Yabby You: Deeper Roots

This Pressure Sounds double-album from Yabby You brings together some little-known bass-heavy roots tunes/dubs together with selected alternative versions, rare dubplates, and tracks previously found only on vintage singles. It is a striking testament to roots and dub at their peak. The compilation revolves around Yabby You’s creative production collaboration with King Tubby, featuring some tracks only recently unearthed for first release here.  Personnel include Barrington Spence, through King Miguel and Smith and the Prophets, together with Aston Barrett and Robbie Shakespeare on bass and the great Tommy McCook on saxophone.

Things get under way with the R and B chants of ‘Valley of Joeasaphat’ from the Prophets, followed by its dub, then up looms the austere ‘Thanks and Praise’, an ‘exclusive dub plate mix’ from King Tubby. Side 1 is completed by ‘Don’t Touch I Dread’ from Barrington Spence, together with its dub: a seminal release of the period (those previously unacquainted with Yabby You will no doubt recognise it from the widely-disseminated I-Roy version). Side 2 consists solely of dub plates, with Tommy McCook’s opening ‘Fighting Dub’ featuring the kind of bass that was truly meant for vinyl within a mix that embodies classic roots/dub production of the era perhaps better than anything else here. The dub mixes continue, including an excellent ‘Deliver Dub’ credited to King Tubby and Yabby You, culminating in Don D Junior (Vin Gordon’s) striking and unique trombone excursion on ‘Milk River Rock’, one of the newly-discovered cuts on the album, and quite unlike anything else with its rhythm track mixed far away in the background. Side 3 opens with the little-recognised Prince Pampidoo’s ‘Dip Them Bedward’ in a deejay style, plus its dub, while ‘Dub Vengeance’ from King Tubby again offers a dubplate mix, this time percussion-led, and a great tuneful old school ‘Forward on the Track’ from King Miguel. The final side consists mainly of dubplates, with ‘Poor and Needy Dubwise’ a great stripped-down dub in the classic King Tubby style.

Actively recording from the 1970s to the early 90s, Yabby You (Vivian Jackson) died in 2010. This release is by far the best introduction to his deep roots style and it emphatically sums up his definitive late 70s take on spiritually-driven roots and dub.

Release December 2012; double-album vinyl on Pressure Sounds; also available on CD and DDL

By the Rivers: Take Control

This new single from six-piece Leicester band By the Rivers kicks off with ‘Take Control’ in its light reggae treatment – vocals up-front with the instrumentation supporting rather than dominating, while the lyrics of political alienation mirror those of another Midlands ghost town a generation ago. The ‘radio riddle remix’ of the same song follows, courtesy of the Fun Lovin’ Criminals extra-curricula production project, and this is indeed a bit of a revelation. With a different bass track and a heavier rhythm section altogether, the brass is mixed further back into an assertive dub-leaning production – this highly impressive contemporary roots handling of the song deserves to be widely heard beyond the band’s existing audience. The third and final track, ‘Don’t Stand Alone’, has an acoustic folksy reggae-light style. It would be interesting to hear it in a similarly reconstructed style…

The clip featured here is a stripped-down acoustic version of ‘Take Control’ from last year.

By the Rivers: Take Control: Kompyla Records, CD/DDL, release 21st January 2013