Before the age of electronica, techno, or rap there was dub. This offshoot of reggae made famous by King Tubby and Lee "Scratch" Perry still lives today in this sampler put out by the once Bronx-based, now German reincarnated label Wackies. The label was arguably one of the first labels producing viable reggae music in the United States that sounded every bit Jamaican but gave it a new perspective. This urban environment allowed reggae to evolve into a sharper, edgier feel that its contemporaries in Jamaica and London could not reproduce. Instead of the trademark bass-laden remixes that still dictates the dub sound today, it incorporates the dancehall sound and the turbulent times that occupied Jamaica during the 70' s. The result? An emotionally-charged moveable sound.
Many of the songs are dub by definition, but this sampler goes beyond that and with most lyrical reggae, the music tries convey a message while making it accessible to everyone. Thus, the Love Joys' All I Can Say and Jah Light to Stranger Cole's The Time is Now to even Horace Andy's' Money Money to Leroy Sibbles' crooning in This World are ostensibly political in nature.
Nothing epitomizes Jamaican life in the Caribbean other than the Meditations track Take It Easy. It is reminiscent of the Hopeton Lewis track of the same title with its easy after beat and its smooth lyrics.
The track that really exemplified this genre of reggae, and quite possibly this record label, is Wicked A Go Feel It by Sugar Minott. His classic smooth delivery combined with the U Roy sample of Wake the Town provides a glimpse of what dub is and of the hip-hop sound to come. Something that could have been achieved by a Jamaican in the Bronx.
This compilation is a great mix of reggae - not just dub. The problem I have with dub is that the trend is to have the deepest, hardest hitting bass to the point monotony creates a deafening unpleasant listen. This label keeps the songs fresh by expanding and reaching back to its reggae roots. But with all these Wackies tracks, the care and quality in the music demonstrates why this label is so well respected to deserve a reissues.