Sunday, January 29, 2023

Studio One Dub Store Special


album: Dub Store Special
label: Studio One
released: 1974

I used to drink entirely too much.  It's not something I'm particularly proud of.  I'm just telling you this as an historical fact that I can't deny and to establish the image of me quite often waking up in the morning with a pile of records that I had bought the night before in a drunken haze lying next to me.   

Many was the time that I quietly nursed a hangover with a cup of hot black coffee while I went through the nights haul in amazement.

I remember the morning I woke up to find King Sunny Ade's Original Syncro System lying by my side and what significance buying that record had to my later life.

But today we're taking about the album Studio One Dub Store Special.  

I found my copy of Dub Store Special sitting next to me one hungover morning in the 1980s.  What a beautiful thing it was.  I remember putting it on the turn table and having a listen to it while I brewed my second cup of java.  The music was understated and soothing.  Just what the doctor ordered.

I had the record in my collection for over 40 years.  I sold it last year before I came to the Philippines.  But before I sent it off I gave it one last spin and recorded it.  

Let's talk about Studio One.

Studio One was the brainchild of Clement "Coxsone" Dodd.  It was a record label and recording studio that is credited by most people as being the birthplace of modern Jamaican music.  So many of the famous Jamaican recording artist began their career as part of the Studio One stable.  Burning Spear, Dennis Brown, Leroy Sibbles, Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, Joseph Hill, Horace Andy, Lee Perry, Prince Buster, The Gladiators, The Maytals, The Heptones, the list goes on.  

Clement Dodd was by all accounts a cantankerous character.  And a penny pincher.  He was famous for putting out great records on cheep used vinyl.  Many of the Studio One records I bought were literally bumpy with left over chunks of unmelted vinyl.  But the music was so great that it was hard to complain.  When recording music perhaps the most important ingredient is the atmosphere of the studio and Studio One was the place to be.  Many Jamaican artist thought of Studio One as their home and their school.  But then again, many Jamaican artist to this day charge Dodd with becoming rich on their music while giving them little to no compensation.  So it goes.

Clement "Coxsone" Dodd standing outside his music shop in Jamaica

I bought this record at Rhino Records in Westwood.  I found it in the used reggae bin in a plain white sleeve.  Did Dodd put it out in a plain sleeve to save money or did the sleeve get lost before it was returned to the store?  Whatever.   It's actually a very nice pressing by Studio One standards and it's a record I have loved.   It features the version sides of various Studio One singles.  Lovely music.  I bought it for something like three bucks and sold it on Discogs for a pretty penny and a nice profit.  Coxsone would be pleased.  Lol

For the record, I got the images for the cover and the back sleeves off of Discogs.  I can't figure out how to determine who uploaded them but thank you to the uploader.

When I played it to record it I was amazed that it still played great after all these years.

Good bye old friend.

Also, for the record, I stopped drinking alcohol on the advice of a Judge in 1995.  Everyone here in the Philippines keeps offering me alcohol.  People are so friendly.  They offer me shots of whiskey and I tell them thank you, but I don't drink.  They ask me why, so I tell them it's because I once made a promise to a Judge.  

Last night a lovely Filipina said, "But the Judge isn't here now."

"Yes," I said, "But God is."

Cheers from the Philippines.


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