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Dread a Dub
Johnny Clarke is one of the great vocalists that ruled the Jamaican dancehall scene from the mid-1970s to the early 1980s. While Bob Marley was out conquering the world, Dennis Brown, Gregory Issacs and Johnny Clarke were winning the hearts of the Jamaican people. Johnny Clarke's use of the "Flying Cymbal" sound took the island by storm and produced a run of hit singles few could match. Johnny Clarke (b. 1955, Jamaica, West Indies) cut his first record, God Made the Sea and Sun, after winning a local singing contest in the Bull Bay area of Jamaica. Although the single was not a hit, it led to two follow-up tracks for producer Rupie Edwards, "Everyday Wandering" and "Julie" that fared much better, both on the island and overseas in England and Canada. These tracks also brought the singer to the attention of producer Bunny Lee and a working relationship that would go on to produce a prolific catalog of music. Johnny Clarke's dread conscious/love song-style was to grace many hits around this time in 1974. Such tunes as "None Shall Escape the Judgement," "Move Out of Babylon," "Rock With Me Baby," "Enter the Gates With Praise" to name but a few. All new songs added to a host of cover tunes, recommended by Bunny Lee, many taken from the singer John Holt's catalog, that suited Clarke's vocal style. The rhythms were cut at various studios around the Island. Randy's Studio 17, Channel 1, Treasure Isle, Dynamic Sounds and Harry J's, by a group of musicians loosely called the Aggrovators, and some tunes incorporating the "Flying Cymbal" sound again introduced by Bunny Lee, working the hi-hat in fine style. The tracks were then taken to King Tubby's studio where Johnny Clarke's vocals would be voiced. Another phenomenon that was happening in the early 1970s, was the version cuts to vocal tracks. This is when the tunes were cut back to the bass and drums and vocals were dropped in and out in a dubbed style, and reverb and echo and various effects were added to these tracks. The main exponent to this style was King Tubby himself, and as was the fashion at the time, each vocal track would carry a version as its B-side. Producer Bunny Lee led this style working closely with King Tubby and all of his singles from then on would carry a dub cut on its flipside. As Johnny Clarke was one of Bunny's main singers at the time, we would hear a great selection of popular songs getting the dub treatment and in many cases, the single was purchased for its more exciting dub cut. Compiled here are some of the best of these dubs from that time.