- 16 Sep 22
Rocker In Dub
As the press release told us back in April when Horace Andy’s Midnight Rocker was released, plans were already in motion to produce this dub version of what is quite possibly the reggae album of the year. The surprising thing - although it's not really surprising at all given the talent involved - is that Midnight Scorchers is just as good.
Producer Adrian Sherwood has dismantled and rebuilt the tapes – he's form for this kind of thing, see his collaboration with another man who knew how to work a desk, Mr Lee ‘Scratch' Perry, on 2019’s Heavy Rain, a rejig of The Upsetter’s Rainford LP – in the dub tradition that goes back at least as far as Keith Hudson and King Tubby in the 1970s, adding and subtracting to glorious effect.
‘Easy Money’ is overhauled into ‘Dirty Money Business’ with added toasting from Daddy Freddy, horns, desk effects, percussion, and some flamenco-ish guitar, while Andy’s wink-and-a-nod ‘Rock To Sleep’ extends out into ‘Sleepy’s Night Cap’ with the help of extra strings and some deft melodica which combine with a skanking guitar to form a drift-away thing of beauty. ‘More Bassy’ adds exactly that to ‘Mr Bassie’ with a bass line that sounds like it’s coming up from under the floorboards, and ‘Hell And Back’ makes a headphone tester out of the already great ‘This Must Be Hell’.
Furthermore, there's the harmonica on 'Dub Guidance', the upgrading of 'Watch Over Them' to 'Away With The Gun And Knife' which surely does "steer them right", the first album’s excellent version of Massive Attack’s ‘Safe From Harm’ transformation into the even better 'Midnight Scorcher', and an equally crucial run at Bobby Bland’s ‘Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City’. You really do need both records, but if I say they complement each other like Burning Spear’s Marcus Garvey and Garvey’s Ghost, or that this version enhances the original recordings in a manner akin to Gregory Isaacs Slum In Dub, reggae and dub heads will already know they’re onto a winner anyway.