Monday, March 15, 2010
Prince Jammy Presents Strictly Dub: Out April 12 on Pressure Sounds
Born 1947 in Kingston, Jamaica Lloyd ‘King Jammy’ James is rightly revered for his dance hall domination during the second half of the eighties as record producer and sound system controller. But prior to his coronation Prince Jammy, as King Tubby’s right hand man, was famed for his crucial dub mixes at Tubby’s studio and for his infrequent forays into record production. This essential Pressure Sounds release originated as an obscure dub album that briefly surfaced in New York in the early eighties on the ‘Jammys Records’ label. It has since come to be rightly regarded by students and scholars of the dub school not only as a minor masterpiece of Jammy’s mixing style but also as an early demonstration of his masterful production techniques.
Produced, arranged, mixed and remixed by Prince Jammy, with the cream of Kingston’s session players, the set proved to be an early indication of the beginning of a new musical era created, paradoxically, by referring back to the classic rhythms of the sixties and seventies. The album is powered by the legendary drum and bass combination of Sly Dunbar & Robbie Shakespeare with the trumpet of Bobby Ellis and the alto saxophone of ‘Deadly’ Hedley Bennett coming to the fore on tracks such as ‘Old Country Dub’ and ‘271 Utica Dub’. Featuring updates of many classic rock steady and reggae rhythms including ‘Baba Boom’ and ‘Ali Baba’ from Treasure Isle, ‘Always Together’ from Studio One and the Baba Brooks ska classic ‘Shank I Sheck’ for King Edwards interspersed with a selection of original rhythms including one of Jammy’s early roots masterpieces: the apocalyptic ‘Jah Fire Will Be Burning’ from Hugh Mundell. The bonus CD only tracks, spare, lean recuts of two more Studio One classics: Jackie Mittoo’s ‘Hot Milk’ and Lester Sterling’s interpretation of Bert Kaempfert’s ‘Afrikaan Beat’, both date from a slightly later period.
Although the track titles, such as ‘Brooklyn Dub’ and ‘Bronx Fashion Dub’, reflect the fact that that the album was first released in New York the original cover artwork (showcased again on this Pressure Sounds release) shows Prince Jammy at the controls of the mixing desk in King Tubby’s Dromilly Avenue studio in the heart of Kingston’s Waterhouse ghetto… the spiritual home of dub music.