Dang In Dub 4: Every Spoil Is A Style

Dang In Dub 4 artwork by Dave The Chimp and Ekta

Dang In Dub 4 artwork

After some 3 months of work, I’m delighted to now get this new Dang In Dub compilation online for you all to enjoy. Doing this was nothing less than a total pleasure for me, and it reignited not just my passion for dub but my passion for music, mixing and production in general.

This is not a mix; for that, go check Up The Anti. This is a selection of my favourite 45s, all treated through my own dub rig to turn them into versions you will not be able to hear anyplace else.

The theme this time was roots: I wanted to do a comp that pulled together probably my main passion in reggae, namely that heavy roots period when the likes of Lee Perry, Prince Jammy, Errol Thompson and more ruled the Jamaican scene. Music had graduated beyond the catchiness of the ska period into a more conscious time that reflected the political unrest going on at the time, with lyrical content getting more rasta in view and tracks slowing down to focus on heaviness rather than speed. For me, this is the most potent time in Jamaica’s awesome musical history, and hence I wanted to spotlight that to try to show others why I love it so much.

Before now I’ve been reticent about giving up tracklistings for comps and mixes, but in this case I’ll make a rare exception, partly because I wanted to shed some light on each track in some way; why I chose it, what I love about it etc.

So, first up, download the mix (130Mb – 320k MP3). Then, if you feel so inclined, check out my tracklisting and notes. Alternatively, hit “play” on the player at the bottom of this post and read whilst listening…

If you enjoy what you hear, please do leave a comment to say so. This is about passion for music, and if this comp moves you as much as the tracks do me, then drop by and say so. Enjoy!


1. Joe Higgs – Journey To Freedom
For some reason this track took a few goes to dub out, mainly because I’d opted to do a tricky splice of both versions of the track (note: its when the trombone comes in… and then switches back when it ends). I love it though; not roots per se, but just a lovely groove on it. Arrogantly I’d say I prefer this spliced version to the original, purely because it takes the best of both.

2. Linval Thompson – Black Princess Lady
Jesus – what a tune! I remember hearing this for the first time booming out on someone’s stall at a record fair, and I just had to shake the guy down for a copy. The original vocal is nice, but its all about the dub, which is fairly light on delays and so left plenty of room for me to do my thing. What a bassline though – massive.

3. Bob Marley & Lee Perry – Shocks Almighty
This was a white label I picked up, but I know the track as a lost treasure of the Black Ark. A few versions exist, including one that melds both a vocal take and a dub, but this one worked best for me as it left me room to do my own dub treatment on it. As funky as Lee Perry ever got though, for sure.

4. Big Youth – unknown
Its no secret I love my Deejays, with Dr Alimantado’s “Best Dressed Chicken In Town” being still my favourite reggae/roots LP. This track though leapt out to me for both the massive bassline and the gorgeous, spatial drums. It was also the track on which I learned how to do delays that echo the hits of the snare in double triplets to give that chasing effect.

5. Junior Ross and The Spears – Jah Jah Say
This was another blind purchase on my part which proved to be a killer tune. Oddly, the dub of this track isn’t all that, hence me opting to use the vocal cut and treat it myself.

6. Upsetters – Dub In The Backseat
There are two tracks on this collection that don’t have anything beyond judicous EQ added to them. This is the first, and the reason is that this track is nigh-on perfect in my view. Funky as hell, killer vocal, huge bassline. Ten years from now if you asked me to name my top 5 reggae tracks, this would still be in there; its just sublime. Incidentally, the distortion on the bassline is straight from the tape heads; Lee Perry used to ram up the volume to get natural distortion from the overdriven levels… The vocal cut on the A side of this single is nice, but the vocal gets too in the way of the drums and bass, both of which are surely the about the finest ever laid down in Jamaica (one track notwithstanding – the final one!)

7. Johnny Clarke – Play Fool
Classic roots sounds here. Again, this is a 45 where the dub is amazing, but so complete there’s almost nothing to add to it. Consequently, I dubbed around with the vocal cut where there was more space. Another blind purchase on my part – it cost me £1.50. Love it.

8. Horace Andy – Quiet Place Dub
I had to include this King Tubby dub of the classic Horace Andy track for one simple reason: it is easily the most brutal “Tubby Kick The Amp” dub I’ve ever heard. For those of you who don’t know, Tubby used to kick his spring reverb unit to make the spring bounce about, giving the vicious sound you hear at the beginning (and throughout) this track. I just love it when Horace delivers the “hear the pots and pans dem fall” line, only to be followed by Tubby kicking seven shades of shit out of his unit. The guy’s foot must have been killing him by the time this one was done.

