Thursday, October 20, 2005

Classic 12"s of the '80s - Dub Stylee

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Black Uhuru's 1984 album Anthem won the band the first ever reggae Grammy award. The trio of Puma Jones, Duckie Simpson and Michael Rose were again backed up by the premier reggae rhythm section of Sly and Robbie. The album was much more of a commercial entity than the few that had preceded it. It was the band's attempt to cross over into the world of mainsteam success, so they added electro and r'n'b elements to their already heady dub brew. Lyrically the trio were as sharp as ever, bringing to life the struggles of the poor, and the injustices handed out by "the man". It's nice to note that even though they were obviously trying to reach a larger audience they were unwilling to soften their hardline stance. One of the standout tracks for me was the single What Is Life? (12" Remix) . For the 12" remix they procured the services of dance legend François Kevorkian, who worked in tandem with the song's co-producer Paul "Groucho" Smykle. They stretch out the tune, adding a lovely spaced out keyboard groove in the middle, and slightly punching up the dancefloor appeal. The sax is great on this. A lovely tune.

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