Tired of people saying, “Great band but there’s not a lot of dub is there?”, Nick Page, the droll multi instrumentalist behind the Euro- Ethio collision that is Dub Colossus, decided, “That’s it! I’m going into the studio to cut a classic dub LP and it’s gonna be on green vinyl!”
WOMAD 2011 provided the target release date for the Dub Colossus second studio LP ‘Addis through the Looking Glass’ and ‘Dub Me Tender Vol. 1’ as the 12 piece band were scheduled to play there. It seemed like a perfect plan but their record label, Real World – the folks at the heart of WOMAD – greeted the concept of a vinyl dub album, to compliment the release of the CD, with more than little head scratching. At that point, Page had no option but to organise the release of the vinyl album on his own label, Yeka Sub City Recordings with an associate, Ian Wallace.
Nick Page aka Dubulah is renowned for pursuing his passions and the first pressings of ‘Dub Me Tender Vol. 1’, on heavy duty green vinyl, did appear at WOMAD and at some shows since it has outsold their CDs by a mile. A second volume is in the making but before we can get our hands on that there will be a CD, released in the spring on Real World, entitled ‘Dub Me Tender Vol. 1 & 2’. A red vinyl (!) Volume 2 will drop shortly after featuring some bad bwoy exclusives.
Growing up in Finsbury Park, this radical Greek-Londoner, was schooled in the cosmic adventures of Sun Ra and dubwise sonics of Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry from an early age, and this album is a radical addition to an honourable UK tradition perpetuated by the likes of Dennis ‘Blackbeard’ Bovell, Mad Professor and Jah Shaka.
In fact, it is undoubtedly the first Dub LP which is based on actual songs played and co-written by Ethiopian musicians and featuring Ethiopian instruments. That said there’s are also a playful version of ‘Uptown Top Ranking’ aka ‘Negus Dub’ – which is a highlight of their live set – and an excellent cut of the Abyssinians’ classic ‘Satta Masagana’ aka ‘Yeka Dub’ which features Samuel Yerga’s terrific Ethio-infused keys.
For me, ‘Dub Me Tender’ is an album that organically resides alongside the works of saxophonist and Light Of Saba founder, Cedric ‘Im’ Brooks. Over 8 tracks, it bubbles along sweetly and I’d love to hear it played on a serious sound system like Jah Shaka, Channel One or Abba Shanti.
The rydimic foundation is totally grounded, there are are deft percussive touches and the harmonica solo on ‘Uptown Top Ranking’ reminded me of one Julio Finn. There’s some sweet flute on ‘Falling In Dub Again’ and overall, the horn section is terrific. Let’s face it, trombone and dub go together like rice and peas!
Even the label is incorrect… how authentic is that? So, if a slug of wayward instrumental dub is your tipple, seek out a copy of this LP – all individually numbered and pressed up on audiofile 180 gms heavy vinyl.
You can purchase ‘Dub Me Tender’ from http://womadshop.com/detail/622.
Also from HMV, Amazon etc.
Listen to excerpts of vinyl at http://www.dubcolossus.org