Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Jacob Miller - Who Say Jah No Dread (1975)

Hungry town skank....

   

Made up of recordings from 1974-1975

This is a wonderful compilation of dubby, roots reggae from the years 1974-1975 from the young Jacob Miller and dub instrumentalist Augustus Pablo. Miller's later, poppier roots material and subsequent "crossover" covers of big hits from other genres often tends to find some people overlooking the fact that here, at the beginning of his career, he put out some seriously heavy, deep  roots/dub stuff. The original Who Say Jah No Dread was a twelve track album, but this collection is expanded to twenty-two tracks and includes dub versions of all the tracks. They all cook, big time, full of rumbling, deep bass, sonorous echoey horns and Pablo's trademark melodica sound.

While I like the roots pop of Miller & Inner Circle's Reggae Greats collection, released on the Island label, I cannot deny that his best work, his most "crucial", is to be found here. It is roots reggae of the highest quality and there is an argument for it certainly going into a top twenty reggae albums of all time list. Checkout False Rasta, Keep On Knocking and, of course, the catchy Baby I Love You So and its iconic dub version King Tubby Meets Rockers Uptown. Many claim the latter to be the best dub cut ever produced. Listening to those big bass lines and mysterious Pablo sounds you can see why. For me, 132 Version is even better. Hungry Town Skank is just so evocative and atmospheric too. Oh, that crystal clear rhythm. You can't beat the roots skank of Who Say Jah No Dread either.

Miller always had a mellifluous, lilting voice and it is on some of the cuts on here that he first starts to use the hiccuping vibrato that he would use for the rest of his career. A most essential album if you want to build a credible roots reggae collection. It has excellent, booming, deep sound quality too. Get those speakers shaking.

TRACK LISTING

1. Keep On Knocking - Jacob Miller
2. Knocking Version - Rockers All Stars
3. Black Gunn - Augustus Pablo
4. Brown Jim - Augustus Pablo
5. False Rasta - Jacob Miller
6. Commercial Rasta - Jah Butty
7. Hungry Town Skank - Rockers All Stars
8. 555 Crown Street - Augustus Pablo
9. 1 Rutland Close - Pablo All Stars
10. Baby I Love You So - Jacob Miller
11. King Tubby Meets Rockers Uptown - Augustus Pablo
12. 132 Version - Pablo All Stars
13. Who Say Jah No Dread - Jacob Miller
14. Jah Dread - Rockers All Stars
15. Stop Them Jah - Pablo All Stars
16. Each One Teach One - Jacob Miller
17. Each One Teach One Version - Pablo All Stars
18. Girl Name Pat
19. Girl Name Pat Version - Augustus Pablo
20. Some of Them Say Them A Rasta - Jacob Miller
21. Some Dub Plate - Augustus Pablo
22. Lightning Flash - Augustus Pablo                                   

B+

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