Ring Craft Posse St. Catherine in Dub: 1972-1984

[Moll-Selekta; 2004]

Styles: Jamaican Dub, Roots, Reggae
Others: The Upsetters, Augustus Pablo, The Congos

Though I'm not a fan of revivals in music, the recent rediscovery of Jamaica's greatest producers, DJs, and artists from the dub scene of the late 1970s and early 1980s brings tears to my eyes (okay, not literally). Virtually ignored in mainstream American music, Jamaican dub from that era is responsible for an enormous amount of the music that we hear today. Whether listening to modern reggae-tinged pop or the advent of the bedroom producer, Jamaican dub did it first, on a poor man's budget, and with the finest of results.

Moll-Selekta must agree with me, because for the last year or two, the label has been reissuing crucial releases from dub's finest purveyors. Unlike the fly-by-night reissues so common in releasing Jamaican music in America, Moll-Selekta's releases are of the highest quality with informative liner notes, beautiful gatefold packaging, and perfect remastering that still retains the gritty-ness that the music is best known for.

King Tubby is undoubtedly the Godfather of Dub and his instrumental takes on popular reggae songs of his day opened up doors previously unimagined and un-thought of in the realm of Jamaican music. With an expert knowledge of the recording studio and utilizing effects never used before, such as echo, reverb, loops, and delays, King Tubby set the blueprint not just for reggae and dub producers from that point forth but also the bedroom producers working today with laptops and minimal tools trying to make something special with limited resources.

The expertly documented The Dub Master Presents The Roots of Dub & Dub From The Roots collects the first two full-length releases from Tubby in one exceptional package. Originally released in 1974 and 1975, these albums feature the incredible music of the Aggrovators and Augustus Pablo with Tubby and his cohort Bunny Lee behind the controls. Nearly every song from the 2-disc collection is an expertly crafted dub hit, from the gritty Jamaican sci-fi effects and melodic horns of "Invasion" to the guitar and organ swing on "Rude Boy Dub." This release should be a vital addition to any music collection as it not only is a landmark in music production, but the music is just so goddamn perfect.

Less regarded but working within the same sphere with similar musicians, producer Blackbeard and his band the Ring Craft Posse took the torch from King Tubby and Bunny Lee and took dub into the late '70s and early '80s, continuing to produce top-notch dub and roots music. Collected for the first time on St. Catherine In Dub: 1972-1984, this compilation offers reggae and dub fans the opportunity to hear a backing band featuring the famous duo of Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare, as well as dub versions of tracks from Dennis Brown, Delroy Wilson, George Faith, and Horace Andy. Starting off incredibly strong with the ace Westbay with full-on horns and a strong dub beat, the album tends to lessen in quality, particularly on the latter tracks "Cumberland" and "Passage Fort" -- all named after districts within the Portmore and St. Catherine region of Jamaica.

For any listener who wants the perfect introduction to roots and dub or for the completist who wants to see where the music ended up in the early '80s, Moll-Selekta's catalogue is the first place to look.

The Dub Master Presents The Roots of Dub & Dub From The Roots:
1. Natty Dub
2. A First Class Dub
3. The Stepping Dub
4. Rude Boy Dub
5. A Closer Dub
6. Roots of Dub
7. Dub You Can Feel
8. Loving Dub
9. The Immortal Dub
10. Dread Locks Dub
11. Rocking Dub
12. Dub from the Roots
13. Iyahta
14. Mine Field
15. Hijack the Barber
16. African Roots
17. Double Cross
18. East Of (Arrows Hi Fi)
19. Invasion
20. Dub of a Woman
21. Dub on My Mind
22. Stealing
23. Dub Experience
24. Declaration of Dub
25. A Truthful Dub
St. Catherine In Dub: 1972-1984:

1. Westbay
2. Edgewater
3. Garvey Meade
4. Bridge Port
5. Waterford
6. Portsmouth
7. Westchester
8. Southboro
9. Naggo Head
10. Braeton
11. Passage Fort
12. Cumberland
13. Caymanas Park