The Revolutionaries ‘Evolution of Dub. Volume 3. The descent of version’ 4CD (Greensleeves) 5/5

the-revolutionariesThe third instalment of the ongoing history of dub, this box set contains facsimile sleeves of four of the classic albums recorded by the Revolutionaries during the late 1970s at Channel One with mixing duties divided between King Tubby and the then Prince Jammy. As with the previous two volumes, each set has notes that continue on from the preceding one as well as specific notes on the albums within.
The art of dub and its evolution has undergone a major revision in recent years with books on the subject and numerous DVDs of varying quality. However, this set is by far the most comprehensive ever issued of the crack session group that are the Revolutionaries. Not only does it group together key albums from the classic roots era, but the whole package is beautifully illustrated and backed up by extensive and highly enlightening sleeve notes. Reggae music finally has the respect it so richly deserves.
A key figure in the albums herein is Linval Thompson who produces three of the four (Jah Lloyd being the producer on ‘Goldmine Dub’). These albums served as a transition from the roots era into early dancehall and were issued on the Thompson Sound label which Linval set up in 1976. All impress in equal measure such is the mastercraft of the musicians on offer including of course Sly and Robbie, but also Earl ‘Chinna’ Smith, Tommy McCook and percussionists ‘Scully’ Sims and ‘Sticky’ Thompson among a whole host of reggae greats. The overall sounds here is a highly melodic one wth uplifting bouncy riddims and the occasional special effect thrown in for good measure. Dub versions include songs by the major vocalists of the day such as Horace Andy, Dennis Brown, Gregory Isaacs and even the rock steady sounds of the Paragons reworked for the roots period. At various times some of the albums have been issued on vinyl in the UK, notably ‘Goldmine Dub’(via Greensleeves) and ‘Outlaw Dub’ (via Trojan). However, ‘Love Dub’ and ‘Green Bay Dub’ have at best only been out briefly on very limited vinyl editions and as a whole this constitutes a treasure trove of sublime dub recordings. This makes essential listening for long-time dub heads and general music fans alike, the latter finding an ideal companion with which to enter into the field of dub music.

Tim Stenhouse