Rockers Galore… UK Tour – The Clash
Where it all starts or at least picks up speed. The Clash fling down the Bankrobber and Mikey Dread chats some charmingly, off the cuff sounding guff. Might not be his finest lyrics but the feels are all there and it works a treat.
Dub Rock – The Mexicano
Eddie Grant’s brother Rudie was The Mexicano and also a member of The Equals, whose Police On My Back is a Sandanista highlight. The Clash connection continues on this DJ cut to Danny Ray’s original Revolution Rock.
Zapatta – Misty In Roots
I did a Nice Up Crucial Selection on Misty In Roots. This sophisticated but highly underrated 45 is one of those tracks that invariably cops an enquiry when played out, rightly so. I could barely stop myself flinging the further version on next.
Solitude / Introducing Abu Baka – The Session Men
Appearing on the flip side to Michael Smith’s unimpeachable Mi Cyaan Believe It on LKJ Records is no easy task but General Abu Baka’s unique delivery and a Dennis Bovell production that hints at the glory of the Babylon OST give the pioneering JA poet a reasonable run for his money.
Dangerous – The Arawaks
Another Blackbeard Bovell belter and if there’s only a little lovers rock why not head to the top of the mountain and the dub to Janet Kay’s scene stealing Silly Games. 1979 at its finest.
Man Next Door (Version) – The Slits
Sherwood at the controls on this dub of the cover of the John Holt cut of Garnett Mimm’s A Quiet Place, which rates amongst the On-U gaffer’s earliest production credits. I’m not sure if I’m able to dislike a version of this song.
Striving – Singers & Players
Favourite track from my favourite Singers & Players album, Leaps & Bounds. Adrian Sherwood laughed when I told him how much I love this release, he didn’t agree, proving beauty is sometimes in the ear of the beholder rather than the creator. Like so many of his earlier productions (and the previous track) it’s so many kinds of wrong, it’s right.
Stop the War – Benjamin Zephaniah
A Midlands move from 1986 with a tough rhythm from The Wailers Band alongside typically strident lyrics from the Brummie poet who was most recently sighted on Peaky Blinders as preacher Jeremiah Jesus.
Generals – Musical Youth
Thanks to the wonderful Reggae Archive Records, gems like this and the previous, are more available than they’ve ever been. For anyone who thought they were just Pass The Dutchie palaver – reckon with these earlier militant moments on Birmingham’s wonderful 021 Records. Original home to the mighty Au Pairs.
Fourth World – Jackdaw With Crowbar
Rated by Stewart Lee as ‘the best thing to come out of Leamington since the Grand Union Canal’ this dubwise monstrosity from the Monarchy Mayhem And Fi$hpaste EP is still a firm fixture, secret weapon in my DJ box. Still, now, over three decades after release. Respect!
Sufferation Time – General Theory of Dub
From the Red Spot Studio of JWC’s Tim Ellis comes an 80’s Leamington classic that infuriatingly never got a proper release. This minimal mantra is a slept on shady classic and Tim did the lot bar the ‘bone & vox.
Give Me Back My Brain – General Theory Of Dub
Cursed by an early massive misstep featuring as the talented half of county dub duo Timmy and Jimmy, Tim Ellis’s General Theory Of Dub goes on to this day appearing alongside the likes of Macka B, Culture and Black Uhuru around the wild’n’woolly West Midlands. Not sure he ever got his brain back though….
Danny J Special Dubs – Ethnic Fight Band
Recorded in JA and mixed in London, the Ethnic Fight Band’s Out Of One Man Comes Many Dubs boasted a great title, killer cover and some well tasty rhythms, like this belting bout of pitch shifting pungency.
Singing Love – New Age Steppers
No apologies for more On-U Sound action with a repeat appearance for the late and much missed Ari Up and an uncredited MC. Love Forever indeed.
Loved By Everyone – Prince Fari featuring Brigadier Jam Brown
It would be great if someone did a series of Hitrun re-issues in these re-examining times. This up-full cupful highlights the gregarious gravellyness of Prince Fari and solid support vibes from the little known Brigadier Jam Brown. From the opening bars on, this never fails to raise a massive grin from me.
Airport Smuggling – Winston Edwards and Blackbeard
Back to Bovell from the poli-tricksical set Dub Conference at 10 Downing Street. Which is exactly what malignant May and her maudlin cronies could do with right now, if not a dubwise intervention. Re-issued on Studio 16 a few years back there is simply no excuse for not owning this beauty.
