October 4, 2011, at 10:34 pm

A Ghost Of A Dub

Garvey's GhostThe third Burning Spear LP (after two for Studio One) titled Marcus Garvey was recorded for Jack Ruby and released in 1975. It was picked up by Island records in the UK and sold pretty well. Following this success the tapes were taken to the Island Studio’s in Hammersmith, London by John Burns and Dick Cuthell, and the “dub” LP Garvey’s Ghost was built and released in 1976.

The Ghost (Marcus Garvey)

Some 35 years later this LP has just been re-issued in a vinyl only edition complete with original sleeve and some excellent sleeve notes written by Harry Hawke on the Sunspot label.

I And I Survive (Slavery Days)

This is a dub LP like no other and as a result it frequently gets a bad press. There is little or no echo meaning that the mixes are very dry and frequently sound more like instrumentals than dubs. There are drum and bass sections but as often as not all the instruments are dropping in and out of the mix. In many ways this LP might have been a real disappointment but it’s saving grace are the rhythms, classic dubs they aren’t but it’s still perfectly possible to enjoy proto-dub/instrumental mixes of classic tunes such as Marcus Garvey, Slavery Days and Resting Place.

1 comment to A Ghost Of A Dub

  • Dave Home

    Tim, that’s a very accurate description of ‘Garvey’s Ghost’. When this album was first released (’76 I think) it was much maligned, probably for two reasons. Firstly, it was mixed in the UK and secondly, it was mixed by white engineers at Island. If I’m honest I avoided it for many years for those reasons. I did pick up the Jamaican pressing sometime later but after one or two plays, it just sat unplayed and forgotten. It was only much later when I bought ‘Marcus Garvey’ on CD, that also included ‘Garveys Ghost’, that I listened to it again.
    Finally, some 30 years later I really enjoyed listening to it. It’s true that the mixing is quite laid back but in a way that’s the album’s strength. The engineers really allow the quality of the rhythms to shine through and there are no intrusive distractions. You can just concentrate and enjoy the rhythms showcased by the sensitive mixing.
    As an aside, Lloyd Coxsone was involved as an ‘adviser’ on the mixing sessions so I imagine his input would have been positive.
    My advice would be that if, like me, you’ve avoided this album, pleaee give it another chance. It’ll get you in the end..it’s only a matter of time. Eventually the penny will drop!

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