Inner Circle & The Fatman Riddim Section - Heavyweight Dub / Killer Dub

Copper Bullet
Fidel At The Control
General Amin
Frelimo
Down Rhodesia
Bad Reputation
Peace Time Now
Too Much War
Unemployment Rock
Massacre
Release Dub
Careless Dub
Dread At The Control
Meditation Rock
Rock For Ever
Shaky Dub
All Babylonians
Killer Dub
Addis Ababa Rock
 
The late 1970s were the boom years for dub; hundreds of albums were issued between 1975 and the end of the decade. This reissue collects the two dub albums Inner Circle made in 1978; when they were released, the group were riding high with the late Jacob Miller, their popularity at the time in Jamaica exceeded that of Bob Marley and the Wailers. Inner Circle themselves have been together as a group for over thirty years, still with foundation members the brothers Ian Monteith Lewis (bass) and Roger Lewis (guitars). The group started out in 1969; as well as the Lewises, at that time the line-up included Carl Barovier (drums), alongside future members of Third World, Stephen 'Cat' Coore, Michael 'Ibo' Cooper, and vocalist Milton 'Prilly' Hamilton. Percussionist Irvin 'Carrot' Jarrett - also joined after this. Inner Circle's first taste of success came when some of the band were drafted in by producer Bunny Lee to play backing for Eric Donaldson's immortal "Cherry Oh Baby", the Song Festival winner in 1971; they went on to play on other hits for Donaldson including "Love Of The Common People". Later that year and during early 1972 they were the backing band for the Manley-PNP "Musical Bandwagon", playing behind artists like the late Dennis Brown, Alton Ellis, the Chosen Few, Scotty and Tinga Stewart. In 1973, as Third World formed, the Lewis brothers recruited drummer Calvin McKenzie, keyboard players Charles Farquharson and Bernard 'Touter' Harvey. Together they won the prestigious Best Band Contest on the Johnny Golding Show. They hooked up with producer Tommy Cowan, cutting a couple of albums, mainly covers; they also played on Augustus Pablo's "Ital Dub" for the same producer. When Jacob Miller joined them mid-decade, they began a run of success that only ended with Miller's untimely death in March 1980 . Miller had made a series of classic roots records with Augustus Pablo; with Inner Circle he took that sound further and initially in a more commercial direction - in 1976, they signed to Capitol Records who released two albums "Reggae Thing" and "Ready For The World" that caught the band trying to make headway in the US market they would eventually conquer after Jacob's death. Meanwhile, driven by Inner Circle/Fatman Riddim Section, the Jamaican hits like "Tenement Yard", "Tired Fe Lick Weed In A Bush" and "Forward Jah Jah Children' soon followed during 1976-1977. The group continued their association with Cowan, releasing their productions on Top Ranking and Top Ranking International. In 1977, "Everything Is Great " their first album for Island Records, gave the band an international hit (the title track) although once again, the album was decidedly commercial.

The dub albums were released in 1978, along with an excellent instrumental set featuring keyboard player Bernard 'Touter' Harvey and The Fatman Riddim Section. The dubs - one mixed by Maximillian at Channel One, the other at King Tubby's by Prince Jammy were mainly drawn from Miller's roots-oriented albums issued on Top Ranking ,"Killer Miller" (1977) and "Wanted" (1978). (They also released a further Miller set "Mixed Up Moods" in 1979). "Heavyweight Dub" kicks off with a cut of Desi Roots' monster 1977 hit "School Tonight", here entitled "Copper Bullet". Also included among the 19 cuts are dub versions to Miller favourites like "Peace Treaty Special" ("Peace Time Now"), "I Shall Be Released" ("Release Dub") "80,000 Careless Ethiopians" ("Careless Dub"), "Big Stripe" ("Rock For Ever") ", "Shaky Girl" ("Shaky Dub") "Killer Miller" ("Killer Dub") and "Land Called Home" ("Addis Ababa Rock"). Miller's hit "Standing Firm" is dubbed up on "Frelimo"; this rhythm, a recut of the old rocksteady instrumental "The Russians Are Coming" was also used for Dean Fraser's instrumental "To Take It All" (aka "Take Five") originally issued under the name of Jah Devon). The hard-driving "Frelimo" also propelled deejay Trinity's swipe at one-hit wonders Althia & Donna, called "Real Ranking". "Unemployment Rock" is a dub of the rhythm for Jacob's herbal take on the Christmas carol "Deck The Halls"; "All Babylonians" is a another version of Earl Zero's "City Of The Weak Heart", also covered by Jacob.

Following Jacob's death, the Lewis brothers relocated to Miami, eventually opening their own studio in that city. It remains their operational base today; from there they have continued their success, issuing more than a dozen albums from the mid-1980s, and scoring monster global hits with "Bad Boys" and "Sweat". Most recently (1999)they recorded some of the best of today's artists, including the masterful roots singer Luciano, in a series of duets with Jacob Miller, as part of a reissue tribute to a man who, had he lived, would surely have continued in reggae's vanguard.

Blood and Fire are proud to make these recordings available again for the first time since their original vinyl issue 21 years ago, and to present the truly 'fat' sound of Inner Circle with The Fatman Riddim Section.
Steve Barrow - September 1999
 
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