Donnerstag, 15. Juni 2017

VA - Word Sound 'ave Power - Dub Poets and Dub

Dub poetry, a unique reggae subgenre characterized by political poetry delivered over an instrumental backdrop, has never really gained full acceptance in the reggae community. Although its urgent political messages and straightforward roots rhythms make it seem like a natural fit for fans of conscious reggae, dub poetry has too often come across as a dysfunctional marriage of convenience between words and music.

This CD brings together two LPs previously released in the early '80s: "Word Sound 'Ave Power" was an anthology of singles by such notable dub poets as Mutabaruka and Breeze (aka Sister Breeze), as well as more obscure artists like Glenville Bryan and Navvie Nabbie, while "Dub Poets Dub" was a companion dub version of that album.

The combined collection could be used as an argument for either side of the dub poetry debate. On the one hand, you have incisive commentary from Breeze, whose views on foreign aid can be summed up in one couplet: "They come, they work, they smile so pleased/ They leave and you discover a new disease." And Mutabaruka is his usual sharp-eyed self on "Set de Prisoners Free" and "Out of Many One." But then you have lines like "I'm a victim, a victim/ A victim of de stinkin' system" from Malachi Smith, and the painfully pedestrian anti-drug pronouncements of Tomlin Ellis. These are not "poems" that deserve to be recited. They could possibly be redeemed by strong melodies, but without such support they sound like eighth-grade social studies essays. The dub versions all vary from good to excellent. This one is recommended, but so is the judicious use of the skip button.  

VA - Word Sound 'ave Power - Dub Poets and Dub  
(192 kbps, cover art included)

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