stars - In The Dub Zone
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Higher Ranking Dub
Hot Steppers Dub
|This compilation comprises two dub albums
(“Ja-Man Dub” and “Kings Dub”) produced by Dudley ‘Manzie’ Swaby in 1977
and 1980. Both are presented here in their entirety, along with 4 b-side
mixes taken from 45 rpm discs originally issued by the producer on his
Ja-man and Manzie imprints in the same period. This reissue follows on
from “129 Beat Street : Ja-Man Special 75-78” (BAFCD 023), which
featured a selection of Manzie’s classic roots vocal productions of the
time. During this period, the focus of Jamaican music changed; from a
roots and culture orientation - outward looking, socially aware - to a
more hedonistic, materialist approach. This latter direction, generally
referred to as ‘dancehall’ was more inward-looking, dealing largely in
themes that reflected the day-to-day concerns of dancehall patrons. This
period of early ‘dancehall’ music was dominated by deejays; one of the
most successful, before his murder in 1981, was General Echo; many of
the rhythms for his first LP “Rocking & Swing” can be heard in dub mixes
on “Kings Dub” (tracks 14-23 on this CD). The Echo LP will be reissued,
along with other Ja-Man deejay music, during 2003 on the Microphonic
label. In the meantime, Blood and Fire - with the co-operation of Manzie
Swaby - offer you 23 slices of raw-born roots and rub-a-dub from the
heyday of Channel One studio.
Steve Barrow - December 2002
The Seventies was a time like no other in the history of the world. It was a time of upheaval and unrest all over the world. Capitalism, Communism, Dictatorship and all kinds of Ism Schism, corruption, greed and injustice was the order of the day in every country. There were revolutions, counter-revolutions, coups and counter-coups, riots, protests and demonstrations somewhere every day. In the middle of all this, the poor people suffer. As a voice rise up and speak for equal rights and justice it was silenced.
John, Marcus, Malcolm, Martin, Biko, Ali [in prison ] - the list goes on and on.
Jamaica gained independence in 1962 and a feel-good music called rock steady had evolved from ska. By the late Sixties, the mood of the people changed - the political aspirations of independence were not being realised. It was the same old game with a different name. There was unrest in Jamaica; riots and demonstrations broke out in Kingston frequently. It was against this background of local and international injustice that reggae music was born. The old rock steady rhythm was too tame for the protest and Rasta lyrics. They often ban this new voice of the people from the radio stations, but they could not ban the sound system and people stereo from playing the music. Reggae music became the voice of the downpressed people in Jamaica and all over the world.
The lyrics of lots of reggae songs are well known, the feeling of the music that complement the lyrics is sometimes taken for granted. It is hard for me to explain, but try this...there are many different songs titled “Chant Down Babylon”. I produced one with Junior Byles and Rupert Reid - others are by Bob, Yabby You, Burning Spear etc. And in every one of those songs you can actually feel the instruments ‘chanting down Babylon’ especially the drum and bass, while the ridim section a juk them like macka (stick them like a thorn). The range of emotions reflected in reggae varies from sad, hopeful, defiance, vengeance, redemption, thanks and praise, comfort, and happiness. You name it - and reggae reveal and expose that emotion.
This album is really about the musicians who were the creators of this music that we love so much, and the engineers who interpret the feeling of the musicians in Dub mixing. The musicians on this album are the cream of the crop, the best of the best - check the credits. The engineers were the best engineers at Channel One. Channel was my favourite studio. It had a clear clean crisp sound that I love. It was situated in the heart of the ghetto, and so, Channel had a vibe that no other studio had. It was also convenient for me to go there as it was war time in Jamaica - most of the Seventies was - and I used to live near Craig Town. So I just go through Jones Town and Trench Town and reach the studio on Maxfield Avenue without crossing any so-called borders. The studio was my refuge in those days - I use to just stay there and hang out with the musicians and engineers. Crucial Bunny and Maxie were the ones who teach me the ropes of the mixing board at Channel One. Barnabas, Soljie and Ernest also never hide any tricks of the trade from me, so I was able to help in the mixing of my productions.
I think everyone used to love a Ja-Man recording session. First thing is that everyone was sure to get paid [no ginalship]. Lots of time I had to share the work so that everyone can eat a food. One time two drummers show up, Sly and Horsey, so I let Horsey play the regular drum set and Sly play syn drum.
Right there a new sound was created, and I used that sound on a number of ridim.
Ja-Man session never short of herb - chalice and spliff cloud up the studio, free to all singers, players of instrument and engineers. But not everyone smoke herb - Sly used to love the smell of the herb, but him no smoke. Snapping always lively up the place with him jokes. Scully and Sticky always find a percussion instrument to complement the tune - even when I say no, them still play and say “Ja-Man, just gimme a money”. Ansell and Dougie were mostly quiet and into the music. Robbie was always serious. Ranchie was my bassman before Robbie link up with Sly. My regular horn section - Don D Jr., Herman and Bobby - always delivered. I also had the pleasure of producing some tunes with the great Tommy McCook playing sax.
Those days bring back both good and bad memories to me, but my involvement in the creation of some of those early reggae music will always be positive. I hope it puts you in the zone, just like we were in the zone, way back in the Revolutionary days of the turbulent Seventies. Give thanks.
Dudley ’Manzie’ Swaby - November 2002
|© Blood & Fire|