Dub Conference In London – The Simeon’s
Better known as lovers rock riddimizers One Blood, The Simeons under the beady production eye of Mark Lusardi, have many gems on their one album for Freedom Sounds. None test the crucial keyboardery of this, the scorching title track.
East – Manasseh meets The Equalizer
An ideal bridge from the vintage to the modern given that he has straddled all styles on his ongoing musical journey, Nick Raphael’s Manasseh meets The Equalizer are on blinding form on this cut from the still standout Dub The Millennium album.
Soup Riddim – Andy Mac and Ossia
I need to hear more new tunes from Andy Mac ASAP (there’s another one from Ossia coming up in a mo). His Diving Birds series for Idle Hands is one for the deviant dancefloor and this insidious burst of moody magic is some right proper groovy gravy.
Fever Version – Mosca
Another 2017 scorcher, Mosca’s productions are always expansive and interesting but this straight down the line Tempo-y/NightClubbing-y for Lavalava Records is an unmitigated digital delight.
Dub Hell – Ossia
Booming Bristolian beelzebub beats business released on 10” and taken from the forthcoming Devil’s Dance album on Blackest Ever Black. Looking forward to that big time.
God Cipher Devine – LORD TUSK
I don’t know much about LORD TUSK except he’s prolific, has some links to Dean Blunt and he’s perma-#1 on my Lords chart. His Communique EP is amongst my 2018 favourites but this comes from the gospely grotesquery of his even fresher LAWDAHMERCY. Check his Bandcamp.
Chant Down Babylon (Gast version) – TNT Roots
John T. Last is another Dean Blunt linked larrikin worth keeping a beady one on. This recently released 7″ possesses the kind of bassline that would have the engineers at the Jericho wall checking their calculations. Steppers with a difference.
Dub Capacitor – Wrongtom Meets The Ragga Twins
Two birds one stone. Wrongtom has been dishing out the dubwise and otherwise deviance since he emerged with Hard Fi giving their genre blending beats a proper tickle up. The Ragga Twins are true London royalty and it took all my powers of resistance not to head off on a Shut Up Dance/Unity Sound tangent at this point. Bonus points for foolish vocal treatments.
Emancipation Garage – The Woodleigh Research Facility
It’s rarely a Stinky Jim party without at least a dash of Weatherall, and combined with the inestimably talented Nina Walsh on Woodleigh Research Facility business, this percolating dub demanded inclusion. I very nearly went with the dub soaked mid-tempo vibes of his recent blinding Blue Bullet/Making Friends With the Invader 12″ for Byrd Out (one of 2018’s highlights), but I love this WRF cut too much.
Bad Man (Black Dog Bite Mix) – Urban Jungle
Gem of a 10″ from the original magnificent Moody Boy – Tony Thorpe. This killer combination was picked up for the excellent 110 Below comp and thus found its way to parts other weirdo electronic steppers generally don’t reach.
Constellations (Hello Skinny Version) – Soccer96
Soccer 96 are Betamax and Danalogue who are the rhythm section and two thirds of untypical jazzers The Comet Is Coming. I can’t get enough of this remix by jazzers Hello Skinny and obviously they cannot either as they also included it on the superb 2018 Soccer 96 album Rewind.
I Came I Saw (SKRS Remix) – The Bush Chemists
Cheating a little bit in order to get SKRS on there, but for me they are currently doing something that sounds like nobody else, real deal next level. Bush Chemists are always on point, once again very much in danger of disappearing down a steppers wormhole here but have managed to ease back from drowning you in Disciples et al.
d.3 Hash – Kinlaw
To me this is a masterful skanksterpiece that may stretch the entry requirements a tad but then rules is for fools. Bristolian beat botherers No Corner are piling up an impressive legacy with their stable of uncompromising noise merchants and Kinlaw is undoubtedly one to watch for.
DRK BLNT – Sunun
Like The Bush Chemist this is Bokeh Versions biz, maybe the freshest label out of the UK right now for my money. Sunun claims Everything Is Drum and when it’s this desolate, moody and magnificent who would argue with her.
East Of The River Nile – Zara McFarlane
I think this is the Dennis Bovell version but I have little info to be honest. Anyone versioning an Augustus Pablo cut best come correct – and she certainly does here. Was keen to finish with at least a couple of contributions from the fairer sex having jettisoned all of the gorgeous lovers cuts I wanted to include, alongside so much else (the initial playlist was upwards of 135 tunes broken down to 30ish!). It goes without saying that the future is female.