Force of Music

Liberated Dub

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South London sound system owner Lloyd Coxsone ably assisted in raising the Royals’ profile in the U.K., eagerly spinning dub plates of the group's Ten Years After album. The attention helped Royals' frontman/producer Roy Cousins land a deal with United Artists, whose Ballistic imprint eventually picked up both that vocal set and Israel Be Wise, as well as Freedom Fighters Dub (a set Cousins dedicated to Coxsone in gratitude) and Liberated Dub. The latter set was Israel's counterpart, and what it lacked in imagination for track titles (did someone leave a map of Kingston and its environs on the mixing desk?), was more than made up for the music within. Israel was produced by Cousins himself, with the riddims laid down at Channel One studio by the Revolutionaries and the Roots Radics, and mixed down by Ernest Hoo Kim. Even the brightest and most upbeat riddims swiftly take on a more militant stripe in Hoo Kim's hands, as "Marvely" and "Bell Rock" notably illustrate, while particularly pretty ones are stripped of most of their melodies to let the martial beats burst through, as on "Waterhouse" and "Bell Rock." Riddims that were smothered in roots to begin with, as "Israel Be Wise" itself and "If You Want Good" were, are now doused in deep dub, transforming them into the incendiary "Moonlight City" and "Cockburn Pen" respectively. The vocal album was superb, invariably Hoo Kim's counterpart was even more sensational. Another stunning dub set from a master of rockers at his most militant.

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