9. Knowledge – Centry
Another blind purchase on my part, though I gather the French label Makasound has now released a comp of Knowledge’s very excellent catalogue. This is absolutely the highlight though, is another one where I’ve taken on the vocal cut with my own effects before switching to the dub. You won’t miss the transition though, as the quality of the two recordings is so massively different you hear the fidelity take quite a jump. This song is just magic though; I defy anyone to not tap out the steppers rhythm on something when you’ve heard it!

10. Brent Dowe – Righteous Works
I knew of Brent Dowe from his Black Ark appearances, but again this was one I got based on my ears first. Pure, brilliant roots at its finest. This one came to me via Barry, my dread 45s dealer who hooks me up with no end of heaviness. He played this for me and it lasted all of 20 seconds before it was off the platter and in my bag. Awesome stuff. Dubbing this was fun for me, as it was a real lesson in riding the delays – the results of which you can hear as delays fade, return then fade out again.

11. Linval Thompson – Tell Me
This track just blows me away every time I hear it. Linval’s voice is incredible – arguably second only to Horace Andy’s in my humble opinion. On this track though, his vocal meshes in with the rhythm section so beautifully it makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. As with Joe Higgs and Knowledge, this is a splice, starting with the vocal and then switching to the B-side dub. The treatments on this track and the transition from the vocal to the dub are possibly the high point on this comp for me. You cannot miss the transition: its when Linval sings “I am just like any other maaaaan” for the 2nd time and the bass drops back in, twice as heavy (and believe me, its heavy enough already). This one will test your bass cans, make no mistake… and you’ll love every second of it.

12. Prince Allah – Bosrah Dub Plate Mix
This was one of those slightly shady under-the-counter purchases, as it is a dubplate special version of the mighty Tapper Zukie track. It also represents the start of “the grimy section” – two tracks that I had to include, despite seriously lo-fi sound quality. This track is massive though, and despite being grimey as hell in terms of quality, the bassline still comes through. This is the other track I didn’t touch in any way; frankly its too damn fragile to mess with.

13. Gatherers – Words Of My Mouth

The second of the two grimey tracks in the comp, this one is a real favourite of mine. Whilst the sound quality is at best ghetto as hell, it nonetheless has an incredible vibe about it which is why I had to include it. Dubbing this was great fun too; its one of those roomy tracks that gives you a fair bit of room to mess with things.

14. Jackie Mittoo – Wall Street
I love Jackie Mittoo, but this 45 is a real highlight for me. I just that rotary speaker effect on his keys – so damn fine. As a track, this deviated slightly from the roots theme of this mix, but I felt like the comp needed the odd break from that, and this is one of them. It was another one where I applied “chaser” delays too, which are great fun if you nail em properly…

15. Big Youth – Money In My Pocket
This is a more vocal cut from Big Youth, showcasing his legendary Deejay skills. Working on this track I realised something pretty key: dubbing any kind of Deejay piece is a nightmare, because unlike vocalists they rarely adhere to any rhythm within the track, meaning that unless you have perfect memory of the performance, you never quite know when to send stuff to the effects. This is one of the tracks that skipped too; right when I’d applied a delay to it. Listen out for it – its pretty funny.

16. Jah Lloyd – Clocktower Station
Another fine track, this time from someone I’d never heard of before now: Jah Lloyd. Doing some reading up on the guy, it turns out he was also Jah Lion when collabing with Lee Perry, and he also went on to produce some Mighty Diamonds LPs. This Deejay performance predates both though I believe, and is another perfect example of that heavy roots sound of the 70s.

17. Johnny Clarke – Blood Danza
This was a late addition to the comp as I only bought it about 2 weeks back. In some ways I think it shows too, as the dub take on this is more controlled than some of the others. As the penultimate track, I also needed this one to go into some mad, freestyle delay/reverb wigout to allow me to build up to the grand finale track. So, that madness you hear at the end isn’t part of the song; its me playing the mixing desk…

18. Errol Thompson & Joe Gibbs – Chapter Three
Fact: this is one of the heaviest dubs ever laid down. If someone ever dares to say “hey Sly and Robbie weren’t all that…”, just point them to this cut from Errol Thompson and Joe Gibbs’ now legendary “African Dub All-Mighty Vol.3” LP. Words cannot do justice to the might of both Sly’s insanely catchy steppers riddim and Robbie’s MASSIVE – and believe me, I truly mean MASSIVE – bassline. Including this track was essential for me, but I’ll be honest: you can only finish a comp with this track because if you put it anywhere else in the running order, anything that follows it will sound weak. So, go out on a high note… and it don’t get any higher than this.

Artwork by Dave The Chimp and Ekta

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