2 Dread Inna Babylon
Ranking Dread & Massive Dread
Silver Kamel Audio
December 12, 2006

Track list
    Ranking Dread:
  1. Satta
  2. Woman Lover feat. Horace Andy
  3. Dread In Loving
  4. Dread Inna Captivity feat. Cornell Campbell
  5. First Love feat. Hortense Ellis
  6. Something On His Mind feat. Horace Andy
    Massive Dread:
  7. Tappa Roots
  8. No More To Row
  9. Brutality feat. Horace Andy
  10. Morgan The Pirate
  11. Understand
  12. Melody Of Love
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 3/4 Backing : 3/4 Production : 4 Sound quality : 4 Sleeve : 3
"2 Dread Inna Babylon" brings together two illustrious reggae deejays from Trenchtown, Jamaica, of whom very little is known and whose output was far from prolific. However people who knew and have seen them perform state they were great and were popular with the dancehall crowd in Jamaica back in the late '70s/early '80s.

Ranking Dread (real name Winston Brown) became famous for his work on Ray Symbolic in the '70s. Linval Thompson produced his debut album "Girls Fiesta" in 1978, which was followed in the next year by the self-produced "Kunta Kinte Roots". He also collaborated with Sugar Minott which led to the release of the "Lots Of Loving" album in 1980. The deejay's biggest hit came in 1981 with another self-produced tune called "Fattie Boom Boom". Ranking Dread got himself into more than a few brushes with the authorities and ended up on the run, eventually being extradited from Canada and imprisoned in Jamaica where he was killed.

Massive Dread (real name Dennis James) worked with Metromedia in the early '80s. His first hit "This Is Massive" was released on the UFO label, produced by Valerie Chang-Cowan, who also produced the "Strictly Bubbling" album. He then recorded the LP "It's Massive" for the Wailing Souls. Massive Dread and a group of men got together and organized and setup a not for profit school called "The Trenchtown Reading Centre" to address the needs of the community - it provided basic schooling and vocational programs, a youth club, and a library. The centre opened December 1993 and has thrived over the years and expanded but sadly Massive Dread has not seen the success of his work as he was shot for publicly speaking out against the political authorities.

Gathered on this album are six tunes of each artist, all produced by Tappa Zukie and recorded at Channel One in Kingston, Jamaica. There's no information or whatsoever available about these recordings, but most likely -- because of their "rockers style" riddims -- they date back to the second half of the '70s, except for Massive Dread's last three tracks which come on '80s riddims.

Ranking Dread's set kicks off with "Satta" (across the Abyssinians' much covered "Satta Massagana" riddim), in which he delivers his lyrics in a vocal style reminiscent of Prince Far I. He continues in real fine style with "Woman Lover", a deejay cut on Horace Andy's "Love Of A Woman", which has a truly wicked booming bass line. Another great riddim -- the "Pressure And Slide" probably best known from Sugar Minott's Studio One hit "Oh Mr D.C." -- underpins "Dread In Loving", a tune worth of hearing. It's followed by the best Ranking Dread tune included here, the awesome "Dread Inna Captivity", with Cornell Campbell's vocals coming in and out of the mix. Together with Alton's sister Hortense Ellis he reworks the Cat Stevens' song "The First Cut Is The Deepest", before we're treated to "Something On His Mind", Ranking Dread's last track here and a matching cut to the already mentioned "Dread Inna Captivity".

"Tappa Roots", Massive Dread's rendition of the Tappa Zukie song, is a good teaser for things to come. "No More To Row" is a great tune one can play over and over again. Next drops another worthwhile track which the vintage fan will surely enjoy, namely the 12" version of Horace Andy's "Brutality". Without doubt the most outstanding track you'll find on this album is "Morgan The Pirate", with only drum and bass backing up Massive Dread's vocal and lyrical delivery. Also "Understand" doesn't dissapoint, in contrast to the CD bonus track, "Melody Of Love", which has a computerized sound and thus is somewhat out of place on this otherwise satisfying and entertaining album.

Musicians involved are Sly Dunbar, Carlton 'Santa' Davis, Robbie Shakespeare, Earl 'Chinna' Smith, Bobby Ellis, Tommy McCook, Keith Sterling and Scully.