Album Reviews

Chris Coco – The Dub Club

(Trojan) UK release date: 25 July 2005

Chris Coco - The Dub Club Breaking out of the horizontal early hours Radio 1 Blue Room, Chris Coco wipes the sleep from his eyes to gather dub plates from a fans perspective (inspired by the Dub Club section of the show) with a mellow sunshiney vibe to brighten the greyest British summer.

Dub was always the more interesting cousin to the traditional song-based reggae. Taking the original rhythm track and stripping off the vocal and melody to stretch the drum and bass across cavernous echoing spaces, twisted by gut-thumping reverb and delay to create new, more sinister tracks with snatches of lyrics dropped in for familiarity with fleeting human voices beamed in from outer space. Tracks expand off into the distance as time becomes a mere memory. This is musical freedom, and has set the way for many a musical pioneer to tread new territory. Hell, even Primal Scream released a dub version of their Vanishing Point album (admittedly it was pretty rank).

Here though, there is no problem with quality control, only trying to limit it to one cd. Kicking things off with the sweet tones of Horace Andy over the rolling beats of King Tubby. Rolling is definitely in mind of the Linval Thompson track extolling his deep love of marijuana, he ‘loves it in his heart and soul’ and wrote this nice springy song about it. Bless.

Augustus Pablo‘s King Tubby Meets Rockers Uptown has one of the seminal reggae basslines that was used on reggae classic Baby I Love You So, but here becomes a spacious, echo drum-driven beauty to the power of dub. Harmonicas get sliced and diced over the spinal bass shivers.

In some cases both the dub and the song version are smacked back to back, in the case of Money In My Pocket just because they work so well together and provide a fuller picture of what was there and what was taken away. For sunny vibes you need look no further than the killer coupling of Shuntin’ and Sexy Natty to bring the Notting Hill Carnival into your living room with as Soul II Soul once said, ‘a thumping bass for a happy face’ or something.

This selection is a fine record for an introduction into the initially scary world of dub; where to start? Who to buy? Chris Coco is no slouch, not just stopping at picking the records he likes. Included here are his own remix of Dawn Penn‘s Love The One You’re With, as well as his re-edits of Tommy McCook, Dillinger & The Upsetters’s Dub Organiser and Dillinger, King Tubby & The Aggrovators Jah Jah Dub with Vin Gordon’s Magnum Force. Also featured on the album are some heavyweight tracks from King Tubby, Dillinger, Sly & Robbie, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry that should act as good pointers for the curious and stand as a solid album worthy of any dub enthusiast old or new.

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More on Chris Coco
Chris Coco – The Dub Club
Various – The Blue Room: Mixed by Chris Coco and Rob Da Bank