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Dread Western

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Album Review

Do not be alarmed by the album title, by the faux-Western cover design (yes, those are blunts tucked up next to the cowboy boot) or by song titles like "Tumbleweed" and "The Dub Posse Rides Again." Try to bear in mind that Lee "Scratch" Perry Himself once mined themes like these and somehow managed to produce immortal reggae as a result. It didn't sound quite like this, however. Roots Control (C Skiz and Likkle Jer) ride for the Brooklyn brand, so whereas the Upsetter put Western themes to the service of an elastic, loping rock steady groove, these guys are all about bass. "Great Train Robbery" is pretty much nothing but sloppy drums and a simplistic, but surprisingly effective, bassline; "Medicine Man Dub" is built on a slow rockers beat with a few shreds of keyboard and the occasional disembodied voice thrown in; "Tuff Gong" varies the percussion texture but maintains a slow, shuddering bass sound. Likkel Jer's voice is a bit whiny, but he doesn't use it much-mostly he's content to just lay down good, solid, meat-and-potatoes reggae and to dub it up tastefully. The result is some of the best reggae ever to come out of Brooklyn.

Dread Western, Roots Control
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