Phil Pratt – Star Wars Dub

by Jun 6, 2024Artist, Reviews

Phil Pratt - Star Wars Dub

Release Info

Label
Burning Sounds
Format
LP + Bonus CD
Street date
May 31, 2024
Contact
Website Record Label

Tracklist

LP
Side 1
1. African Communication
2. Which Clapp
3. Star Wars
4. Side Walk Rider
5. Tower Dub

Side 2
1. Stay Loose
2. Con-Man
3. Concert Man
4. Roffa Yet

Bonus CD
1. African Communication
2. Which Clapp
3. Star Wars
4. Side Walk Rider
5. Tower Dub
6. Stay Loose
7. Con-Man
8. Concert Man
9. Roffa Yet

Phil Pratt

Phil Pratt is one of those figures in the history of Jamaica’s popular music who deserves to be better remembered. In the early 1960s, George Phillips aka Phil Pratt became involved with Coxsone Dodd’s Downbeat organisation. He worked as a ‘box man’ for the Studio One sound system and helped with Dodd’s record operation. Despite his initial work as a shelf filler and singer in a vocal group with Ken Boothe and Headly Foulding, Pratt’s ambition had always been to become a vocalist. When Coxsone Dodd didn’t press his songs, Pratt turned to Ken Lack of Caltone records who released his song Sweet Song For My Baby. This brought him success and visibility, leading to a partnership in the music industry.

Sunshot Label

Phil Pratt founded Sunshot label at Lack’s premises, operating under Caltone as a subsidiary. His first recordings featured a young Horace Andy, followed by hits like Boothe’s I’m Not For Sale, Pat Kelly’s They Talk About Love, and Al Campbell’s Gee Baby. The success with these artists propelled Pratt to explore rootsier sounds favored by popular deejays like U Roy, I Roy, Big Youth, Dillinger, Jah Woosh, and Dennis Alcapone, who all utilized the popular riddims from the Sunshot label. In addition to his Sunshot endeavors, Phil Pratt reconnected with his longtime friend Lee Perry at the Black Ark Studio. There, he worked on more tracks with Al Campbell and collaborated with organist/arranger Bobby Kalphat. Pratt also recorded Linval Thompson’s debut song, Girl You’ve Got To Run. However, by the early 1980s, Pratt had relocated to North West London to open a restaurant, leading to a decrease in his musical output.

Dub Mixes

During the late 1970s, dub music experienced a surge in popularity, particularly beyond the borders of Jamaica. Producer Phil Pratt possessed a remarkable assortment of music that was perfectly suited for dub mixes, leading to the release of Dub In Blood and Dub In Blood Volume Two by the Skin, Flesh & Bones band in 1976. Bobby Kalphat was credited with Zion Hill Dub, an unmarked release in a plain cover in 1977. Though featuring artwork reminiscent of Darth Vader, Phil Pratt’s Star Wars Dub, released in 1978 by UK label Burning Sounds, had no relation to the 1977 film by George Lucas. The album had slipped into obscurity, making it a rare gem eagerly awaited for revival. It wasn’t until 2016 that Burning Sounds breathed new life into the album, releasing it on both CD and vinyl. And now, they have once again reissued Star Wars Dub on 180-gram vinyl, while the CD, featuring the same tracks, is included as a bonus for buyers.

Original Source Riddim Tracks

When listening to dub albums, riddim spotters like to identify the original source riddim tracks. For this particular set there is only limited information available. Therefore, they have to rely on their ears to recognize any dubbed-up riddims that may lead to the original vocal. A dub that features an unmistakable riddim is Con-Man. It belongs to the Blackstones song Open The Gates and is known as the Letter To Zion riddim. This riddim has been used for multiple songs such as Half Pint’s One Big Ghetto, Barry Brown’s Girlfriend, Triston Palma’s Time So Hard, and Echo Minott’s Youth Man to name only four. And there’s also a dub of the riddim to King Sighta’s obscure deejay piece Shining Star, most likely being Roffa Yet (a relicked version of Studio One’s Rougher Yet riddim).

Consistently Exceptional

The quality of the dub workouts is excellent, using mostly unfamiliar but well-performed reggae riddims by Skin, Flesh & Bones and Soul Syndicate, both pre-Revolutionaries. These riddims are reconstructed based on the basic drum and bass pattern, with some subtle sound effects, sneaky organ snippets, smooth horn fragments (African Communication, Which Clapp, and Tower Dub), and guitar chops that fade away into a shallow echo pit. All of this is done without going over the top with excessive bombast. Given that the album originated in the 1970s, a duration of thirty-four minutes is par for the course. Furthermore, it’s unfortunate that none of the tracks contain vocals, as it could have provided insight into the vocal pieces. Nonetheless, there’s no complaint as Star Wars Dub is consistently exceptional. After all this time, these Jamaican-style workouts from the 1970s are still worth a listen.

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