard
Rootsman – Jungle Lion (Industrial Lion)
DJ Sotofett – Dub Off
Dub Syndicate – What Happened?
Blue – Circle Line
? – Duck Dub
Prince Far I – Long Life
Mad Professor – Kunta Kinte
Revolutionaries – War Of The Stars
Mad Professor – Dodgy Contacts
Lee Perry – City Too Hot
Sabres Of Paradise – Wilmot

Part 4
Dub Syndicate – 2001 Love
Suns Of Arqa – Acid Tabla
Ruts DC – Whatever We Do
Scientist – Step It Up (Black Star Liner Remix)
Dadawah – Run Come Rally
Sabres O Paradise – Ysaebud
Keith Hudson – Part 1-2 Dubwise
Hugh Mundell – Africa Must Be Free
Dr Pablo – Pressurized 
Creation Rebel – Space Movement Section 1
Dub Syndicate – Reggae Raga
Khruangbin – Rules (Scientist Dub)
Blue – Division Dub (Rootsman Heretical Dub)
Augustus Pablo – Destiny
Twinkle Brothers – Dub From The Mountain
Count Ossie – Chanting Higher Heights
Centry – Release The Chains
Cymande – Rastafarian Folk Song
The Marvels – Rocksteady
New Age Steppers – Fade Away
The Clash – I’m Not Down (Black Market Dub)
Winston Edwards – Airport Smuggling
Gideon – Gideon Dub
Brenda Ray – Starlight

Part 5
Ranking Joe & Tristan Palmer – Bring The Sensi Come
Phil Pratt – Easy Street Special
Junior Byles – Know Where You’re Going
Al Brown – Proverb
Burning Spear – Social Living Version (Pit Of Snakes)
Lee Perry – Dub Them Crazy
Tappa Zukie – Population Dub
Gladiators – Looks Is Deceiving 
Keety Roots – Dungeons Of Dub
Bush Chemists – Drugs Is A Ting
Scientist – Rockers Dub
Sugar Belly – Cousin Joe Part 1
Danny Dread – Every Herbsman Is  A Star
Elijah Minnelli – Bebe Durmiendo Cumbia (Dub)
Alpha & Omega – Dub Signs
Sister Rasheda – Only Jah Worthy
Moody Boyz – Fight Back (Rootsman Remix)
Linval Thompson – Willow Tree Dub
Gregory Isaacs – Wailing Rudie
Michael Prophet – Love And Unity
Scientist – Malcolm X
King Tubby – I Am I Am The King
Scientist – Dub Attraction
Playgroup – Deep And Mintyful? / Silent Mover
King Tubby – Release The Dub
Fish & Goat At The Controls – School Of Fish Dub
Denzil Dennis – Woman & Money
The Upsetters – 10c Skank

9 thoughts on “A Dub For Auntie Audrey

  1. Genuis writing … loving the fact I’m reading saying into myself .. got it got it got it .. tremendous stuff

    Like

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