Over the past decade, Pressure Sounds Records and Jamaican producer Bunny “Striker” Lee have collaborated on a series of critically acclaimed reissues and compilations that highlight Mr. Lee’s contribution to Jamaican music from 60’s rocksteady (The Uniques – Absolutely Rocksteady) to 70s reggae, roots (Bunny Lee & Friend’s Next Cut) and dubwise styles (Conflict Dub). On October 6th this fruitful partnership continues with “Rub A Dub Revolution: Early Dancehall Productions From Bunny ‘Striker’ Lee” their first foray into Mr. Lee’s transformative rub a dub work from the late 70s to mid-eighties.
In the late 1970s, Kingston was in the midst of a transformation. The ghetto population, brutalized, cowering behind locked gates during the internecine warfare of the decade, had had enough. Gunshots, street battles, homemade bombs be damned, the population was sick of the politics, sick of the violence and ready to move on. Slowly, but surely, the dancehalls, all but shuttered during the 1970s were returning to life. In those open lawns and sweaty clubs where draws of weed were sold by the handful, a cold Heineken battled the heat and the girls were ready to rock their hips in a rub a dub style the quasi-mystical, mathematically complex sound of roots and dub ceded to more earth-bound concerns. A host of new singers and DJs flocked to the sound systems with lyrics and style that spoke to the dancehall itself. This new breed of “rub a dub soldier” eschewed the international market, and spoke to Jamaicans in their own language, about their own concerns from sex to humor to the day-to-day problems of suffering in the ghetto. A new sound was needed and the spare, uncompromising music of the Roots Radics, bolstered equally by the mixing prowess of Scientist and the financial shenanigans of Henry “Junjo” Lawes, came to the rescue. With a tuff as nails drum and bass soundtrack, the Roots Radics, almost overnight, became the number one band for Jamaican recordings.
Bunny “Striker” Lee was always attuned to even the slightest change in the musical landscape of Kingston. He quickly picked up on this shift in taste and knew he had to compete or be left behind. By 1980, Striker had gathered a stable of young artists around his core veterans like Cornell Campbell and Johnny Clarke to build riddims and tunes to speak to this new “dancehall” vibe. With a deep knowledge of classic songwriting, an ability to effectively communicate with musicians and an infusion of new talent, Striker Lee’s new direction quickly hit gold. “Rub a Dub Revolution” mines this often overlooked period with tracks of rarities like the Paragons obscure “Place Called Zion”, classic tunes such as Don Carlos’ iconic “Pass Me The Lazer Beam” and extended 12” mixes featuring DJ verses by Papa Tullo, Purpleman, Simple Simon and others that showcase the excitement, experimentation and raw energy of this transformative period of Jamaican music.