Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Forgotten Guitar Solos No. 98 - Carly Simon "You're So Vain" (1972)


2:02-2:30 - A very brittle but pleasing solo from guitarist Jimmy Ryan, momentarily lifting the song out of its pop groove and giving it a little bit of shine.

Ryan cut his teeth with '60s American pop group "The Critters" before recording and touring with Carly Simon. Finally worked as a studio session musician with such names as Cat Stevens, John Entwistle and Dean Friedman, although can still be found on Carly Simon albums in the mid-80s.

Monday, 26 December 2011

Forgotten Guitar Solos No. 231. The Isley Brothers - "Summer Breeze" (Album Version)


If you thought this was just a soft-rock seventies summer anthem, then think again.

Ernie Isley's lead guitar has been simmering away from the start of the song, but at 4:04 he suddenly lets rip with a blistering solo that doesn't stop until the fade-out at 6:17.


Thursday, 22 December 2011

Dave's 500 Bus Albums No 24 - Pet Shop Boys "Actually" (1987)

Pet Shop Boys' 3rd album (entitled "Pet Shop Boys, Actually" to be accurate) still sounds fresh after nearly 25 years and contains three of the 20th Century's best pop songs - "Rent", "Heart", and "What Have I Done to Deserve This" (featuring the sublime vocals of Dusty Springfield). Perfect electronic music, with Neil Tennant's voice functioning as another instrument.

Long walks home through darkened rain-washed streets, squealing car tyres in underground car parks; it's the perfect soundtrack to the lost world of mid-80's London. I mean, audacious lines like "I love you, you pay my rent." just say it all. This is penthouse apartment land, the sodium and neon-lit habitat of the metrosexual (years before the term was coined). What else can I say? I love this album.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Dave's 500 Bus Albums No 23 - Black Sabbath "Seventh Star" (1986)

Well after listening to Tony Iommi and Glenn Hughes on "The DEP Sessions", I thought I'd better go back and see what all the fuss was about. "Seventh Star" wasn't what I was expecting. For a start it doesn't sound much like Black Sabbath. A quick look into the album's history tells me why. It actually started life as a Tony Iommi solo project, and contains none of the original Sabbath lineup bar Iommi himself. Apparently the record label insisted it be released as "Black Sabbath featuring Tony Iommi" which probably lead everyone to expect something quite different. Like me.

I found it a bit of a bland album, having a lot in common with the formulaic American hard rock of the mid-80s, you know, Whitesnake, Guns n Roses, etc. You can kind of still hear Sabbath riffs buried somewhere deep down inside, but it's far too FM-friendly and faceless for me. Iommi's just going through the motions, Hughes doesn't really sound like he even wants to be there, and the rest of the band might as well be session musicians. IMO "The DEP Sessions" is much better than this.

No, not a Sabbath album at all.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Dave's 500 Bus Albums No 22 - Glenn Hughes & Tony Iommi "The DEP Sessions" (2004)

What a find! Back in 1996 Hughes and Iommi dropped into Birmingham's DEP studios to rekindle their working relationship from the Sabbath album "Seventh Star" (I really must listen to that). These tracks were recorded, but the sessions cut short when Iommi returned to a re-formed Black Sabbath. Fast forward to 2004 and the tracks are finally cleaned up and released on CD.

Now I've always found Tony Iommi's guitarwork to be a bit soulless. Not in a bad way, but if you're listening to Black Sabbath, you're not listening for the sweetness and the flowers. Iommi's music is cruel and cutting, riffs that slice into you like indifferent demons from the deepest bowels of hell. We're not talking warm comforting blues here.

But Glenn Hughes has exactly that kind of a blues voice, a bit like Paul Rodgers and a bit like David Coverdale. Consequently this album sounds like a weird crossover between Deep Purple and Black Sabbath, like and yet unlike Gillan's one-album stint with Sabbath. In fact it's kind of like the opposite side of the coin to that collaboration. Whereas "Born Again" submerged Gillan's vocals in the relentless Sabbath guitar machine, Hughes here holds his own and complements Iommi's guitar beautifully, adding the soul and the heart that Iommi lacks.

