John Brown’s Body ‘Kings and Queens in Dub’ CD/Dig (Easy Star) 4/5

john-browns-bodyUS reggae sometimes becomes relegated to Jamaican expatriates who have resettled and embarked upon new chapters in their career. However, groups such as 10ft Ganja Plant and others have demonstrated that home grown talent can compete and one of the most consistent bands of all is John Brown’s Body. The corresponding vocal album of ‘Kings and Queens’, released two years ago, actually entered the US Billboard charts and indeed fared well. An accompanying dub album now follows with a variety of mixers on hand and among these the UK’s very own dub wizard, Dennis Bovell, contributes one offering with a decidedly space out atmosphere permeating ‘Gallows Pole Dub’ with the bass right upfront and the repeated riff difficult to ignore. Elsewhere ‘Seneca Dub’ hints at the Specials in the horn-lead intro at least and there is excellent use of echo here. One of this writer’s favourite dubs is the wordless harmony intro plus melodic horns to ‘Sound and Fury Dub’ whereas on ‘Give up in the Ghost Dub’ the inventive and plentiful use of special effects is prominent and recalls Scientist at his creative best. Dubfader from 10ft Ganja Plant contributes on two numbers including the aforementioned ‘Seneca Dub’. Sadly for fans of vinyl no LP copies of the album have been released this time.

Tim Stenhouse