The Top Dub Albums Of All Time (Part 1 Of 2)

YardEdge welcomes our new guest blogger Christopher Edmonds here with his first post about dub.

The Seducer Dub Wise

The Seducer Dub Wise – Perhaps this covers suggests the Broadcasting Commission should ban this too?

After reading this great article here about Jamaican album covers, I thought I would add my bit to the classic reggae discussion.

Although I am not going to dive too deeply into an explanation of dub, let me start with a simple definition. By dub, I mean the uniquely Jamaican style of remixing music in which the vocals are largely stripped out, healthy measures of reverb and delay (echo) are applied to the drums (especially the hi-hats and snares) and rhythm and lead instruments, random sound effects are introduced, and overall the song is made to sound like an outer-space Guiness and high-grade influenced psychedelic interpretation where someone accidentally turned the bass to +10.

As an aside, Trinis and Eastern Caribbean folk use the term dub to refer to what we in Jamaica would call dancehall… not sure how that got mixed up.

So, without further ado…

The Seducer Dub Wise (Hit Bound) 1982

What can one say about this record that isn’t already communicated by the album artwork? A Channel One production featuring dub engineer extraordinaire Scientist (Hopeton Brown) reworking some extra-heavy Roots Radics tracks. The Seducer is a classic example of no-frills roots dub- emphasis on the drum and bass, a short snappy delay on the snare, and teases of echoed-out snippets of the vocals and rhythm guitar and keyboards.

Standout tracks include “Bedtime Rock”, a bass-heavy inversion of Frankie Paul’s “Worries In The Dance” (the original Channel One version, not the later ones), “Midnight Special” (Frankie Paul’s “Slave Driver” on the “Darker Shade Of Black” riddim), “Rough Rider” (possibly Horace Andy) and “Mr. Special” (Don Angelo is the vocalist, but don’t know the original track).

Alas this album has not made it to the (legal) download world yet, but you can still snap it up from Ernie B’s Reggae, eBay or in your indie music store of choice. You can, however, buy the standout original version of “Worries In The Dance” from Amazon Amazon or the Apple iTunes Store iTunes.

Aswad A New Chapter Of Dub (Island) 1982
A New Chapter Of Dub

The lion is not sleeping tonight

From the UK comes reggae super-group Aswad’s foray into dub- A New Chapter Of Dub is actually dub versions of most of their 1981 CBS album New Chapter (clever eh?). This is not the later poppy Aswad sound that you know well from “On And On”, “Fire” and “Don’t Turn Around”, rather this is their foundation deep-roots style that rumbled sub-sonically from Brixton basement flats in defiance of the National Front and Maggie’s Farm (that of The Specials, not of Dylan).

Mixed by Michael “Reuben” Campbell (not to be confused with Michael “Mikey Dread” Campbell), this album explores much lusher musical soundscapes than the typical Jamaican dub album. The lead track, “Dub Fire”, is a subwoofer-destroying take on Aswad’s “Love Fire”, a track which also achieved popularity as the rhythm behind Dennis Brown’s anthemic “Promised Land” (if you like “Love Fire” you should also check out the live version on Aswad’s Live And Direct album as well as the psuedo-dub version available on the Countryman soundtrack as “Mosman Skank”, and as an additional N.B., the “Mosman” referred to in that title is actually the older dread who currently sells hubcaps in Barbican Square in Kingston and also played a character of the same name in Countryman).

“Bammie Blow” takes the horn parts featured on the original track, “Didn’t Know At The Time”, and showcases them on a steady drum and bass foundation, while “Zion I” takes a similar approach with the flute lead of “Zion” and adds a healthy dose of dubbed-out vocals. Two other Aswad hits, “African Children” and “Natural Progression”, are given more traditional dub mixes on “Ghetto In The Sky” and “Natural Progression”.

Buy the CDs and DVDs from Amazon Amazon:

» A New Chapter Of Dub
» New Chapter
» Live And Direct
» Countryman (soundtrack)
» Countryman (DVD)

Buy the downloads from Amazon Amazon:

» New Chapter
» Live And Direct
» Dennis Brown – “Promised Land

Buy the downloads from the Apple iTunes Store iTunes:

» A New Chapter Of Dub
» New Chapter
» Live And Direct
» Dennis Brown – “Promised Land

More in Part 2 of this post…

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  3. […]  1. The Top Dub Albums of All Time (Part 1 of 2) […]

  4. AngelBombz
    July 28, 2011 at 2:20 am — Reply

    KING TUBBY – Judgment Dub was the sample Jazmine Sullivan used in the ‘i need u bad’ trak…yeah been bugging me too!

  5. bammerbabylon
    March 2, 2011 at 1:36 am — Reply

    Any thoughts on the “Mosman Skank” being fused w/ Dennis Brown in Damian and NAS’s album on “Promised Land?”

  6. […] 3. The top dub albums of all time Part 1 -3 by Christopher Edmonds- this post continues to be a favourite among our readers. […]

  7. December 31, 2009 at 4:42 pm — Reply

    […] 3.  The Top Dub Albums of All Time Part 1 […]

  8. TransDubbian
    March 21, 2009 at 7:33 pm — Reply

    i love the attention that Dub is getting…good work!

  9. […] This is part 2 of a 3 part post. Part 1 can be found here. […]

  10. Jim "SpinCycle" Sowers
    February 26, 2009 at 12:36 am — Reply

    I guess I got lucky–the first dub album I ever bought was A New Chapter of Dub. Your clarification about the use of the term “dub” in Trinidad is right-on and glad that you included it. It’s about time that you started sharing that wealth of musical knowledge locked up in that brain of yours!

    Nuff respect to the man also known as DJ Engine Room.

  11. February 23, 2009 at 3:57 pm — Reply

    nuff respek Chris. that was super helpful.

  12. anmol
    February 23, 2009 at 12:14 pm — Reply

    Chris- two of my favorite dub albums. Just smiling thinking of the last time I listened to the Seducer album in Kirk hall was about a day or two before you took off from MN! I have few of the tracks but not the entire album so I’ll have to start looking for it.


  13. February 23, 2009 at 9:15 am — Reply

    Thanks Fflood – the riddim that Jazmine is using is basically “Queen Of The Minstrels” which was original The Eternals (feat Cornell Campbell) released in 1969 on Clement Dodd’s “Supreme” label for Studio 1.

    King Tubby’s version, entitled “More Warning”, is a dub of Cornell Campbell’s later take on the song, this time for Bunny Lee, and also features Augustus Pablo.

    I can’t tell, though, whether the Sullivan track lifts from this version or not- there were a LOT of different takes on this riddim, including a popular version by Channel One as well.

  14. February 23, 2009 at 3:06 am — Reply

    wicked!! thanks for this, and welcome to the Yard Edge blogosphere Chris! well written and on point for sure. looking forward to the next installments.

    hmm. perhaps you can help me- been trying to locate what album (pretty sure its King Tubby) has the original dub that Jazmine Sullivan used in “Need You Bad” (click to 2nd and 3rd song) i’m sure i have it, but haven’t been having any success locating it. maybe you know the name of the riddim if not the album?

    also found old school rocksteady tunes on the same riddim

    Undying Lover – “Ernest Wilson”
    Cornell Campbell – “Queen Of The Minstrel”


    good seein you in yard bro. bless

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