If "Born Again" was chalk and cheese, "The DEP Sessions" is ice cream and soda. I'll leave you to guess who's who.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Dave's 500 Bus Albums No 21 - F/i "Blanga" (2005)

"Blanga" is a little known term for the kind of extended slow heavy rock jamming typical of long-haired Space Rock bands. And by Space Rock I don't mean Muse or Spiritualized. I mean Space Rock in its original sense - Hawkwind circa 1972, Pink Floyd very occasionally circa 1967 (see "Intersteller Overdrive"), and more recently bands like Farflung and Litmus.

F/i are an American Space Rock band who've been around since about 1984. This album is their celebration of the genre they are most associated with. Every song on the album has the word "blanga" in the title (from "An Extremely Lovely Girl Dreams of Blanga" to "Grandfather Blanga and his Band Light it Up").

This music is crushing, doom-laden and extremely heavy. Drums pound relentlessly, guitars pick a riff and stick with it until the song fades out (most blanga fades out, giving the impression that the jam is continuing and we're the ones who have to leave). There are no verses, no chorus, no vocals, no bridge, no middle-eight. There is also no guitar solo, or if there is, it lasts the whole song. You can't dance to it, but you can head-bang...in slow motion. There may be keyboards, but there are definitely synths swirling and bleeping all the way through. All combining to give the impression that You're on a monstrous behemoth of a space ship tearing through the universe, engines at max, stars shooting by in a cascade of relativistic Doppler shifts. This is Space Rock.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Dave's 500 Bus Albums No 20 - Bubbledubble "Live at Glastonbury Assembly Rooms" (2004 )

Electronic, Ambient, Psychedelic, Reggae, Space-Rock, Dub. Kind of sums up Bubbledubble. There's three of them in the band, and you get lots of echo, spacey synth and guitar, heavy heavy Dub riddims, and harmonica...and somehow it all works.

Bubbledubble seem to originate from the Portsmouth area, and have a fairly limited set at present so if you've heard this album you've heard about 90% of their output. The Bubbledubble sound is somewhat overwhelming at first, as if they've turned everything up to 11, but you find yourself quickly starting to groove to it. Hippies, punks, rastas, clubbers, there's probably something for everyone in Bubbledubble. But don't take my word for it, look them up on Youtube.

If you want something slow and pulsating, try "Moonbase Dub" or "Melodicant". For something faster that you might just be able to dance to, try "Spooky" or "Dub Slider". Bubbledubble are probably a bit of an acquired taste, but whether you like or dislike them, you won't find them boring.

Probably good with a couple of spliffs too!

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Dave's 500 Bus Albums No 19 - Eagles "Hell Freezes Over" (1994)

This is the Eagles' second live album, the title of which refers to a quote by Don Henley after the band broke up in 1980, commenting on when the band would play together again. Upon it's release in 1994 it went straight to No. 1 on the US Billboard album chart and stayed there for the next two weeks.

I really wanted to like this album. I'm not a great fan of the Eagles, but they were around in the 70s and 80s when I was growing up, and I was given "One of The Nights" for Christmas 1975 (I like almost every track). However I didn't hear much before that album and I kind of lost touch with them after "Hotel California" (which I frankly heard far too damn much of on the radio at the time!).

Unfortunately one of the styles of music I really dislike is Country & Western (the other is Gangster Rap), and this album is mostly C&W. The first four tracks are new studio recordings, and the first of these, "Get Over It" is a storming slice of West Coast Rock. Sadly from then on down we're into slow slide-guitar and whiny vocals territory. I lasted until track 8 and then I switched off. I'm sure it's a great album if you really like the Eagles, but it's one I won't be keeping on the player.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Dave's 500 Bus Albums No 18 - Gert Emmens "When Darkness Falls Upon The Earth" (2005)

Gert Emmens is a Dutch composer. If it was 1971 his music would be considered part of the "Berlin School of Electronic Music". In the 21st Century they just call it "New Age".

I like Gert Emmens. I discovered him about five years ago whilst browsing the Electronic/New Age newsgroups, and I've got six or seven of his albums now. Gert's music is typified by soft pulsating electronic rhythms and soaring keyboards, and tracks which are between 10 and 20 minutes long. It's difficult to describe music like this to someone who's not familiar with it, but think Tangerine Dream, or Vangelis (the "Blade Runner" soundtrack), or even Jean Michel Jarre. It's not as "poppy" as Jarre, as there are huge swathes of "ambient" sections (bits of music with no beat) and you can't really dance to it. However if you're willing to just sit back and relax for 50 minutes, the album will take you on a beautiful and majestic journey (to be honest you might even fall asleep to it!). However once you discover what the album is actually about, the music takes on a whole new meaning...

