Crazy Caribs

Dancehall Dub

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The Mad Professor's greatest strength is almost identical with his greatest weakness: he can always be counted on for a fun reggae groove, whether he's producing the latest silky-voiced London lovers rock sweetie or mixing up a fresh batch of dubbed-up modern roots reggae. The downside is that he does it so prolifically, and with such consistency, that his stuff starts sounding a bit familiar after the fourth or fifth (or 31st or 51st) album. Heaven only knows how many albums the man has made over the course of his nearly-25-year-career, but all of them have been good. Very few have been outstanding. On Dancehall Dub he works his mixing magic on a 14-track program of spare modern reggae rhythms provided by the Crazy Caribs, a reggae supergroup whose primary members are the legendary bass-and-drums teams of Sly & Robbie and Mafia & Fluxy, augmented by a few more obscure artists (bassist Dark Phantom, drummers Joe Ariwa and Stylze, steel pan player Pan Africanist) . As usual, every groove bumps and rolls nicely -- note in particular the pleasant Trinidadian flavor of "Girl From Lahore" and the gently swinging "Kunte in the Dancehall." But the basic rhythms provided by Crazy Caribs are minimalist and, for the most part, pretty generic, and don't give the Mad Professor an awful lot to work with. This album works fine as pleasant background music, but it's not going to nice up the dancehall in any really compelling way.

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