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DUB STORE

American rhythm & blues fervour, boosted by a multitude of sound systems playing 78rpm records on increasingly larger sets, gripped Jamaica from the late forties onwards but, by the end of the decade, the American audience began to move towards a somewhat softer sound. The driving rhythm & blues beloved on the island became increasingly hard to find and the more progressive Jamaican sound system operators, realising that they now needed to make their own music, turned to Kingston's jazz and big band musicians to record one off custom cutã discs. These were not initially intended for commercial release but designed solely for sound system play on acetate. These 'specials' soon began to eclipse the popularity of American rhythm & blues and the demand for their locally produced music proved so great that the sound system operators began to release their music commercially.
Clementã Coxsone' Dodd, Duke Reid 'The Trojan' and Prince Buster, who operated his Voice Of The People Sound System, were among the first to establish themselves in this new role and the nascent Jamaican recording industry went into overdrive.

Federal Records was not only the place for the sound system men to record their music but it was also where they had their records manufactured and, consequently, the company enjoyed a near total monopoly on recording and record pressing in Kingston. In 1963 Federal founder Ken Khouri sold his one track board to Clement 'Coxsone' Dodd, who established Studio One, and Ken imported the first stereo equipment to Jamaica and Federal began making stereo records

This essential album showcase’s an amazing selection of both hits, and not so well known rarities, from the vast Federal catalogue. All tracks have been transferred direct from the master tapes and assembled with the invaluable assistance of Ken Khouri's son, Paul Khouri, who generously gave Dub Store unlimited access to the Federal tape vaults. The extensive liner notes feature extracts from extensive interviews with Paul Khouri whose knowledgeable recollections of working on Marcus Garvey Drive, not only as a producer but as an engineer and musician, are illuminating and educational, presenting an insight into the birth and growth of Federal Records and the Jamaican recording industry as a whole.


Following up the extensive and thoroughly impressive King Jammy's anthology from Dub Store, the Japanese reggae merchants turn their attention to another 80s dancehall institution Redman International Records. Redman International was a small but prolific label that ran from '85 - 91, with a flurry in '96 and with a number of reissues surfacing around 2010. One Hugh James took care of production duties while a plethora of great 80s vocalists laid down some killer performances- from Carl Meeks, LIttle John and Admiral Tibet to Dave Bailey, Puddy Roots and Redman himself. Recording in JA, using Roots Radics, Tuff Gong and some other local institutions, Redman, like Jammy, was quick to embrace digital technology and many productions were self produced using the new instruments and recording suites. As per previous releases, Dub Store carefully curated, remastered and re-present these lost dancehall treasures in a beautifully well put together package which covers the finest moments of this highly coveted little label.

Various Artists

King Jammys Dancehall, Vol. 4: Hard Dancehall Lover 1985-1989

Yet another King Jammy's anthology from his '87-89 period. Lovingly restored and presented by Dub Store Records, many of these tracks have only previously been available on JA manufactured 7" and finding playable copies near impossible! Luckily, much like the three volumes preceding this, they've faithfully reproduced these cuts on fresh wax from Jammy's original master tapes - there simply isn't a better version of these tracks available! Again it's those digital rhythms and electronic B-lines that typify these productions, usually with a killer vocal performance from one of the many stars Jammy worked with over the years: Gregory Isaacs, Sugar Minott, Admiral Tibet and Tonto Irie all making a sterling appearance here, amongst many more. There's even some special edition dub versions straight from Jammy's cutting rooms. What's not to love?! Anyone with a penchant for dancehall needs to get on board this pioneering producer, one of the best in the game and himself credited with blooming the genre in its early days. Top top top stuff indeed. You need.

Various Artists

King Jammys Dancehall, Vol. 2: Digital Roots & Hard Dancehall 1984-1991

Listen carefully, I will say this only once! King Jammy's criminally overlooked back catalogue has been painstakingly collated, remastered and reissued as two concise anthologies by the legendary Dub Store Japan. Besides most of these tracks being unavailable or stupendously expensive 7"'s for ages, there's some of the most slaying, cutting edge and frankly the greatest examples of dancehall and soundsystem reggae to have ever been recorded! We all know the iconic 'sleng teng' riddim with Wayne Smith, but these two releases show that Jammy had hit after hit after hit up his sleeve, with many of these tracks just as powerful as the genre-shaping "Sleng Teng". Using a single preset on the Casio MT-40 keyboard, retailing at £100 (ish). Hidden away as a 'rock' rhythm and created by Casio engineer Hiroko Hikuda, it went on to appear on 250 different records and define Jamaica's digi age. King Jammy is one of the celebrated heroes of the dancehall scene and these two compilations give us an in-depth insight into his wonderful talents.

The Zion Disc / Dub Store Records reissue attack continues with another two tracker from Sons Of Negus. Ras Michael (Michael George Henry) recorded under a number of names, and with an ever changing set of musicians. In the mid-60s he formed the Sons Of Negus, a Rastafarian group of drummers and singers as well as founding his own Zion Disc label which continued into the 70s. It's from this period that these tracks are from, although it's proved quite hard to pin point the exact date! "Run Agressors Run" keeps an upbeat, lighthearted tone through the dark socio-political lyrics contained within. "Ethiopian National Anthem" is equally optimistic, obviously paying tribute to the motherland as Ras Michael delivers a heartfelt and dynamic vocal part. Excellent!

Count Ossie & The Mystic Revelation Of Rastafari

Grounation

Japan's Dub Store deliver a treat for any true roots fans with this lavish reissue of the spiritual, soulful and sublime debut LP from Count Ossie & The Mystic Revelation. Originally released in 1973 and recorded deep in Kingston, this immersive LP sees the ensemble employ group vocal chants and nyabinghi drumming to create a trascendent and hypnotic journy into sound in the same vein as contemporaries Ras Michael & The Sons of Negus and Dadawah. At times deepest roots, at times mind expanding dub poetry, this LP takes you on a true voyage into the heart of the music - highly recommended stuff.


STAFF COMMENTS

Patrick says: Japan's Dub Store deliver a treat for any true roots fans with this lavish reissue of the spiritual, soulful and sublime debut LP from Count Ossie & The Mystic Revelation. Originally released in 1973 and recorded deep in Kingston, this immersive LP sees the ensemble employ group vocal chants and nyabinghi drumming to create a trascendent and hypnotic journy into sound in the same vein as contemporaries Ras Michael & The Sons of Negus and Dadawah. At times deepest roots, at times mind expanding dub poetry, this LP takes you on a true voyage into the heart of the music - highly recommended stuff.

Anthony Red Rose & King Kong

Two Big Bull In A One Pen

Originally out in 1986, this album has one foot in the pre and post-digital dancehall eras. Produced by King Tubby and featuring backing from the likes of Flabba Holt, Bingy Bunny, Steelie Johnson and Cleveland Brownie (soon to take the dancehall by storm themselves as producers Steely & Clevie) the album was released on Tubby's Firehouse label. Anthony Red Rose & King Kong (no doubt attired in their Firehouse and Waterhouse football kits) trade verses on some tracks or go it alone on others. 


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