In reggae, all roads lead to the “Riddim Twins”, Sly & Robbie. They’ve been revered as style-defining icons for years, and together and individually have a massive influence on the genre. Now, Sly & Robbie meet Dubmatix. The Canadian producer and multi-instrumentalist took original Sly & Robbie tracks and spent months crafting this new album, Overdubbed. The result is an album that shines with eclectic diversity. From roots oriented tunes to dubs for the clubs, there’s a bit of everything. Dubmatix’s refreshingly playful, bass-heavy approach creates new highlights while at the same time paying deserved homage to two world-class musicians.
Following the wonderfully named 2103 documentary “I Am the Gorgon”, Bunny “Striker” Lee is becoming more widely recognized as one of the crucial figures in the development of Jamaican music. His encyclopaedic knowledge and forthright nature make for a fascinating interview, with frequent digressions and anecdotes only adding flavour to the mix. In part two of a wide-ranging conversation, he holds forth on, among many others: the “revolutionary” Mrs. Pottinger, Coxsone Dodd, Chris Blackwell, Black Uhuru, Sly & Robbie, Lee Perry, Count Shelly, interviewer Steve Barrow, Inner Circle, , Joe Gibbs, Edward Seaga, Irie FM, Rodigan, Roland Alphonso, Tommy McCook, and Lester Sterling. And there’s more: Harry J’s “midas touch”, England “the headquarters” of Jamaican music, King Tubby’s 4-track dub, when Niney “ruled the roost”, Duke Reid’s guns, and the importance of Baba Brooks.
One of Jamaica’s most prolific and influential producers, Bunny Lee is well placed to takes us through the history of Jamaican music, from the early days of Tom the Great Sebastian, to the Vere Johns talent show, and the emergence of ska. He recalls his days as a radio plugger in the “dodgy business” of music and his peak producing years between 1969 and 1975, when he had a series of hits with the likes of Slim Smith and Delroy Wilson. Along the way are fascinating comments on such seminal figures as Leslie Kong, King Tubby, and U Roy. And then things get really interesting, as he explains to Steve Barrow and Don Letts how Derrick Morgan gave Bob Marley his break, the significance of Big Youth’s dreadlocks, his “Dreadlocks Dread”, and the “John Crow Skank”. All this is followed by an extended, extraordinary diatribe about how Byron Lee “tried to kill reggae”.
The outsider quality of Glen Brown’s music may account for his relative obscurity.
Like the creations of his erstwhile peer, Yabby You, Brown’s distinctly leftfield productions were rooted in the Rastafari creed, but had a good deal more humour about them, and since he always had more ideas than ready finance, much of his output was issued in limited pressings of very small number, making most of his work very hard to find at its initial time of issue. Brown maintained a close working relationship with both King Tubby and Tommy McCook, which resulted in superb examples of instrumental roots reggae releases and sublime dub B-sides, and he had an innate feel for deejay music as well, nurturing some of the form’s best-known exponents. The most distinctive quality that defines his output is partly down to Brown’s deep appreciation for jazz music, and his actual involvement in the Jamaican jazz scene, which allowed a jazz sensibility to permeate almost all of his work, much of which made good use of expressive horn sections.