Personnel: Earl "Chinna" Smith , Tony Chin (guitar); Bernard Harvey, Ossie Hibbert, Ansel Collins (keyboards); Carlton Davis (drums).
Recording information: King Tubbys Remix Studio; Randys, Chalk Farm.
The British Motion label is gradually assuming a place second only to the mighty Blood & Fire in the roots reggae and dub reissue marketplace. The latest in its ongoing series of crucial reggae reissues is a collection of classic Niney the Observer rhythms originally produced by Errol Thompson and Phillip Smart (except for two Cimarrons tracks, both produced by Syd Bucknor), all of them dubbed up in classic style by King Tubby. Except for the Cimarrons selections, all of the instrumental tracks are played by the redoubtable Soul Syndicate band, which at the time was anchored by bassist George "Fully" Fullwood and drummer Carlton "Santa" Davis. Davis had mastered the "flying cymbal" drum style that had recently become popular and that can be heard on so many singles of the time, as well as many of the tracks on this album. Sledgehammer Dub includes purely instrumental dub versions of classic songs by the Heptones ("Why Must I") and Dennis Brown ("Voice of My Father"), among others; the CD version's four bonus tracks include a haunting dub cut of Big Youth's "4 Dead 19 Gone a Jail." No dub fanatic should pass this one up. ~ Rick Anderson