Album review
In The Dub Zone
Ja-Man All Stars
Blood and Fire
16 - 02 - 2003

Tracking list

  1. Dub Zone
  2. Dangerman Version
  3. Herb Cutter
  4. Dread Nut Chalice
  5. Well Black
  6. Fire Bun
  7. Half Ounce
  8. Big Spliff
  9. Rasta Feeling
  10. Bush Weed
  11. Don't Get Crazy
  12. Weak Heart Drop
  13. Blood Version
  14. King's Dub
  15. Nuclear Bomb
  16. Poor Man Skank
  17. Censemania Dub
  18. Hotter Claps
  19. East Man Skank
  20. West Man Skank
  21. Higher Ranking Dub
  22. Hot Steppers Dub
  23. Downtown Rubadub
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

Vocals : - Backing : 4/5 Production : 4/5 Sound quality : 4/5 Sleeve : 5

Since the release of the first album "If Deejay Was Your Trade" in 1994 UK-based Blood & Fire Records have established themselves a name as one of the best re-issue labels around. This record company rightfully deserves its fame as it pleases reggae fans all over the world with releases of mainly hard-to-get gems from the past presented with the best sound quality possible, excellent artwork and great sleeve notes. Blood & Fire's 23rd release "129 Beat Street ~ Ja-Man Special 1975-1978", which featured a selection of Dudley 'Manzie' Swaby's classic roots vocal productions of the time, gets its follow up with their 41st release called "In The Dub Zone".
The cd comprises two -very hard to find in their original form- dub albums ["Ja-Man Dub" and "Kings Dub"] produced by Dudley 'Manzie' Swaby in 1977 and 1980. Both are presented here in their entirety, along with 4 b-side mixes taken from 45 rpm discs originally issued by the producer on his Ja-man and Manzie imprints in the same period. During this period, the focus of Jamaican music changed; from a roots and culture orientation - outward looking, socially aware - to a more hedonistic, materialist approach. This latter direction, generally referred to as 'dancehall' was more inward-looking, dealing largely in themes that reflected the day-to-day concerns of dancehall patrons. This period of early 'dancehall' music was dominated by deejays; one of the most successful, before his murder in 1981, was General Echo; many of the rhythms for his first LP "Rocking & Swing" can be heard in dub mixes on "Kings Dub" -tracks 14-23 on this cd.
The 23 tracks offered here represent a high quality crossection of the Channel One sound of that period. Note that the second album "King's Dub" is a typical early eighties dub set, featuring the sound of syn drums, which was so popular in that period. The clear and crisp sound of Channel One was the main reason for Dudley 'Manzie' Swaby to record his works there. Next to original 'Manzie' riddims, the album features some dazzling versions of Jamaican classics. Here you will find two boom tunes across the 'Pretty Looks' riddim -Dub Zone and Dangerman Version, and Herb Cutter which explores the 'Love I Can Feel Riddim'. Rasta Feeling is the dub to Bim Sherman's awesome Mighty Ruler, itself being a cut to Leroy Sibbles' 'Tripe Girl' riddim. Horace Andy's Fever riddim is used for track 10, Bush Weed while Higher Ranking Dub features yet another Heptones' riddim, this time its the 'Love Me Always' riddim. The album closes with Downtown Rubadub, which is the dub to U Brown's tune So Long, the riddim being 'ooh Wee Baby'.
Musicians include the following 'best of the best' : drums Sly Dunbar, Leroy 'Horsemouth' Wallace, Mikey 'Boo' Richards and on tracks 1 and 2 Eric 'Fish' Clarke, bass Ranchie McClean, Robbie Shakespeare and on tracks 1 and 2 Errol 'Flabba' Holt, guitar Dougie Bryan, Eric 'Bingy Bunny' Lamont, keyboards Ansell Collins, Gladstone Anderson, Theophilius Beckford, horns section consists of Bobby Ellis, Herman Marquis, Headley Bennett, Tommy McCook, Don Drummond Jr., Calvin Cameron and percussionists on board are Noel 'Skully' Simms and Uziah 'Sticky' Thompson.
The tracks were originally mixed by Crucial Bunny, Maxie, Soljie Hamilton , Ernest Hookim, Ranking Barnabas and Dudley Swaby at Channel One, except for tracks 1 & 2 which were done by King Tubby at King Tubby's studio.
Superb set, which highlights one of Jamaica's little known yet highly creative labels run by Dudley 'Manzie' Swaby.

Teacher & Mr. T.