The clue is in the track titles:

RendezVous With 2004 MN4, When Darkness Falls Upon The Earth, Casting Shadows On The Cold Ground, The Morning After

2004 MN4 is the designation of a Near Earth Asteroid that has been tracked since discovery in 2004, and which currently (they revise it all the time) has a 1 in 250,000 chance of impacting the Earth in 2036. Current estimations of impact energy are 510 megatons. 50-60 times greater than the Tunguska Event and 3 times greater than the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa. The largest Hydrogen bomb ever exploded, the Tsar Bomba, was around 50 Megatons.

Now go and listen to the album after finding that out. Not so nice now is it!

Monday, 12 December 2011

Dave's 500 Bus Albums No 17 - Scorpions "In Trance" (1976)

Ok so Pete Malcolm may have introduced me to the concept of Heavy Metal, but I was already listening to it. I just hadn't realised yet.

This was the first Scorpions album I ever heard. I first saw it in Grays Record Library and was attracted by the futuristic "Scorpions" font on the cover. And of course the attractive blonde squatting over the white Stratocaster guitar, with one breast hanging out. I was 14. What do you expect?

When I got it home it was quite unlike anything I'd heard before. I'd been listening to Queen since about 1973, so I was familiar with guitar solos (this was round about the time of "Bohemian Rhapsody", when Queen still played Rock Music), but this was louder and faster than what I was used to. It was also sung by a man with a strong German accent.

I did like it, although it wasn't as Science-Fictiony as I'd thought it would be (from the font). It did have a track on it called "Robot Man" though, so that was OK.

I suspect I recorded it on cassette and kept it for a few years until I eventually bought the LP.

It's a very different album from "Lonesome Crow", primarily because there's only two members of the band who made that album left. This is very definitely proto-Metal, although at the time I had never heard of the term. In hindsight it's very much an album of two halves - a heavier, more Teutonic style of song, and a more melodic, slightly "poppier" style. The production is excellent, and it's very loud. Roth's guitar work screeches and wails a good 4 years ahead of it's time (although I find his vocals a bit tiresome), and Schenker's underrated guitar keeps the rhythm nice and tight.

There are actually two songwriting teams at work here as well. Klaus Meine/Rudolf Schenker, and Ulrich (aka Uli Jon) Roth. Roth has been the lead guitarist for this and the previous LP "Fly to the Rainbow", and a very Hendrix-influenced one he is too. At this stage in the Scorpions game, Roth was the main songwriter, while Klaus Meine and rhythm guitarist Rudolf Schenker contributed fewer songs to each album.

Both Meine and Roth sung their own compositions but at the time I first heard this LP I probably didn't notice that there were two different vocalists here. But I did notice that I liked some songs better than others.

Is the album any good? Yes it still is. Although it's not quite the definitive lineup, that's only a couple of years away. Two LPs later Ulrich Roth would leave, Mathias Jabs would join and Meine/Schenker would become the sole Scorpions songwriters, forging the unique "Scorpions" sound that would see them through the next three decades.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Dave's 500 Bus Albums No 16 - The Playn Jayn "Five Good Evils" (1985)

Back in the late '80s when I lived in Loughborough, I was lent a single by a guy called "Troll". Troll was a leading light in the Loughborough music scene, regularly hosting Psychedlic discos and all-nighters.

The single was a white label promo and Troll told me it was by a band called "The Playn Jayn" and to see what I thought. I thought it was alright. The two tracks were "Mezcal" and "Chamber Door" and they were a weird mix of rockabilly rhythms, jangly psychedelic guitars and yelping vocals. At the time I probably would have labelled it as "psycho-Goth".

Fast forward 20 years and I've still got those two tracks, digitised to mp3 from my original cassette recording of Troll's single. One day I start looking around the internet to see exactly who The Playn Jayn are. It turns out "were" is a better verb. The Playn Jayn formed in 1983 and split probably about 3 years later, after releasing a studio album (Five Good Evils), a live album (Friday the 13th) recorded at the Marquee in London, and a single (Juliette).

The LPs are as rare as hen's teeth (although the live album is a bit easier to get hold of), and you're looking at vinyl here as they were never (and probably never will be) released on CD.

