Born in Kingston Lloyd James is famed for his domination of 1980′s Dancehall as King Jammy – producer and sound owner – but before his coronation Jammy was a ‘Prince’ and known as a producer and mixer of Dubs. This CD is taken from an obscure dub album that briefly surfaced in the early 1980′s on the US imprint Jammys Records and is rightly regarded as a minor masterpiece of Jammy’s mixing style. He produced, arranged and mixed this album using some of Kingston’s a-team session players, with the horn players Bobby Ellis & Deadly Headly Bennet coming to the fore on “Old Country Dub” and “271 Uticia Dub”. The drum and bass partnership on this set – Sly Dunbar & Robbie Shakespeare – were themselves developing their own Taxi imprint, which created huge dancehall success and propelled them onto the international scene with sets for the likes of Grace Jones and Bob Dylan. “Strictly Dub” features many classic reggae rhythms plus a couple of originals.
“Imigrant Dub” is a cut of what was known as the “Bobby Bowa” rhythm, that Well, Pleased and Satisfied used on “Open The Gates Bobby Boy” (Total Sounds Disco, 1977). “Basement Dub” is a recut of Bob & Marcia’s classic Studio One “Always Together” rhythm (1969). “Brooklyn Dub” is a recut to The Jamaicans festival winning “Baba Ba Boom” rhythm. (Treasure Isle, 1967). One of the originals is “BDQ Dub” on which Scully hand drumming is to the fore. “Interboro Dub” is a recut to the Three Tops “Do it Right” rhythm. (Treasure Isle, 1967). “Old Country Dub” is a cut to the rhythm from Hugh Mundell’s “Jah Fire Will Be Burning” – which was a Jammy production from 1980. It was a big Shaka Tune at the time and the horns drive the dub forward in formidable style. “42 St Dub” is Jammies cut of Baba Brooks “Shank I Sheck” (1964, King Edwards). It was a rhythm that was popular in the early 1980′s and Nal Rowe’s Zodiac imprint carried several cuts of the rhythm, with the 7Th Extension “Hard Times” being the best known. Indeed it sounds like it might be the same cut as here. “271 Utica Dub”, see Jammies licking over the Studio One “College Rock” rhythm (Ironside, 1972 – by Big Willie), with a powerful horns line marking the rhythm drop outs. “Bronx Fashion Dub” is the other original and is a really solid dancehall rhythm dub, with a really slow beat and a harshness of sound that was typical of the era. The title track “Strictly Dub” see Jammy updating the classic “Ali Bali” rhythm (Treasure Isle, 1969) with a fat sound but keeping faithful to the originals directness. It’s a set that despite the beginning of a new musical era, looks back to the classic rhythms of the late 1960′s and early 1970′s.
CD Bonus tracks: Both these bonus tracks are from a couple of years later and point strongly toward the future of reggae with the heavy rhythms dominating and dub flourishes and mixing kept to a minimum. “Mother Du” takes “Hot Milk” (Jackie Mittoo, Studio One, 1970) as it’s blue-print. “Dis Dub Rule” takes the Sound Dimensions “African Beat” (Supreme 1968) into the 1980′s with a pounding dub. The track titles reflect that this album briefly surfaced in New York – a city which had seen Jamaican musicians visiting and in some cases making the city their home – such as Lloyd Barnes Wackies imprint. Indeed Wackies would begin to put New York on the reggae map with music that’s more appreciated today than it was when it was released.
The cover shows Prince Jammy at the mixing desk in Tubby’s mixing studio in Drumillie Avenue. The desk originally came from Bryon Lee’s Dynamics Studio, from whom Tubby’s bought it when they upgraded at the studio. Tubby used it to take dub music and mixing to a new level and a form in its own right.
Bass – Robbie Shakespeare
Drums – Sly Dunbar
Percussion - Scully & Sticky
Guitar – Dougie & Boopeep
Organ – Ansel Collins & Winston Wright
Piano – Gladdy Anderson
Horns – Bobby Ellis & Deadly Headly Bennet
Arranged, Produced & mixed by Prince Jammy
01. Imagrant Dub
02. Basement Dub
03. Brooklyn Dub
04. B.Q.E Dub
05. Interboro Dub
06. Old Country Dub
07. 42nd Street Dub
08. 271 Utica Dub
09. Bronx Fashion Dub
10. Strictly Dub
11. Mother Dub (CD Bonus Track)
12. Dis Dub Rule (CD Bonus Track)
The album Prince Jammy “Strictly Dub” (Pressure Sounds) is going to be released April 16, 2010.