Dennis Brown - Umoja / 20th Century DEBwise

Cool Runnings
Sounds Almighty
The Truth
Cry Of The Destitute
Mercy For The Needy
Something Special
Sons Of Dust
Cop's Spy
Ting A Ling Style
Great Man Called Kenyatta
Dancing In The Streets
Riot In The Streets
Open The Gate Of Rhodesia
Robbery In The City
Raggamuffin Style
General Version
Such was the work rate at King Tubby's during the late 1970s that virtually every producer of note made an appointment for a 'dub conference' at the deservedly legendary mixing and voicing studio. Celebrated albums - like the three volumes of 'Harry Mudie Meets King Tubby', or 'King Tubby Meets The Rockers' - commemorate these encounters.

The two dub albums collected on this release record just such a meeting, in this case between the late Dennis Brown - in his role as producer as well as vocalist - and mixing engineer Prince Jammy. By the time he came to mix the dubs that comprise this reissue during 1978-79, Jammy had established himself as the leading engineer at King Tubby's, honing Tubby's innovations into a process that could be applied to any rhythm; he was also taking his first steps into production through his work with the Travellers and Black uhuru.

The first Dennis Brown-produced dub set 'Umoja Love & Unity' was released by DEB in mid-1978; as well as several versions of Dennis Brown songs like his recut of 'The Half' ('The Truth'), 'Troubled World' ('Mercy For The Needy') and 'Children Of Israel/Listen To The Wise Words' ('Sons Of Dust'), it also includes Jammy's dub treatments of earlier DEB 45 rpm releases like Lennox Brown's recut of the Studio One classic 'Frozen Soul' ('Cool Runnings'), first issued as a 12" with Junior Delgado's recut of the Heptones' 'Love Won't Come Easy' on the flip. However, as reported in Penny Reel's book 'Deep Down With Dennis Brown', the album sold poorly on first release and was never repressed, in spite of the general excellence of the rhythms. Perhaps by this time the market had become oversaturated with dub albums, although the second set reissued on this CD, '20th Century DEBwise' did much better, in spite of being released just a few months after ;Umoja'. '20th Century DEBwise' includes Jammy's superbly stripped-down mixes of rhythms used by such as Junior Delgado and The Tamlins. It also makes its first appearance on CD. the bonus track added for this reissue is the b-side dub version of Dennis Brown's DEB Music 45 rpm release 'Want To Be No General' from 1979.

Steve Barrow - June 2004
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