Mikey Dread (born: Michael Campbell) came to the attention of Jamaican music fans with his roots reggae radio program from the late '70s. Moving beyond his popular island broadcast, Campbell also produced his own rockers-style releases like 1979's Dread at the Controls (also the name of his radio show). And while this album and a handful more did provide some exposure beyond his radio audience, it was the release of Campbell's excellent dub titles like African Anthem that would garner a heap of attention, particularly resonating with English punks and groups like the Clash (Campbell would make a sizable contribution to the band's 1980 album Sandinista). The appeal is not hard to understand since African Anthem features a sophisticated and entertaining program of rock-solid tracks and stunning dub effects (bird and goat noises, police sirens, cuckoo clocks, and all manner of studio-generated sounds); it's the kind of dizzying mix also heard on Joe Gibbs & Errol Thompson's similarly disposed African Dub All-Mighty titles and on the best work by the Scientist. In fact, Campbell enlists the Scientist for this recording, along with dub giants like King Tubby and Prince Jammy. The disc additionally benefits from plenty of Campbell's own engaging radio banter and the stellar contributions of reggae studio luminaries like drummer Sly Dunbar, bassist Robbie Shakespeare, guitarist Earl "Chinna" Smith, and keyboard player Augustus Pablo, among others. A great dub album, ranking up there with milestones such as Lee Perry's Blackboard Jungle Dub and King Tubby & Prince Jammy's Dub Gone 2 Crazy.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Stephen Cook