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Roots Radics
Hot We Hot Dub

cd cover ROIR (Reach Out International Records) has been digging in their archives, pulling selections to re-release on CD after years of releasing on cassette only. For this classic dub album, ROIR went back to 1989 and added two bonus tracks - including the opener "How Could I Dub?" and "Let's Dub It". The Radics have backed many of the best-known reggae stars, such as Gregory Isaacs, the Wailing Souls, Don Carlos, and Culture, in addition to releasing their own albums.

The most interesting cuts on this re-release actually never made it onto the original cassette. The opener, "How Could I Dub?," plays around a flamenco-sounding guitar riff, though the real driving force is the throbbing, repeated bass line and thunderous bass drum. Lyrically sparse, the echoed repetition of the guitar riff and sheets of spooky synthesizer chords propel the melody, with enough breaks and alterations to make it all interesting. The other song neglected on the original release, "Let's Dub It," takes a typically 80s sounding synthesized xylophone line - ala ELO - and drops it onto a bottom-heavy reggae structure, with a few added synthesizer flourishes that make for an overall interesting composition.

Most of the other tunes suffer from too much synthesized sound and could especially use real drums instead of the machined beats. "Book of Life Dub," while a lesser song in many ways than the rest of the cuts on the album, is altogether fuller and more enjoyable for the addition of real instruments. It's what makes "How Could I Dub?" such a joy to listen to. That said, other nice tunes are "Come Out of We Land Dub," "Me for You Dub," and "Joy to the World Dub" which is a 'version' of - you guessed it - "Joy to the World." - Craig Tower

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