Included here is something you will not hear anywhere else. Our friend Doctor Dread, founder and chief of Washington DC-based RAS Records for more than 25 years, blessed us with a rare limited vinyl pressing of the album ‘Is It Rolling, Bob?: A Reggae Tribute to Bob Dylan, which Doc produced and released on the RAS label in April 2005. The album features many of reggae’s most treasured artists performing their own versions of Dylan’s classic tunes. For example, you find Luciano performing “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door”; Don Carlos sings “Blowin’ In The Wind’; Gregory Isaacs on “Mr. Tambourine Man”; and Toots Hibbert on “Maggie’s Farm.”
According to Billboard Magazine:
“The themes of spirituality and inspired protest common to Bob Dylan and Bob Marley have long been noted. This mostly delightful collection, not surprisingly, leans heavily on Dylan’s spiritual side, appropriate to the artists covering his music and the genre in which it is interpreted. Dylan songs as reggae is a natural fit, illustrating the bond between the two giants—though their closest actual meeting was at a Los Angeles club gig Marley and the Wailers performed in 1976. Among the highest—and most enjoyable—expressions of this bond are Toots Hibbert’s take on “Maggie’s Farm,” Beres Hammond’s “Just Like a Woman” and Black Uhuru singer Michael Rose’s reading of “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll.” The last of those is particularly relevant to Jamaica’s history of slavery, crushing poverty and violence. Also worth several spins is the remix of Dylan’s own rendition of “I and I.”
The most intriguing side on this double album, which is pressed on 180 gram collector’s grade vinyl, is Disc 2 Side B which contains 5 outstanding dub tracks mixed by Doctor Dread at Lion and Fox Recording Studios in Washington, DC. The dubs are not hard and heavy but have a very atmospheric, chill vibe. Of the 5 tracks, my favorite is “I and I Dub,” which can hardly be described with words. It is a truly sublime, wondrous journey into Dylan in Dub.
Many thanks to Doctor Dread for these rare gems, and for producing some of the best roots reggae albums of the past 30 years.
1. I & I Dub (Vocals by Bob Dylan)
2. Knockin’ On Heaven’s Dub (Vocals by Luciano)
3. Lay, Lady, Lay Dub (Vocals by Mighty Diamonds)
4. One Too Many Mornings Dub (Vocals by Abijah)
5. Blowin’ In The Wind Dub (Vocals by Don Carlos)
ALL DUBS MIXED BY DOCTOR DREAD