Print this Page

World Music CD Reviews Reggae & Caribbean

THE AFRICAN BROTHERS MEET KING TUBBY IN DUB

By Bruce Miller
Published September 23, 2005

Nature Sounds

There should be a minor complaint or two expressed before saying anything else about this release. First, at just 12 tunes and only a little more than a half hour, the Nature Sounds label has just skimped dub nuts in the length department. Furthermore, the twelfth number, titled “Bonus,” is only 46 seconds long and appears to be the unclipped beginning of track three, “Shock Dem.” Now that it’s clear why this would make more sense as a vinyl-only reissue, let’s get to the music. These deep tracks are King Tubby mixes of African Brothers (Sugar Minott, Tony Tuff and Eric Bubbles) recordings dating between 1968-78 and as such, make for some of the heaviest bottom-end groove ever to emerge from Jamaica’s sweaty studios and sound systems. Supposedly, these dubs have all been “lost” for 20-odd years and the label claims them to be previously unreleased. But aren’t those the pops and scratches from well-loved vinyl audible in the background? No matter, these little dub bombs, drenched in reverb and all but stripped of their original melodies, become masterpieces of late-night minor key skank and ride, right alongside Joe Gibbs’ “No Bone for the Dogs,” “Augustus Pablo in Fine Style” or “Rockers Almighty Dub.”