Various Artists

Dub Massive, Vol. 1

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Fuel 2000's Dub Massive, Vol. 1 brings forth 20 tracks credited to the finest names in dub reggae. With labels like Blood & Fire and Pressure Sounds covering great ground in the roots reissue department during the '90s, the standards for such product had reached unprecedented heights. While Fuel 2000 does deliver fresh sounds, it occasionally steps on the toes of its contemporaries, namely Blood & Fire. Dub Massive includes a handful of the sort of Bunny Lee-produced, King Tubby-mixed dubs that cropped up on the Manchester label's excellent Dub Gone Crazy sets. Dub fans familiar with those collections will recognize the heavyweight Aggrovators rhythms on "Zion Gate Dub" (Horace Andy's "Zion Gate") and "Marcus Dub" (Johnny Clarke's "Them Never Love Poor Marcus"). Similarly, both Sly & Robbie's "Burial Dub" and Mad Professor's "Everybody Dub Special" sound suspiciously like the work of Lee and Tubby. Yet while the album credits may confuse newcomers and experts alike, the music will likely draw little criticism. The above-mentioned tracks proved that there were still some fine alternate mixes remaining in Bunny Lee's vaults and contributions from Lee "Scratch" Perry, Augustus Pablo, and others maintain similar standards. "King Tubby a Ruler Fi Dub" borrows the exquisite horn line from "Queen of the Minstrels," warping it in supreme dub fashion while Pablo's melodica slips off the rhythm and into dub inner space. The result is a fascinating, disjointed mix of clashing sonics. Perry's "Mouth Murder Dub" is a smoky mix of the classic rhythm behind the Gatherers' "Words of My Mouth" and "Steel Plated Bullet Proof Vest Dub" is a slice of Upsetter lunacy complete with bizarre vocal effects from Scratch himself. Massive dubs indeed.

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