Dennis Bovell (sometimes known simply as Blackbeard) was one of the key figures on the London reggae scene of the late '70s and early '80s, not only as a solo artist but also as a producer. The band Bovell co-founded in the mid-'70s, Matumbi, was one of England's first self-contained reggae bands, and also one of the best; in addition, Bovell released several albums of solo dub experiments, which often featured jazz-pop keyboardist Nick Straker and producer Tony Mansfield (Captain Sensible, New Musik), both old school chums. As Blackbeard, Bovell released Strictly Dub Wize in 1978; he quickly became involved in production work for experimental post-punkers like the Slits and the Pop Group. I Wah Dub appeared in 1980, carrying on Bovell's eclectic sensibilities; Bovell reverted to his real name for 1981's Brain Damage, which began to move away from dub towards rock, R&B, boogie-woogie, etc. Bovell spent the early '80s working with artists like Linton Kwesi Johnson and Alpha Blondy; he returned with a mostly straight reggae album in 1986, Audio Active, recorded with a group tagged the Dub Band.
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