Put to tape in the mid-'70s, the instrumental renderings on Rebel Rock are largely re-imagined versions of tracks originally appearing with vocals and different arrangements of Errol Dunkley's Sit and Cry Over You. Both albums were recorded under the supervision of producer and arranger Count Shelley while conducting the Third World All Stars, an assemblage of Jamaican musicians visiting Shelly's London studio, as well as some of the top U.K. session players available. Unlike a run-of-the-mill dub album, the instrumentals here are augmented with additional horn and synthesizer overdubs, adding a relaxed, meandering lyricism to the already warm-hearted sounds. The additional brass touches also lend different perspectives to the songs, giving some more of a ska feel and others a jazzier bent. The sinister skank and devilish horn section melody of "Repatriation Remedy" have an almost Ethiopian funk-styled groove, while "Patricia's Love" has a far sunnier ska tinge to it. Futuristic synthesizer parts add richness to "For All Ways," which flirts with more disco-inclined production. Album-closer "Moog in Blues" also gets further out with an almost Hawaiian-sounding lead guitar, slathered in delay and reverb. The set manages to be eclectic and adventurous without being too bombastic or losing any of its subtleties, and captures a bright moment in the meeting of the minds between Jamaican and British reggae heads of the '70s.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Fred Thomas