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Strictly Dub by Prince Jammy

Strictly Dub by Prince Jammy

Strictly Dub by Prince Jammy

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Dub needn't be dull with Jammy at the controls...


This Pressure Sounds reissue was a rare dub LP produced by legendary King Tubbys apprentice and digital dancehall don Lloyd “Jammy” James. Originally released in New York in 1981, its brace of crisp, crystalline versions to some of his early productions are another good lesson in why dub needn't be dull.

The tracks (many named after NYC landmarks) put rhythms powered by the killer drum-and-bass duo Sly and Robbie under the microscope of the then-“Prince” Jammy’s customary ultra-clear sound. Unlike a couple of previous lost revivals (which suffered from degraded master tapes) Pressure Sounds have captured this unique selling point to his work reasonably well.

There’s lots of quivering flexatone, ample crashing snares and the odd laser gun firing off amid the polished, multilayered textures. These are busy if not overly crazy mixes, with only the guiro-driven Mother Dub, with its metallic sfx and spaceship whooshes, bucking the trend.

Keen ears will recognise the backings to Hugh Mundell’s sombre Jah Fire Will Be Burning (Old Country Road Dub), The Fantails' Name Of The Game (42nd Street Dub on the classic Shank I Sheck base) and Jammys recuts of the famous Ali Baba and Letter From Zion rhythms. Some of the vocals are available on Greensleeves’ timely compilation release 'Jammys From The Roots', which makes a fitting companion to this set.

In short, this a textbook example of Jammys studio art that lets us appreciate the subtle yet unmistakable differences between his approaches and those of Tubby and Scientist. In terms of the Pressure Sounds catalogue, dub obviously sells and there are clearly plenty of underrated albums gathering dust on the shelves, but another vocal reissue would be nice next time...

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