Dennis Brown

Dennis Brown in Dub

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While the album is credited to the late singer Dennis Brown and the production is from Niney the Observer, as with all dubs, neither of those two figures is the star. That credit goes to the person who mixes the tracks, which in this case in the late and very great King Tubby, the man who invented dub and who brings his sonic and psychedelic sensibilities to bear on these cuts. Brown's big hit, "Westbound Train," appears in two versions, both as "One in the World Style" and the very freaky "Fire From the Observer Station," where little tendrils of guitar snake out suddenly, strike, then vanish back into the mix for a fantastic trip. Another big hit, "Cassandra," appears in this stripped-down style as "Fire From the Observer," while "Take a Trip," Brown's version of "On Broadway," becomes "Take a Dub" with its deep, deep bassline and thick, spacy echo on the piano, and the voice crying out occasionally from some alien wilderness. A lot of the material here originally comes from 1975's Dubbing With the Observer album, along with some alternative mixes that never made it onto that disc and have been unreleased through the years, like "Mischievious Dub." What this shows, more than any credit to Niney or Brown, is the depth of Tubby's artistry and the way he could take a song and transform it into something new and totally disorienting, while keeping the beat (in fact or implied) intact. Classic dub mixed by the master.

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