I now have both on vinyl and what a shame that this is all there is! I guess if you wanted to label The Playn Jayn then "80's Neo Psychedelia" would fit. Part of the early-mid 80s Psychedelic Revivial, the nearest bands I can compare them to are those from the US "Paisley Underground" scene of the same time - Dream Syndicate, Long Ryders, Rain Parade. You can hear the same early 60s US Garage influence in their music, but The Playn Jayn played it faster and more up-tempo, bringing them a good live following. Unfortunately this didn't translate to record sales, and the band called it a day a few years later.

Listening to them now, it's easy to see that the Playn Jayn would have gone down a storm during "Britpop" in the early 90s. Sadly they were 5 years too early.

If you want to hear what The Playn Jayn sounded like, do a search on youtube for either "Playn Jayn Juliette" or "Playn Jayn I Love You Like I Love Myself"

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Dave's 500 Bus Albums No 15 - Peter Frampton "Live in Detroit" (1999)

You know when you go back to where you were 20 or 30 years ago, whether it's meeting an old friend or visiting an old haunt, it's never the same. The place has changed and it isn't how you remember it, or your friend has grown older, more cynical and (let's be honest) fatter?

Well this album isn't like that. This album is how it ought to be.

THE album of 1976 (and arguably one of the best live albums of all time) was Peter Frampton's double LP "Frampton Comes Alive!". Basically to a certain generation, it's legendary. Part of our musical DNA. As Wayne says in "Wayne's World 2" - 'Everybody in the world has Frampton Comes Alive. If you lived in the suburbs you were issued it. It came in the mail with samples of "Tide".'

So when Frampton releases another live album 23 years later, it can't fail to be compared to the 1976 magnum opus. It won't be as good. It just won't sound the same. Some things shouldn't be touched.

But it is the same! Frampton's vocals sound no different, his guitar is just as good (possibly better), and both the band and the audience are enjoying themselves immensely. OK there's some differences, but that's not a bad thing at all. It's not a complete note for note replay of "Alive", but then God you wouldn't want that. Some tracks have been dropped, and others added. Again, that's no bad thing. I'm sure we've all got our least favourites songs from "Alive"...and I'd be willing to bet they're much the same (didn't we all use to skip Side 2?).

Quite frankly it's like going to see a band 20 years later and finding they haven't lost it, they sound just as good as ever, and they sound just like you remember them. Which is basically what's happened here. The band isn't quite the same, but they sound the same, and when Frampton introduces them you realise why. "Bob Mayo on the keyboards!" The defining core of the "Alive" album was Frampton on guitar and vocals & Mayo on guitar, keyboard and vocals. Both accomplished musicians, both still just as good 23 years on, and the reason why this album sounds so good.

And yes he still does the talky guitar bit on "Show Me The Way" and "Do You Feel Like We Do".

Awesome album.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Dave's 500 Bus Albums No 14 - Sophie Ellis-Bextor "Make a Scene" (2011)

I like Sophie Ellis-Bextor. Partly because she's got an unusual elf-like face, but mainly because she sings in an English accent, rare these days when everyone sounds American. I know this is apparently because the American accent is the easiest accent to sing in, but it's quite refreshing to hear someone pronounce "Dance" as "Darnce", and "past" as "parst".

Her first album saw her introduced as a bit of a pop diva, but over the years she seems to have firmly slotted into the "Dance/Trance" niche, which is no bad thing if you like that genre. This album is no exception. Sophie's precise, slightly nasal vocals ride above a wave of neatly programmed pulsating trance rhythms and to be honest it's almost a little too Ministry of Sound for me. It meanders a bit more than her earlier stuff, but then this is always the case (and the point) with Trance. It's designed as an aural environment for you to immerse yourself in, and in a club it probably works very well. Unfortunately on the bus it has a more soporific effect. Consequently I enjoyed what I heard...I just can't remember hearing most of it as I was asleep.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Dave's 500 Bus Albums No 13 - Scorpions "Lonesome Crow"(1972)

Back in the late 70s, the esteemed Peter Malcolm introduced me to the musical genre of Heavy Metal. Back then what we called Heavy Metal is now called Heavy Rock, and Metal now means something far more extreme. However back in the late 1960s "Heavy Metal" was a term used to describe the band "Iron Butterfly", who I would classify as "Psychedelic". Things change.

