Agony Shorthand

Thursday, August 31, 2006

One of the many Rapidshare sites devoted to sharing vinyl-only obscurities posted this one up early in the summer, and it’s my pick for dub discovery of the year. THE REVOLUTIONARIES, in case ya didn’t know, were the premier backing back at the Channel One studio during the 1970s, the heyday of reggae and dub. Some fellas from this band even you punk rockers may be familiar with are Sly Dunbar (drums), Robbie Shakespeare (bass & rhythm guitar), Tommy McCook (tenor sax), Ansel Collins (keyboards) and a passel of other righteous herb smokers. The 1978 LP “Reaction in Dub” is what my pal Mark might subtly call “tear your face off dub”, in that it is really, really low and deep. Time slows to a total crawl in its presence, as echoes shoot off every surface and elliptical horn travels jarringly through the ear canal. Vocals, when they are present, cut off mid sentence and everything drops out for minutes at a time, with only the bass present. Who were the mixmasters present at the creation, you ask? Why, none other than Channel One head honchos the Hoo Kim brothers and no one but. No Tubby, no Scratch Perry, no Scientist – none of the guys everyone gets all hopped up about, and yet this single 8-song effort is as fine a head-shifter as any of theirs. One REVOLUTIONARIES record/CD I’ve never checked out but heard fine things about is “Earthquake Dub”, also from ’78. Anyone know the good word on that one?