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Studio One Dub Vol.2 (SJRCD 166 - 2007)

Sound Dimension - I'll Be Around Version
Soundstorm - Dub Rock
Albert & The Gladiators - Watch Out Version
Brentford Reggae Band - Moses Version
Brentford Disco Set - Peace Version
Brentford Disco set - Natty Ting A Ling
Marcia Griffiths - Feel Like Jumping Pt.2
Drum Bago & The Rebel Group - Reggae Version
St. Ct. & The Gladiators Band - Soul Locks
Freddie & Sound Dimension - How Could You Version
Sound Dimension Band - Run Run Version
Holt & Sound Dimension - Any Where Version
Alton & Soul Vendors - Live And Dub
Freddie McKay - Drunken Sailor Version
Ital Sound - Welding
Dub Specialist - Dar Es Salaam
Dub specialist - Always Dubbing
Dub Specialist - Mojo Papa
Dub music was the creation of a generation of brilliant recording studio engineers in Jamaica. But although Clement 'Coxsone' Dodd's Studio One is hailed as the greatest of the Jamaican recording labels, and although many talented engineers worked the board at Dodd's Brentford Road studio over the years (including Sylvan Morris, Syd Bucknor, Overton 'Scientist' Brown and Dodd himself) Studio One was never typically known as a centre for dub. This is because for many fans the studio's commercial and stylistic heyday was in the 1960s, prior to the rise of dub as a distinctive sub-genre of Jamaican music in the 1970s. By the 1970s, however, dub music was the rage in Jamaica's sound systems. Always the pioneer - and since Sylvan Morris had left the Studio One operation around 1972 - Coxsone supervised the dubs till leaving Jamaica at the end of the decade. This meant that for the most part, for example, the twelve Studio One dub albums released during the 1970s were mixed by Dodd himself, using the moniker 'Dub Specialist'.

Although Coxsone had some electronics experience, he was not a formally trained recording engineer, and perhaps because of this Studio One dub was typically minimal and stripped down, with track drop-outs and relatively subtle sound processing providing the main mixing strategies. Experimentation had its place, but Studio One dub really made it one the basis of the ever-popular riddims that its musicians contributed to Jamaican music, many of which are still being used as the basis for songs today. Throughout the decade, the mixes became more sophisticated and atmospheric. Along with the first volume of Studio One Dub, the cuts here demonstrate that Studio One's contribution to the innovative musical form of dub was substantial, and go straight to the head of listeners who feel that the only centres for dub were studio's such as King Tubby's, Lee Perry's Black Ark, Channel One, or Joe Gibbs.

The tracks on this compilation are taken from this period in the 1970s when dub was the cutting-edge of Jamaican music studio production. Most of them are the dub-version flip-sides of rare Jamaican 45s, and none have appeared on CD before.

The soulful 'I'll Be Around Version' is a dub of Otis Gayle's cover of the Spinners' 1972 soul hit 'I'll Be Around'. Here the track has been transformed into a drum & bass showcase that still manages to include evocative fragments of Jackie Mittoo's flavourful organ playing, as well as fragments of bass and rhythm guitar that balance each other nicely.

'Dub Rock' versions the rhythm behind Alton & Hortense Ellis's 'Breaking Up Is Hard To Do', Sugar Minott's 'Give Me Jah Jah', Lennie Hibbert's 'Montego Rock'. It retains the catchy horn theme but otherwise focuses on bass, drums and rhythm. This dub mix adds spots of reverb and mild filtering tricks but leaves the great rhythm track otherwise untouched.

'Watch Out Version' dubs one of the great Gladiators numbers, with the vocals largely removed, the organ a bit more prominent than on the vocal and some mild filtering effects to spice things up. A bit of the original vocal is heard just after the half-way mark but for the most part, this is a rhythm section feature for the excellent Gladiators band.

The bouncing 'Moses Version' moves us closer to classic dub territory, with a 'steppers' drum pattern and deep resonant bass line providing the foundation for the fragmented remains of a vocal track originally recorded by The Willows. The organ and electric piano are fed through reverb and delay to provide a nice ambient aspect to this track.

The trippy 'Peace Version' dubs the Gladiators again, and is one of the high points of this set. It kicks off with an ethereal bit of echoing electric piano before settling into an atmospheric rhythm excursion with a bit of phase shifting thrown on the rhythm guitar Black Ark-style, and delay-treated Nyabinghi drums rolling around the landscape.

The Heptones recorded two versions of their classic love song 'Ting A Ling'. The earlier rocksteady version was gentle and lilting, whereas the later version was up-tempo and more driving. 'Natty Ting A Ling' is Prince Jazzbo's DJ version of the later cut, and 'Part Two' extends the DJ version into a dub mix. The riddim here is graced by a tambourine, a warm underpinning of electric piano, and the fragmented vocals of Jazzbo.

'Feel Like Jumping Part Two' extends Marcia Griffiths' classic 'Feel Like Jumping' into dub territory. This version retains most of the catchy horn theme but otherwise features drum & bass, with snatches of vocals and other instruments thrown in for effect.

'Reggae Version' dubs L. Crosdale's 'Reggae Music'. This mix features organ, horns and a swinging one-drop set into a cavern of reverberation.

'Soul Locks' features the melodica of Pablove Black (Brentford Roads answer to Augustus Pablo) over a dub of his version of the rhythm used by The Gladiators for their gorgeous devotional song 'Beautiful Locks'.  The rhythm guitar zooms in and out of the mix but otherwise, this is pretty straightforward instrumental reading.

'How Could You Version' versions Freddie McGregor, on Leroy Sibbles' 'Guiding Star' riddim, complete with the original trumpet and tenor saxophone line. More-or-less a feature for the rhythm section, spruced-up here with a bit of reverb on the drums, driven by the strength of the classic riddim.

Delroy Wilson's rocksteady-flavoured 'Run Run' is dubbed here as 'Run Run Version'.

'Anywhere Version' uses John Holt's song as a point of departure, its pumping rhythm track holding together an infectious horn theme, slivers of vocals, and mild reverberation effects.

'Live And Learn Dub' deconstructs another classic Alton Ellis performance into a milder version of what was being done at King Tubby's, a mix featuring filtering effects and drop-out.

'Drunken Sailor Version' is a dub of Freddie McKay's reggae version of this folk song, with a mix featuring drum  bass, Nyabinghi drums and eccentric upright piano.

Ital Sounds' 'Wedding' is a charming dubbed-out harmonica cut of a Sugarbelly instrumental.

'Dar Es salaam' is another offering from the late 70s period of Studio One, dubbing out a Brentford Road cut of what would later be known as the 'Diseases' rhythm, made popular by Michigan & Smiley in the early 1980s. This track is a good example of the older Studio One riddims refurbished in the late 70s with percussion and bass overdubs.

'Always Dubbing' dubs a saxophone cut of Bob Andy's 'Unchained'. The horn section and rhythm section zoom in and out of focus on this fairly psychedelic treatment of this classic riddim.

The collection closes with 'Mojo Papa', an instrumental treatment of the Sound Dimension's rhythm workout 'Mojo Rock Steady'. Built from a classic Motown riff (Edwin Starr's '25 Miles'), this is more an instrumental than a straight dub mix, with some filtering effects added to spice things up.

Michael E. Veal, author of Dub: Soundscapes And Shattered Songs In Jamaican Reggae (Wesleyan University Press, 2007).

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