Dread At The Controls ~ Evolution Rockers
Mikey Dread
November 8, 2005

Track list
  1. Dread Combination
  2. Walk Ras Tafari Way
  3. Proper Education
  4. King In The Ring
  5. Step By Step
  6. Love The Dread
  7. The Voice Of Jah
  8. Barber Saloon
  9. African Map
  10. School Girl
  11. East Portland Dub
  12. Bull Bay Dubwize
  13. Datc Tribute To King Tubby
  14. Voice Of Dub
  15. Internal Energy Dubmix
  16. Rastadub
  17. School Girl Dub
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4/5 Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 4/5 Sleeve : 4
Mikey Dread's solo recordings started in 1976, actually the same year he started to gain notoriety as a young DJ and audio engineer with his four-hour Saturday night "Dread At The Controls" show for the Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation (JBC). Mikey Dread (real name Michael Campbell) cut his first 45s for Lee "Scratch" Perry and imaginative singles followed for Sonia Pottinger, Joe Gibbs and underrated producer Carlton Patterson. The latter was also instrumental in helping Mikey Dread begin his career as producer, which enabled him to produce some of the freshest sounding records in the late 70s/early 80s, recording himself as a deejay, as well as hard roots singers like Rod Taylor, Edi Fitzroy, Earl 16 and Junior Murvin, to name a few. The dub sides, and version sides like "Internal Energy", "Robbers Roost", "Parrot Jungle" and "African Anthem" made people buying the records also for their dubs, and that hadn't happened since King Tubby's heydays with Bunny Lee a couple of years previously.

It has taken Mikey Dread twenty-seven years to reissue his 1978 released debut album "Evolution Rockers" -- released in the UK on Trojan Records as "Dread At The Control" in 1979 -- in digital clarity. This worthwhile and long awaited reissue not only treats us to the eight tracks that we're featured on its initial release, but also brings us great bonus material which includes two vocal tracks, King Tubby's dubs as well as some of Mikey's typical radio-show jingles.

From start to finish this is a very satisfying and entertaining cd, offering the listener the unique vocal delivery of Mikey Dread on top of some of the wickedest classic roots & culture sounds. If you're not familiar with his style (can't believe there's a reggae fan who isn't...) you'll probably have to take some time to get used to it, but then you'll simply have to admit that each and every track is worth of hearing and keeps you involved till the very end. Wickedest vocal tunes are the album opener "Dread Combinaton", "Proper Education", "Step By Step", "The Voice Of Jah", "African Map", "School Girl" and one of his best known songs, "Barber Saloon" -- No.1 on Jamaican and British Reggae charts in 1979 -- which comes across the "Weather Balloon" riddim. Our favourite dub cuts are "Datc Tribute To King Tubby", "Voice Of Dub", "Internal Energy Dubmix" and "Rastadub"

The music featured here was recorded at Channel One, King Tubby's, Joe Gibbs Studio and Treasure Isle with some of the best musicians of the time including Sly Dunbar, Horsemouth Wallace, Santa Davis, Robbie Shakespeare, Ranchie, Bagga Walker, Dougie Bryan, Bo-Peep Bowen, Earl "Chinna" Smith, Franklyn "Bubbler" Waul, Augustus Pablo, Ansel Collins, Gladstone Anderson, Vin Gordon, Deadly Headly, Sticky and Scully Simms.

The year 2006 will mark Mikey Dread's 30th anniversary in Reggae music. To celebrate this anniversary Mikey is planning several events and releases including a box set of his original JBC tape so that those who read about it and never heard it will do now.