Various Artists - "Run It Red Mick Hucknall Selects from 10 Years of Blood and Fire Classics"

Dennis Brown Presents Prince Jammy - "Umoja / 20th Century DEBwise"

Blood and Fire

When Blood and Fire co-owner and CEO Mick Hucknall (yes, the same Mick from Simply Red) was asked to select his favourite Blood and Fire tracks to honour their 10th birthday, what appeared was a varied mix called appropriately enough "Run It Red". Here, Mick compiles the cream of the crop from Blood and Fire's now quite sizeable catalogue. Mick once commented in an interview that "there should be a statue of King Tubby in Kingston, Jamaica right alongside that of Bob Marley, in recognition of a musical contribution equal to, if not greater than that of Marley himself." Fittingly enough, 5 out of the 20 tracks on this compilation are from King Tubby himself. So, we get the righteous "Dub of Rights", a self-explanatory "A Heavy Dub" and a more melodically oriented "Guidance Dub". Other highlights here include stand-out tracks from Prince Alla "Stone", Junior Byles "Pitchy Patchy" and a few heavy dubs from King Tubby's protégé and engineer Prince Jammy takes ("Chapter of Money", "Dub Ites Green & Gold", "Higher Ranking" and "A Stalawatt Version", along with fine duos with Horace Andy "Music Dub" and "Mr. Bassie Dub"). It's amazing to listen to this compilation all the way through to see just how seamlessly the tracks are arranged. By all means, don't consider this a definitive best-of-dub compilation. This is simply an outstanding personal retrospective meant as a 10th birthday gift to the label that any serious dub lover has come to love.

The next release from Dennis Brown and Prince Jammy collects two very essential dub masterpieces "Umoja / 20th Century DEBwise" on CD for the very first time. This is an album to buy, no doubt, if only to delight in this music. Unless you're one of the lucky few who bought the original vinyl pressings of these two records in 1978, you'd never actually heard this music. On the technical side, there are no objections. The masters must've been cleaned thoroughly to get an awesome bass-deep sound that resounds through its' 70 minute length. Definitely, this music should be played on a hot summer day in your back yard or on the beach and just leave on auto-repeat. How can you get bored with healthy doses of burning bass, and that wicked reverb. Prince Jammy's work as a mixing engineer and Dennis Brown's magic as a producer and are hot as hell. There's no use to deny it, no doubt, this is one of the great re-issues of the year. Grab it now before it disappears again.

Tom Sekowski

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