Raw Raw Dub
Bush Chemists
October 21, 2005

Track list
  1. New Beginning
  2. Speaker Rocker
  3. East Of Jaro
  4. Dark Dub
  5. Symphony Of Dub
  6. New Style
  7. Heartical Dub
  8. Oriental Style
  9. Round The Dub
  10. Rubber Dub
  11. Flying Cymbal
  12. Raw Raw Dub
  13. Lift Me
  14. Double Drum
  15. Higher Heights
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : - Backing : 3 Production : 4 Sound quality : 4 Sleeve : 5
In England for the whole of the 80's and the early 90's -- besides the clusters of totally committed underground followers who coveted, bought and exchanged impossibly rare music in a low key underground scene -- roots music was forgotten, considered old fashioned, a spent force.

Of course the digital dancehall scene was thriving, bringing up exciting new talents and sound techniques --

But if you were into roots? -- All your local record store had to offer you might be a dusty Burning Spear album, a 2nd rate Culture compilation, or maybe, if you were lucky, the odd lukewarm ONU Sound album.

Artists such as Alpha and Omega and The Disciples with their apparently unstoppable enthusiasm for the music undoubtedly helped to turn all that around by tapping into the vibes that inspired them from the underground Shaka scene, and uniting that with their love for old JA vinyl.

But importantly -- they didn't slavishly copy and imitate -- but very much added their own alchemy, something that a lot of newer roots artists from Europe and JA seem to be missing now.

So the fact that our record stores are now brimming with a rich variety of excellent reggae music, is -- in part at least -- down to the efforts of people like Russ Disciples and Alpha and Omega.

Not to over emphasise their role at the expense of a long tradition of Jamaican artists, of course -- but play a role they did -- and they helped blow the cobwebs off a dusty, scorned and forgotten musical genre in the 80's and 90's. They were a much needed breath of fresh air -- and provided a much needed kick in the pants to a largely ossified, uninspired genre.

Dougie Conscious and the Bush Chemists were part of that movement too -- check out Dougie's aggressive, driven engineering on Jah Warrior/Napthali's indispensable "One Of These Days". Check out the bizarre, eccentric sound Dougie gets on the vastly under rated "Light Up Your Chalice". Also check the dreamlike collage sound of the first Messenjah and Hydroponics albums, which -- though certainly very derivative -- are inspired labours of love. While you are at it, don't miss Dougie's work on Jah Warrior’s under rated collage dub classic, "Dub From the Heart."

For many of us then, these albums are the peak of the UK roots genre -- a wider genre which has become somewhat staid, dour and repetitive over the last five years ( Dread and Fred's "Warrior Stance" -- an inspired original classic -- has surely been wrung out and over used to an extreme degree by now!).

This album from the interesting and diverse ROIR label shows that Bush Chemists still aspire to new sound treatments -- "Speaker Rocker" with it's warped bass tones and piercing high frequencies is a high point, as is the urban ghetto spirituality of "Lift Me". Dougie gets some nice distortion overload on the snares, cymbals and rim shots. The only reservation with this album is the (occasional) over use of a dull, murky and stodgy digi bass drum, which overwhelms Dougie's light touch at the controls and his clever use of innovative cross rhythms and textures -- but digi steppers is what people want, for the good and the bad of it -- and Dougie knows his audience.