Dennis Bovell

Strictly Dub Wise

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Strictly Dub Wise is the long-playing debut album from producer Dennis "Blackbeard" Bovell. Released in 1978 and recorded at London's Gooseberry Studio, it features the legendary producer -- who worked with the Slits, Misty in Roots, the Pop Group, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Black Uhuru and many others -- playing his own music for a change. These dub cuts are humorous, deeply dreaded-out and full of spacious, analogue-production mysteries. Bovell plays guitar, bass (on most cuts), and all keyboards. He is accompanied by the amazing Jah Bunny on drums, percussionist Euton "Fergus" Jones, and bassist Bagga Walker. Just under 30 minutes in length, this is the most musical of Bovell's dub creations. The keyboard plays lead lines through most cuts -- chief among them being "Rebel Chase" and the ska-inflected "Surrey with the Fringe on Top," with the words "Ska Be Doo Za" added to the title. The heavier, dubbed-out tracks include the glorious riddim drenched "Ites of Dub," and the set closer "Ah Weh." "Tell Yuh So," and "Mint Ah Music," that weds the ton dropping riddims with spacey and sometimes cheesy keyboard lines that keep the cut anchored even as the dub effects stretch out the time to full-on drift. This is an auspicious debut that would only be topped by the classic I Wah Dub two years later.

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