someone asked me the other day for advice regarding dub reggae. i won’t bore you with the details but i’ve been listening to reggae for a long time and got into dub in middle school. that’s 30+ years of skanking.
when i lived in atlanta my crib was right down the street from a jamaican owned record store. all imports from jamaica. i probably went in there for a year or two before any of the rastas acknowledged me… one day dude behind the counter was like… i man buys a lot of dub plates… him must be a thinking man… after that they were always really cool with me…
this list could easily venture into the 100′s but i’m gonna try to keep it modest… THIS LIST IS IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER… strictly stream of consciousness… but obviously the discs i think of first are probably the ones i’m most fond of or at least fresh on my mind from recent playings…
1. King Tubby’s “Rastafari Dub” (1974 – 1979)
A lot of the tracks on here are available on other compilations but this is a must have. A desert island disc for sure… Not the best but probably deserving of the #1 spot.
2. Dr. Alimantado Best Dressed Chicken in Town.
Some might argue that this is more of a toaster record than a true dub album and while that may be true the dubs he’s signing over are hot and plus this has one of the best album covers of any record ever.
3. Heavyweight Sound: A Blood and Fire Sampler Vol. 1-2
A compilation. Hot tracks. Many unavailable elsewhere. or at least not easily available… There are 3 volumes. I’ve only heard the first 2 so that’s what I’m recommending…
4. Burning Spear: Garvey’s Ghost
The dub plate of the seminal burning spear album Marcus Garvey. One of my all time favorites.
5. Gregory Isaccs: Slum in Dub
When most people think of the Cool Ruler they think of lovers rock. And Mr. Isaccs did it better than anyone. But this dub plate is from early tracks and the man on the mix is none other than Prince Jammy.
6. Prince Jammy: Kamakazi Dub
Speaking of Prince Jammy his output is prolific and it’s a matter of taste I like the early stuff. For me… this is one of the best
7. Lee “Scratch” Perry Kung-Fu meets the Dragon
All you need to know is it’s lee perry and it’s a dub record with a kung-fu cover. Can’t go wrong with the kung-fu album covers.
8. LKJ in dub
What can one say about Linton Kwesi Johnson that hasn’t been said already. With that being said, the first dub album, the one with the red cover, is just as powerful and intense as the man himself, even without his words on the track. it’s that heavy duty. another desert island disc. I’ve had at least 3 vinyl pressings and a cd of this over the years. It’s that good.
9. Scientist rids the world of the evil curse of the vampires/wins the world cup
Scientist is a newcomer when compared to Prince Jammy or Lee Perry but he studied at the alter of the mighty King Tubby and when he branched out on his own he hit the ground running. The early 80′s albums are all good. Here are two of my favorites
10. The Original Studio One Dub Vol 1 & 2.
If you don’t know what studio one is in relation to reggae and dub you should google it. type “studio one reggae.” i couldn’t do it justice in these few lines. There’s a shit-ton of studio one compilations… each seemingly better than the next. The 3 volume “roots” set is the bomb. But these dub tracks are hot hot hot. Also the single volume dub specialist from studio one is good as well.
11. Trojan Dub Box Set. Volume 1 2 and Dub Rarities.
Take your pick. 3 boxes 9 discs. ALL GOOD.
That’s a good starting point. Like I said, I could do this for a week straight and probably not really cover everything… I’m too lazy to put the links in where you can get this stuff… That’s what google is for. It’s all out there for your consumption however and easy to find. If you are so inclined.
meanwhile… another secret for finding hot dub tracks is too look and see who the musicians are… as you find stuff you like take note of who played on it and find other albums they are on… a lot of the studio musicians played with multiple artists and when it comes to dub they’re really the ones who are the backbone of the whole thing… them and the producers. or reducers depending on your point of view.
here’s a tip. any record that says “percussion: sticky” or “percussion: skully” buy it.
uziah “sticky” thompson
Noel “Skully” Simms
I’m sure some glaring omissions will present themselves to me and as this happens I will rectify the situation as needed…