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PHIL PRATT

DIAL M FOR MURDER IN DUB STYLE

* * /

1980 - Pressure Sounds- studio - discs:1

Phil Pratt was born George Phillips in Kingston, Jamaica in 1942. In the early 60s he started working for Clement "Coxsone" Dodd's Downbeat organization and it's famous Studio One recording facilities. He voiced a couple of tracks there, but Coxsone was not satisfied and never released them. At the time he started an enduring friendship with one of the most important names of the Jamaican music: Lee "Scratch" Perry. So he moved to B.K. Calnek aka Ken Lack, owner of Caltone Records. There Lack renamed him Phil Pratt. He cut "Sweet Song For My Baby" with modest success but this lead to become a business partner of Lack and running Caltone's subsidiary Sun Shot label. Under this label he was responsible for the first recordings of a young Horace Andy. This brought the opportunity to meet the finest session player around. Subsequently this lead to cutting hits with artists as Ken Boothe ("Artibella" and "I'm Not For Sale"), John Holt ("My Heart Is Gone", a re-cut of the Studio One single and "Strange Things"), Gregory Isaacs ("All I Have Is Love") and Dennis Brown ("Black Magic Woman", yes, the song from Santana). Singers were not the only artists that worked with Pratt, DJs and toasters were involved as well. He recorded U-Roy ("Real Cool"), I-Roy ("Musical Air Raid"), Big Youth ("Phil Pratt Thing"), Charlie Ace ("Silver And Gold"), Dillinger ("Platt Skank"), Jah Woosh ("Psalm 21"), and Dennis Alcapone with "This Is Butter". Most of these recordings were made at the Hookim's brothers legendary Channel One studio with musicians that later will become The Revolutionaries. Pratt established his own labels called Terminal and Faith (after his friend George Faith) in London, UK. With Lee Perry at the legendary Black Ark he recorded an album with the keyboardist and arranger Bobby Kalpaht. At the same time he was responsible for the first hit from Linval Thompson called "Girl You've Got To Run". Another very important job came with co-engineering with Erroll Thompson the seminal album from Burning Spear called "Marcus Garvey". Here we are for this set, "Dial M For Murder". It was released in 1980 and recorded between 1979 and 1980 at Channel One with these musicians: Sly Dumbar and Robbie Shakespeare (rhythm section), Bobby Kalpaht (keyboards), Ansell collins (piano), Tommy McCook and Herman Marquis (horns). The set is believed to be mixed at Channel One by Pratt himself and Bunny Tom Tom, aka Crucial Bunny aka Anthony Graham. What about the original material? Just a few tracks can be traced to the originals they are based on. "Dont't Watch My Side" is based on Junior Brown's "What A Disaster". "Dial M for murder" is based on the Blackstones "Come And Dance" (1979). "Stinger" is based on Mel Torme's "Coming Home Baby". The CD release offers four bonus tracks: "Natty Culture" versioning Big Youth's "Keep Your Dread", "Dub Plenty" versioning I-Roy's "My Food Is Ration", "Dr Bash" versionng Roman Stewart's "Fire At My Heel" and "Who Gets Your Dub" comes from Ken Boothe's "Who Gets Your Love". So having said that it's time for a few comments. Frankly speaking this is not a very impressive Dub album. There's cleanliness all around. The sources are not all particularly great, but I think that this is not the main issue. Pratt and Bunny Tom Tom deliver an extremely polished set, maybe too much polished and refined. At the end it lacks the deserved mixture of roughness and creativity that every Dub album should have. Roughness not in terms of equipment used but of leaving the musical edges sharp and dangerous, creativity in terms of genius.

1. Dial M for murder
2. Danger UBX
3. Stinger
4. Beware of this rass dub
5. Chase a crooked shadow
6. Dont't Watch My Side
7. Walking razor
8. Wonder woman dub
9. Bad boy dub
10. Jam up
11. Natty Culture
12. Who gets your dub
13. Dub plenty
14. Dr Bash


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