Anyway. Scorpions. Generally thought of as a Heavy Metal band from about 1975 onwards, this was their very first album, and it really isn't Heavy Metal. Also, although one track from it (the ballad "In Search of the Peace of Mind") was still being played in 1978 (you can find it on the live album "Tokyo Tapes"), Scorpions appeared to have quietly shelved this abortive start to their Metal career by the time they reached true "Metal" popularity. In fan circles the album was treated as a departure for Scorpions and a kind of awkward addition to the discography. In fact during the late 70s I seem to recall it was only available on import, and only die-hard Scorpions fans ever had a copy.

Although of course it isn't a departure from anything. Far from it. Not only for the obvious reason that it's their first album (and they therefore don't have a recognisable style to depart from), but also because it is plainly part of the respected German music scene of the time. From the late 60s on into the 70s (and before Western music broke through the Iron Curtain and contaminated it) there was a fantastically innovative home-grown German music scene. In part a reaction to "shlager" pop music and in part influenced by German avant-garde electronic musicians (and a healthy dose of psychedelia), a uniquely German rock sound appeared, under the general epithet of "Krautrock".

Krautrock is difficult to define, but easy to spot. Guitars are very prominent, rhythms show tribal influences, and the sound is hypnotic, repetetive, almost monotonous. But somehow it sounds recognisably "German". "Lonesome Crow" is Krautrock. Just listen to the 13-minute long title track. Haunting teutonic guitar, storming psychedelic riffs, wailing tribal vocals. If you like bands like Amon Duul, or Can, you'll like this. In fact it shares influences with the German band "Virus", whose 1973 album "Remember" started off this whole 500 Albums thing.

By the second album, "Fly to the Rainbow", the Scorpions sound (although still undeniably German) is veering towards tighter, melodic, self-contained songs. It's safe to say that if you liked your Metal Heavy in the 70s you would probably find "Lonesome Crow" an uncomfortable listen. But conversely if you weren't a Heavy Metal fan you might be pleasantly surprised. We can be certain though that if Scorpions had continued in this musical style, they probably wouldn't still be around today. Very much an album of it's time, but a fine example of the genre nonetheless.

Dave's 500 Bus Albums No 12 - Katy Perry "Teenage Dream" (2010)

I pick up on a lot of music by hearing a song out of context, generally googling a line of lyric and finding out who it's by. Last year I heard a piece of music I really liked while watching the TV series "Misfits". A lyric search brought up the song "Teenage Dream" by Katy Perry, someone I'd never heard of at the time.

My mate Pete is constantly amazed at the gaps in my current musical knowledge. But he's a Refrigeration Engineer who spends most of his time on the road, listening to Radio 1. I spend most of my time on buses (hence this blog entry), in work, or at home. I'm very rarely in the car, and when I am I don't listen to the radio. In fact I never listen to the radio, so I really don't pick up on recording artists until they have thoroughly saturated the mainstream. I think this is generally a good thing, because it means I have no preconceptions of what I "should" and "shouldn't" be listening to.

So I came at this album completely cold, so to speak, and I really like it. I love the "over-produced" feel of it, and the fact that it's unashamedly a "pop" album. I've got a great fondness for music from this kind of "dance" genre to be honest. I think it's the combination of relentless repetative rhythm and the sheer "wall of sound" feel that I like. I would go so far as to say that almost every song on here could be a single (and they're certainly all ripe for extended remixes). One track in particular - "Circle the Drain" - puts the lie to the idea that this album is full of vacuous and shallow songs. In fact now that I know who Katy Perry is, and who she's married to, the lyrics to "Circle the Drain" seem eerily autobiographical. I'm sure that's not the case though.

Anyway, it's a an album that's made to be played loud, either in the car or while cooking a meal, just so long as you can bang your head around and sing along. This is probably Amy's favourite album as well, so there you go, I share my taste in music with an 8-year old. This is also not an untypical choice of music for me, and would fit nicely on a shelf next to my Sophie Ellis Bextor, Charlotte Church and Lily Allen albums.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Dave's 500 Bus Albums No 11 - Creedance Clearwater Revival "Creedance Clearwater Revival" (1968)

In 1978 I bought a copy of the "New Musical Express Encyclopedia of Rock" book. For the next 10 years it became my bible of what rock music I liked, what I might like, and what I should avoid. I remember seeing the entry for Creedance Clearwater Revival, but never read it. For some inexplicable reason I got them mixed up with Fairport Convention and assumed they were a folk band. I didn't really like folk music so I gave them a wide birth.

