Sly & Robbie, King Tubby’s Dance Hall Dub

Pat Meschino

By Pat Meschino

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Dub's creator, the late Jamaican electronics engineer and sound system owner King Tubby (born Osbourne Ruddick), is honored here through 12 dub remixes of '70s reggae hits courtesy of Jamaica's premier drum and bass duo Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare. Sly and Robbie's decades-long, harmonious musical marriage rings loud and clear in these stunning remixes — the drums and bass lines are so forceful the album should include a disclaimer for dub neophytes: "not responsible for changes in your musical perceptions after hearing this record."

Horns blast right through "I Yah Who Dub," a spirited organ riff dances all over "The Experience" and choppy guitars reverberate throughout "Jah Is Easy." Robbie's bass and the clapping of Sly's Syndrums transform John Holt's "Thief in the Night" into the mind-altering "Brain Dub" while "Pannin Dub" obliterates the Abyssinians '"Declaration of Rights" rhythm yet uncannily leaves their celestial harmonies intact.

Fittingly, this astonishing tribute represents dub at its psyche-shifting finest; it's ironic, though, that dub's inventor doesn't enjoy the international renown of his own enduring musical contribution.