Album review
Heroes Of Reggae In Dub
The Skatalites
Motion Records

Tracking list

  1. Give Thanks
  2. Close To Jah
  3. Zion I Dub
  4. Herb Man Dub
  5. Rocky Road
  6. Hero Of Dub
  7. Dub Of Love
  8. Heavens Gate
  9. Every Day I Pray
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

Vocals : - Backing : 4 Production : 4 Sound quality : 4 Sleeve : 4

The Skatalites, formed in the early 60s, were the créme de la créme of Jamaica's musical talent at the time. The personnel fluctuated from time to time, but the most important instrumentalists were : Don Drummond, Tommy McCook, Roland Alphonso, Johnny "Dizzy" Moore, Jah Jerry, Lester Sterling, Jackie Mittoo, Lloyd Brevett and Lloyd Knibbs. After two fruitful years, a combination of several problems caused them to break up in late 1965, leaving behind a wealth of historical recordings. In 1975 the core members of this legendary band reformed to make this album, Heroes Of Reggae In Dub. It was produced by Lloyd Brevett, founding member and bassist of the band, and Glen Darby, who sang professionally as a youth at Studio One, as part of the vocal group The Scorchers.
The album was recorded over a two month period at three major recording studios on the island; Joe Gibbs' studio on Retirement Crescent, Aquarius on Molynes Road and Studio One on Brentford Road. The mixing was done by one of Jamaica's true heroes, the late great King Tubby, who mixed it over the course of two nights at his four track studio in Drummlie Avenue. King Tubby, real name Osbourne Ruddock, also known as the dub originator, started his Tubby's Home Town Hi Fi sound system in the late 60s. He 'invented' dub, by reworking Duke Reid's rocksteady classics. Throughout the 70s he was the foremost dub mixer in Jamaica, cutting crucial dubs for almost every Jamaican producer. He also took up producing and laid down some heavy digital slices. On 6 February 1989 he was murdered and reggae music lost one of his most creative figures.
The album is more an instrumental set, with the addition of some nice dub effects, not the pounding dub of countless and well known Aggrovators sessions. The tunes on this set are mid 70's musical treasures played by and extremely experienced group of musicians. You'll hear the late great Tommy McCook and Roland Alphonso on sax and flute and Don D Junior's trombone, which is highlighted in several tracks. One of the outstanding tracks on this set is Close To Jah featuring Ernie Ranglin's shuffling guitar. Zion I Dub is one of the tracks on the album that is pure dub; fragments of vocals, an hypnotic flute and with great emphasis on the bass and the drum. Track 5, Rocky Road is a rocking uptempo tune, whilst in Dub Of Love and Heavens Gate the tempo is slowed down, thus creating an hypnotic athosphere.
Musicians included here are : Roland Alphonso - Alto Sax, Leroy 'Horsemouth' Wallace, Benbow, Lloyd Knibbs - Drums, Tommy McCook - Tenor Sax and Flute, Lester Sterling - Tenor Sax, Don D Junior - Trombone, Ernie Ranglin - Guitar, Lloyd Brevett - Acoustic Bass, Percussion and Congas, Ras Michael - Congas and Percussion, Augustus Pablo - Keyboards and Clavinet, Jackie Mitto - Keyboards, and the Tonny & Ruth Brevett are featured on vocals.

Teacher & Mr. T.