Various The Ultimate Reggae Dub & Riddim Collection

This double CD, which features "40 Gold Dubs," doesn't quite live up to its name. The set does feature some classics from the likes of Sly & Robbie and King Tubby, but is by no means definitive. There are a lot of essential songs and artists missing. The most glaring omission is the complete lack of Lee "Scratch" Perry material. The highlight of the compilation is the first half of disc one, which is devoted entirely to Sly & Robbie. Of the ten songs by the "Taxi" duo, each one is impeccably mixed, performed and produced. Disc one is filled out by King Tubby dubs of songs performed by the Aggrovators. If they weren't such poor quality recordings, the tracks would come close to rivalling the Sly & Robbie tunes, but alas, the recording standards of the time weren't nearly as high as those used more recently by Sly & Robbie. The second CD is composed of dub versions and rhythm tracks from early, classic Wailers material like "African Herbsman" and "400 Years." But don't expect anything like Bill Laswell's recent explorations of Marley in dub. The Studio One recordings are of even poorer quality than the Aggrovators tracks on the first disc and the "rhythm tracks" were created simply by removing the vocals from demo versions of songs. The main problem with this is that you can still hear faint vocals in the background, which sort of ruins the appeal of a rhythm track. This collection is worth buying for the Sly & Robbie material, as well as a few of the King Tubby-produced tracks like "Rude Boy Dub" and "The Immortal." (Proper)