CB 200/Bionic Dread


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CB 200/Bionic Dread Review

by Lindsay Planer

On this limited-edition two-fer disc from Hip-O Select, two of Dillinger's albums from 1976, CB 200 and Bionic Dread, are compiled on CD with completely remastered contents by Grammy-winning engineer Gavin Lurssen. Dillinger's quick and clever repartee is laced with his unique observations and biting wit. Examples abound, especially on the Aristocracy's outmoded approach to marijuana on "Buckingham Palace," and "Natty Kick Like Lightning" is a definite confirmation of Jamaican's fascination with English football. Undoubtedly the best known of Dillinger's work from CB 200 is "Cokane in My Brain." The message is definitely anti-drugs and steeped in Western decadence, from the reconfiguration of People's Choice's "Do It Any Way You Wanna" to the depiction of the Big Apple as "A knife, a fork, a bottle and a cork/That's the way we spell New York." Also of note is that Trinity joins forces on "Crankface," harking back to an era before the U.K. punk movement unwittingly pitted the two against each other. By comparison, Bionic Dread seems like remnants from CB 200 rather than more of the same. There is a handful of equally powerful selections, such as "Ragnampiza" showing off Sly Dunbar at his peak, and the homage to Ethiopian leader "Selassie I," one of two cuts based on titles from the Mighty Diamonds. In the case of "Selassie I," it is the Mighty Diamonds' Marcus Garvey tribute "Poor Marcus," while "Combination Two" is based on the Diamonds' "Why Me Black Brother Why."

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