Lots of great new music…but the first order of business was a tribute to the great singer Junior Murvin, who passed away suddenly on December 2nd. First up on the new music list was the very cool album “44” from the Gentleman’s Dub Club. This was followed by the sublime “Reasonin’ in Dub” from *Rod Anton & the Ligerians. Then came the “Frastimus in Dub” release ( on LibreCommeLair) from Sardinia’s Malasorti, and the “Fresh Start EP” from Bryan Art. Also had the pleasure of airing an advance demo of “Poet as an Acrobat” from Kevin Purdy, and the new single “Strictly Roots” from Do I Do. More new music on the fresh compilations “Explorations in Dub” (on Dubophonic) and “Penthouse Records – 25 Years” (Penthouse/VP). Rounding things out with Jah Wobble, Alborosie, Jaqee, Karma Dub, Grant Phabao & Horace Andy, UB40, Rico, Easy Star All Stars, Roni Size, Dub Trio, Alpha Steppa, Boom One Sound System, and more…
Tonight was a very special night in the Echo Chamber as Dr. StrangeDub & DJ Baby Swiss put together a Tribute to Nelson Mandela and the beautiful people of South Africa. Plenty of reggae tonight, but also some great South African music, more vinyl than usual, and even some excerpts from some ANC Radio Freedom broadcasts (including a message from Oliver Tambo). We kicked the show off with the great “Free Nelson Mandela” tune from the Special AKA (vocal + instrumental). This was followed by a version of the Satta Massagana riddim, retitled simply as “Mandela”, by Tommy McCook and the Abyssinians. Then came the moving new track “The Echo of Mandela” from Victoria Moralez. Great South African music filled much of the show, and included Hugh Masekela, Miriam Makeba, Lucky Dube, Nkulee Dube, Kalahari Surfers, Nelcy Sebide, Ghetto Muffin, Udokotela Shange Namajaha, DJ Dope, and Felix Laband. Also included were the conscious tunes “South Africa” from Mystic Mike; “(Something Inside) So Strong” from Labi Siffre; “A Girl Called Johannesburg’ from Mutabaruka; and “The Wind of Change” from Robert Wyatt & the SWAPO Singers.
The DJ Baby Swiss set started with The Special AKA’s radically-reinvented “Nelson Mandela ’88” — house-mixed and clocking in at 8+minutes… But the duration record for a single track played on Echo Chamber probably belongs to the mighty Fela, coming in as he did at 17:33 with the epic “Go Slow” from Music is the Weapon of the Future. Mad Professor and Hugh Masekela turned up again, Hugh from his mid-60s Mercury release grrr, and the Mad One from his Anti-Racist Dub Broadcast. Also in the decks were Rico, Dub Caravan & Hornsman Coyote, and Burning Spear. The tail-end of the show took a left-turn into “Seasonal” territory with Buford O’Sullivan’s “Winter Storm Warning” and the Billie Holiday/Yesking remix “I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm” just in time for those sub-zero temperatures.
Kicking off the yuletide season in style…. Lots of Christmas reggae from the likes of Alton Ellis, Granville Williams Orchestra, Toots & the Maytals, Horace Andy, Likkle Mai, Yellowman, Jah Iriest Artists, The Tamlins, Michelle Gordon, Brent Dowe, Joe Gibbs & the Professionals, and more… Even a nice new reggae cover of “Silent Night” from Noble Vibes. On top of this we mixed in some classic and new Christmas and seasonal sounds (mostly remixed) from Mel Torme, Berlin Symphony Orchestra, Teresa Brewer, Redtenbacher’s Funkestra, Skafish, Vince Guaraldi Trio, Rosemary Clooney, Johnny Mercer, Ed Calle/Arturo Sandoval, and Billie Holiday. But with a Christmas show this week and next, we mixed in a bit of music that had nothing to do with the holidays…including Dubblestandart, Capital Letters, Jah Wobble/Bill Laswell, Richie Phoe, Ill:Esha, and Kid Creole & the Coconuts.
DJ Baby Swiss goes solo in a seasonal stylee…as Dr. StrangeDub was out of town for Christmas. Highlights include “A Long Wintry Sigh,” Likkle Mai’s contribution to “Reggae with Snow Lovers,” a companion volume to “Reggae with Xmas Lovers” that makes its Echo Chamber debut this week. Also turning up is Fred Schneider’s B-52s side-project The Superions, twice, from “Destination… Christmas!” And look for usual suspects Jah Iriest, Peter Broggs, Joe Gibbs, The Aggrovators and Granville Williams peppering the playlist with the Yard Christmas classics we all remember. So don’t let all the crap the world throws at you stop you from having some fun at its expense. As Pauline Black and The Selecter say, “Skank ‘til Christmas!”
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