Fast forward to 2010 and I'm round my parents' house in Kent. There's some very tasty R&B coming through the speakers. I ask them who it is, and of course it turns out to be Creedance. I've also now since found out that they recorded "Bad Moon Rising" (popularized by the film "An American Werewolf in London").

This, their first album, is so not what I expected. It comes from those couple of years surrounding the Woodstock Festival when American musicians suddenly discovered how much more interesting an instrument the guitar could be when you plug in a couple of effects pedals and muck about with the settings on your amp. Inidentally, Creedance played at Woodstock in '69 but unfortunately it was at 3am in the morning, so they didn't end up being recorded for either the album or the film.

The stereo separation is a bit distracting, especially with headphones on, and most noticeably on the track "Suzie Q" where the vocals come out of the right speaker and the guitar comes out of the left. But that's the only gripe I have with this album. Tight as a drum, but with that hypnotic quality typical of post-psychedelia, this is pure and simple good old American Rock n Roll.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Dave's 500 Bus Albums No 10 - Todd Rundgren's Utopia "Another Live/More Another Live" (1975)

I first saw the LP "Another Live" in the Grays Record Library about when it was first released. I was incredibly excited because I'd only just discovered Todd and his band Utopia. I'd been attracted by the psychedelic sci-fi design of the first Utopia album, and then captivated by the music. This then was the second Utopia LP I'd ever seen. I took it out, got it home and played it immediately, and it was fantastic. It was a live album (I love live albums) with a close-up grainy picture of Todd's sweaty head on the cover - presumably taken in the throes of some mean guitar solo!

Now years (decades!) later I have the CD, and it's still as good as I remember it. It has a very energetic quality, as if the band are really enjoying themselves, and the whole LP is incredibly upbeat. Also, for a live album it strikes a good balance between old and new material. There's 8 tracks on it, only 2 of which have ever been heard on a Todd album before. Of the rest, 4 are new compositions, and 2 are covers ("Do Ya" by The Move and a rocked-up version of "Something's Coming" from West Side Story). It's also the last time you get to hear the original "Utopia" band, as Todd split them up after this tour. "Utopia" reformed two years later, but as a slimmed-down 4-piece.

Which brings me to "More Another Live". Recorded on the same tour as "Another Live", this is actually a bootleg. It's kind of an alternative version of the official album, in that it shares some of the tracks, and the running order is roughly the same. However there are some differences that make it an essential buy for the discerning Todd fan. Recorded in London for Radio One's "In Concert", the quality is excellent. A lot more between-songs banter and the fact that it's one complete gig (whereas the official LP was culled from several performances) make it flow much better. It also contains live versions of songs from this era of Utopia that never appeared on official live albums (like "Freedom Fighters"), and preshadows the 1978 Todd live album "Back to the Bars", containing a lot of the songs that would become a staple of the man's live set for the next decade.

Oh and it's a nice surprise when you realise that the version of "Mister Triscuits" on "Another Live" actually starts halfway through the song, and the bootleg has the full version.

Two cracking 70s Prog/Rock n Roll albums!

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Dave's 500 Bus Albums No 9 - Joe Gibbs & the Professionals "African Dub All-Mighty Chapters 3 & 4." (1978/79)

Joe Gibbs was one of the most influential and prolific producers to come out of the Jamaica Reggae scene in the 70s and 80s. Together with sound engineer Errol Thompson, Gibbs produced over 100 Number 1 hit reggae singles. During the late 60s popular Jamaican hit singles began to be modified with echo, remixing and overdubs, resulting in the "Reggae Dub" genre that we are familiar with today.

During the 70s full-length Dub albums began to appear, initially in small specialist pressing, but eventually hitting the UK rock charts. The UK New Wave "Punk" scene in particular took notice of Dub during the late 70s, with bands such as the Clash collaborating with artists like Lee Scratch Perry.

Joe Gibbs and Errol Thompson's collaborations were initially released on four highly influential LPs - the "African Dub All-Mighty" series. Long deleted and sought-after on vinyl, these four albums can occasionally be found collected on CD (complete with original pops and clicks). I was lucky to pick all four up on a double-CD set a few years ago. Although now reaching mainstream popularity, Dub is still unusual enough as a genre not to sound dated. These albums are as weird and wonderful now as they ever were. Enjoy either on their own, or with a "smokey" accompaniment.