Doctor Echo / Steady Ups

Dub Disaster

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Doctor Echo, aka Justin DeHart, was a founding member of the Sacramento-based reggae and rocksteady band the Steady Ups. He left in 2000 to pursue other projects, but stayed in contact with his former colleagues, and held onto the master tapes of some of their recordings from the late '90s. A dubmeister of long experience, he created this album by taking 11 selected tracks from the Steady Ups archive and subjecting them to his own brand of crazy dubwise love. The results aren't quite as artful as King Tubby's best work (but then, whose are?), nor are they as willfully insane as the dubs that once emerged from Lee "Scratch" Perry's notorious Black Ark studio. But they're miles ahead of those produced by most other aspiring American reggae producers, and they achieve a nice balance between weirdness for weirdness' sake (e.g., Mad Professor) and boring, digitized smoothness (e.g., Jim Fox). Highlight tracks include the Bunny Lee-style, flying cymbal/melodica showcase "Step Live," the ska-flavored "Dub the Nation," and a lovely little rocksteady number titled "Your Heart in Dub." Recommended to all fans of classic dub.

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