Sly & Robbie

The Dub Revolutionaries

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Anyone expecting the outright weirdness of Mad Professor's Dub Me Crazy series is going to get a shock with this. The dream team meeting of the Professor with reggae's ace rhythm section Sly & Robbie and veteran sax man Dean Fraser is a lighter dub disc, with a strong rockers rhythm feel about it (mostly due to Sly Dunbar, who is the heir to Tony Allen in the multilayered rhythm game). With a few exceptions, such as the opener "Stepping Out a Space," which is a glorious piece of knob tweaking, there's a very subtle feeling to this. Fraser takes the lead, with bass'n'drums absolutely rock solid but still wonderfully elastic -- at times recalling their supple work with Black Uhuru -- and the Professor uses the sound of the instruments, rather than effects, to create supple tones and sonics. It's soulful dub, especially on "Memphis Happiness," inspired by an Al Green song. While at times the sax can seem a little light for the genre, it does take a few listens to absorb the pleasures this disc has to offer, such as Fraser's multi-tracking on "Peaceful Dub" to sound like a horn section. Much of the material is adapted from that Dub Me Crazy series, but this time out it's not as shadowed. The Professor wanted this disc to sound as if it had been recorded in 1978, and indeed it does, with some superb arrangements that open up the music. This is a triumph for everyone concerned.

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