Version Dread: 18 Dub Hits from Studio One
August 28, 2006

Track list
  1. Ernest & The Sound Dimension - Why Oh Why Version
  2. The Sound Dimension - Fire Coal Version
  3. Winston & New Establishment - Creation Version
  4. The Sound Dimension - Please Be True Version
  5. Willie & Brentford Rockers - Armagideon Version
  6. The Soul Vendors - Born To Dub
  7. The Sound Dimension - Pick Up Version
  8. Lloyd Robinson & Brentford Disco Set - It Deep Pt. 2
  9. The Sound Dimension - Version Dread
  10. The Sound Dimension - Declaration Version
  11. The Soul Vendors - Things A Come Up To Dub
  12. The Sound Dimension - Zion Lion
  13. Cornell Campbell & Brentford Rockers - Natty Rub A Dub
  14. The Heptones & The Sound Dimension - Give Me This Version
  15. New Establishment - Fire Version
  16. Basil Daley - Hold Me Baby Pt. 2
  17. The Sound Dimension - Train Is Coming Pt. 2
  18. New Establishment - New Broom Pt. 2
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : - Backing : 4/5 Production : 4/5 Sound quality : 4 Sleeve : 5
Before there was 'dub' there was 'version'. At first they were called 'versions' - mostly the music with snatches of vocals sometimes used Acappella. These 'versions' are the roots of dub, as well as of rap and hip hop. At the dance halls, the selectors would play the versions of popular tunes and talk (toast) across them which is where actually rap started. Gradually these flip sides became as important as the vocal release, and soon a new phenomenon known as 'dub' was born. Heavily remixed versions of the vocals, filled with echoes and radical equalization, drove the fans wild.

It's obvious that the flip side or "Version" side of Jamaican 7" singles was the domain of the engineer whose creative skills would be brought to bear at the mixing desk to mess with the heads of the listener. Names like Osbourne "King Tubby" Ruddock, Errol "ET" Thompson, Overton "Scientist" Brown, Lloyd "Prince Jammy" James are written into the history of reggae music as pioneers of what we now call the remix.

In those days Studio One, with its catalog of top hits, was able to provide the growing craze with its own brand of exciting 'versions' and 'dubs'. However Coxsone Dodd never bothered to credit the engineer who mixed the dubs issued on single or LP. He simply credited them, if at all, to one Dub Specialist. Sylvan Morris is one name often flung into the ring, though he left Brentford Road by the time many of these tracks were recorded, not to mention the many dub LP's Coxsone issued. Morris gets a credit here, as does the man himself Mr. Dodd, who it now appears was pretty much the Dub Specialist.

Now Heartbeat's latest Studio One compilation entitled "Version Dread" collects 18 of some of the most sought after 'version' sides taken from Studio One 7" singles released between the years of 1966 to 1982. The set opens with the dubbed up tune Why Oh Why, a riddim still used nowadays! Fire Coal Version is the instrumental cut the the Wailing Souls' tune "Mr. Fire Coal Man", complete with spoken intro and bits of sirens and great harmonies.

There's a straight instrumental version of "Pick Up The Pieces" as well as "Please Be True" by the relatively unknown vocalist Alexander Henry. Zion Lion is a fantastic cut across the 'Melody Life' riddim and features some wicked vocals by High Charles. The killer instrumental cut of Burning Spear's classic 'Creation Rebel' is also included on this wonderful set and so is Lloyd Robinson's very rare and deeply moody It Deep. Hold Me Baby is a fine uptempo riddim interjected with sweet vocal snatches by Basil Daley, whilst "Declaration Of Rights" remains one of Jamaica's most outstanding riddims. Check out the instrumental version here!

Furthermore there's the wonderful Pablove Black synth and clavinet romp through Version Dread (the original version side to "Father & Dreadlocks"), the wicked, slashing, dubbed up version of the Bassies' Things A Come Up To Bump, and the version to the Classics' roots anthem "Brimstone & Fire". Also included is a previously unreleased dub to the Righteous Flames' "I Was Born To Be Loved".

This release comes with a nice booklet which offers extensive liner notes and rare photos. All in all a must have collection!