Inner Circle & the Fatman Riddim Section

Heavyweight Dub/Killer Dub

BY Lauren SpeersPublished May 1, 2000

Anyone that remembers Jacob Miller will remember Inner Circle, the dub band known for the music behind the original "Cherry Oh Baby" (1971) and "Everything is Great" (1977). Plus, the brothers Lewis (the foundation of the band) have scored their own hits as Inner Circle, notably "Bad Boys" (1989) and "Sweat"(1993). This album is a re-issue of two albums from the late '70s (dub music's heyday), mixed by Jamaican engineering geniuses Maximilian and Prince Jammy at King Tubby's. As is often the case in the Blood and Fire catalogue, this features some of the best quality recordings from a time where the music was paramount to success, not the hype around it. Many of these versatile dubs are pulled from some of Miller's rootsier records issued on Top-ranking. For example, the bass-y, harmonious song "Frelimo" is the version of one of Miller's successes, "Standing Firm" (a rhythm also used by Blood and Fire label-mate Trinity), in addition to dubs from tracks written by other artists - notably "All Babylonians," which is the version of Earl Zero's "City of the Weak Heart." This album comes complete with melodic political awareness; "Peacetime Now" is a resonating, fat dub of Miller's "PeaceTreaty Special," and songs like "Unemployment Rock" and "Careless Dub," from 80,000 Careless Ethiopians, remind the listener that this is the band that backed Michael Manley's electoral campaign. Though alliances with producers like Bunny Lee in the '70s and Tommy Cowan in the '80s bore musical fruit, the Lewis brothers and co. did not achieve the large-scale international/commercial success they had earned till they opened their own studio in Miami after Miller's death in 1980. The depth of sound, pounding rhythms and heart-fluttering bass on this re-issue gently reminds the listener of why a man as choosy and talented as Miller would only work with this particular Riddim Section, and is a fine example of the kind of music that inspires contemporary dub heroes like the Mad Professor and Jah Shaka to strive for a raw analogue sound in today's digital, effects and gadgets-ridden reggae community.
(Blood and Fire)

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