Bob Marley / Bob Marley & the Wailers

In Dub, Vol. 1

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On first thought, a collection of dub mixes of classic tunes by Bob Marley & the Wailers seems like a reggae fan's dream come true. Originally released exclusively in digital form in 2010, In Dub, Vol. 1 collects mostly previously unreleased dub mixes from the vaults, with some newly crafted ones as well. The versions vary widely in style and virtually no production information, or mixing credits make it hard to place when they may have been put to tape. The digital delay flutter of "One Love/People Get Ready Dub" or "Three Little Birds Dub" suggests post-'80s studio trickery and "Waiting in Vain Dub" has more subdued grit in classic '70s dub style. There's nothing as raw and saturated as the pioneering '70s productions of King Tubby or Lee Perry, though dub champion Scientist contributes a new mix of "Lively Up Yourself" (known here as "Lively Up Your Dub"), heavy with stereo-panned delay, triggered drums, and fragmented horns. While it is novel to hear some of these songs in a classic dub style, the mixes are either way too busy ("Is This Love Dub") or uninspired ("Smile Jamaica Version"), and the collection loses steam quickly. As good as the concept sounds, In Dub, Vol. 1 fails to be captivating in the way other dub collections are, and takes away from the original songs more than it expands on them. Marley's ubiquitous rasta anthems were often such dense studio affairs, with all the elements so meticulously placed, that the systematic application and jumble of the dub treatment just doesn't really succeed.

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