Mon | Mar 27, 2023

Jammy delivers in dub

Published:Wednesday | March 28, 2018 | 12:00 AMMel Cooke/Gleaner Writer
King Jammy Waterhouse Dub CD.
King Jammy Waterhouse Dub CD.
King Jammy Waterhouse Dub CD.


One of the unfortunate things about being connected to a seminal moment in popular culture is that while a place in history is assured, there is a distinct tendency to restrict the person or entity's creative output to that one moment and, rightly or wrongly (I find the latter to be more the case), settle on it as the peak of their prowess. In this instance, it is producer Lloyd 'King Jammy' James, who was producing Waterhouse talent like the nucleus of Black Uhuru and now way after the Bounty Killer barrage of the 1990s. Still, say Jammy and the Sleng Teng riddim of 1985, along with it the digital shift in Jamaican popular music, come to mind.

Fortunately, the true creatives hardly ever call a halt on their output, and in 'Waterhouse Dub' the King puts his mixing-bard-as-an-instrument touch on 15 tracks that it is a shame to listen to on bass-repelling things like computer speakers and smart-phones. Even the trusty car speakers (my preferred outlet for private listening to rockers) are tested by the combination of grumbling basslines, extended delays, the occasional missile screech, music shifting panning and ever-present reverb (along with other effects) which Jammy serves up as he isolates, modulates and combines sounds.


'Fire house dub'


It is good, but it would be even better hearing it on Jammy's Superpower sound system, which gets regular mention throughout the sweet sonic serving, but even more so (naturally) on 'Super Power Dub', in which the introductory vocals announce the sound system's prowess. For good measure, there is no track with Waterhouse in the name, but those who know will be very satisfied that a 'Fire House Dub' exists.

One of the intriguing things about dub albums is the track names and, in this regard, on this album, Jammy is rather conservative. At the end, though, I was struck by the name 'Dub for Dave Hendley', and naturally went a-Googling to find out more. To my disappointment in myself, it is a name I should have known off the bat, as Hendley is an outstanding photographer whose work included Jamaican popular music performers and album covers, and he also wrote about the music he loved. It is a fitting tribute to the Englishman who died in 2016.

While the front and back covers of the packaging have images of Jammy in studio and with a speaker box from his sound system, respectively, I find the inner images of Waterhouse (including a 'yellow Hiace' flitting by) engaging. 'Waterhouse Dub' appears on VP Records.


Track listing


- Lethal Dub

- Revenge Attack

- Captivity Dub

- Kingdom of Jah Dub

- Dubbing on the Riverside

- Holy Mount Zion Dub

- Top Secret Dub

- Super Power Dub

- Red Square Dub

- Village Dub

- Fire House Dub

- Experience Dub

- Queen's Highway

- Jammys a Shine

- Dub For Dave Hendley