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CB 200 + Bionic Dread

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Album Review

After decades out of print and commanding top-dollar prices by collectors and reggae fans worldwide, Dillinger's C.B. 200 (1977) and Bionic Dread (1977) have been compiled on CD with completely remastered contents by Grammy-winning engineer Gavin Lurssen and issued on a limited-edition two-fer disc from Hip-O Select, who are located on-line at In the grand tradition of King Stitt, Big Youth and his early mentor Dennis Alcapone, Dillinger [born Lester Bullock] quickly became one of Kingston's premier toaster/deejays of the Channel One school of proto-rap. After a few local hits and his debut LP Ready Natty Dread (1975), the artist began to develop a repertoire based on Lowell "Sly" Dunbar's so-called "flying cymbal" sound and the evolving 'rockers' style that was being played by Channel One house band the Revolutionaries. The combo's practise of overhauling previously established tracks and rhythms became an ideal springboard for the new breed of political and socially informed toasters. Dillinger's quick and clever repartee is laced with his unique observations and biting wit. Examples abound, especially on the Aristocracy's outmoded approach to marijuana on "Buckingham Palace" and "Natty Kick Like Lightning" is a definite confirmation of Jamaican's fascination with English football. Undoubtedly the best-known of Dillinger's work from C.B. 200 is "Cokane in My Brain." The message is definitely con-drugs and steeped in Western decadence, from the reconfiguration of the B.T. Express' "Do It ('Til Your Satisfied)" to the depiction of the Big Apple as "A knife, a fork, a bottle and a cork/That's the way we spell New York." Also of note is that Trinity joins forces on "Crankface," hearkening back to an era before the U.K. punk movement unwittingly pitted the two against each other. Bionic Dread by comparison seems like remnants from C.B. 200 rather than more of the same. There are a handful of equally powerful selections, such as "Ragnampiza" showing off Dunbar at his peak, and the homage to Ethiopian leader "Selassie I," one of two cuts based on titles from the Mighty Diamonds. In this instance, it is "Why Me Black Brother Why" and in the case of "Combination Two," the Marcus Garvey tribute "Poor Marcus."


Born: 25 June 1953 in Kingston, Jamaica

Genre: Reggae

Years Active: '70s

A DJ as famous as his gangster namesake, Dillinger was one of the second wave of Jamaican toasters who sprung up in the wake of the success of U-Roy, Big Youth, and Dennis Alcapone. By the mid-'70s, the young Dillinger had rapped his way to the top of the pack and won international acclaim. Renowned for his quick wit, irreverent raps, and whacked sense of humor, the DJ remains one of the most innovative and humorous toasters of any era. Born Lester Bullocks on June 25, 1953, in Kingston, Jamaica,...
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CB 200 + Bionic Dread, Dillinger
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