Dub fans and post-punks take note: Glasgow’s Optimo dj team/production unit have just put out another of their excellent podcasts, and this time it’s a whole hundred minutes of the best and most spaced out dub productions by Adrian Sherwood.
According to JD Twitch, who compiled the mix and skillfully blended the tracks together, it “covers music from the years 1979 - 88 and focuses on Adrian Sherwood’s dubwise productions, most of which were released on his ON U Sound label.”
Twitch also interviewed Sherwood after a recent gig in Glasgow, and the dub maestro talks at length about his introduction to reggae and dub music, and to djing, production and running labels:
How old were you when you were working for and running labels, Carib Gems and Hit Run?
I used to go to a reggae club in the town where I lived called the Newlands Club or the Twilight Club. I think Dave Rodigan did his first ever gig there. I was DJing there when I was really young. The owner of the club, a Jamaican guy, was like my dad. He looked after me. My dad had died when I was very young and I had a step-dad but I wasn’t close to him so this guy took me under his wing and I started DJing in there when I was at school, on Saturday afternoons… Then eventually Sunday afternoons and then moved up to doing the early evening stints. I worked there with Emperor Rosco a couple of times and lots of other Radio 1 DJs and Judge Dread, who came down and did a PA in the club. I used to play early evenings before the sound systems. It had been a funk a soul club… Then in around 72 or 73 or something, it was a really, really hot summer and no-one was going to the club for months. The only people going were the reggae fans. It suddenly just turned into this reggae club whereas it had been a lot of soul drinkers prior to 72 or 73… So it went from a group of people who drank a lot and listened to soul to a group of reggae fans who would only want to drink one beer and smoke lots of weed. So it was only a matter of time before the club went bust. I was doing it from the age of 13 – 15, then the club went under. I had became good friends with the owner and his wife so when the club went under the owner, who had previously ran Pama Records, restarted the label and I got a little job doing promotions for them. Then we started our own distribution company out of the Pama office. That pre-dates Jet Star, Jet Star started after we had left. They basically copied the model we had created.
Do you think any of the music on your early labels will ever get re-issued?
There was a bootleg a couple of years ago of a Carol Kalphat record. That was a fucking character! I had to send a message asking not to bootleg any more of my tunes. The real problem with releasing that stuff is that if I start re-issuing it begins to bring people out of the woodwork which isn’t always worth it. I think it’s actually better that they are there and available as collector’s items and that’s it.
If you are new to Sherwood and ON U Sound, then that interview (on the Racket Racket site) is a good place to start, as is this mix. Even if you’re not it’s well worth checking out: just over 100 minutes of non-stop, heavy, psychedelic dub, the perfect soundtrack to an evening in relaxing. Or tripping out.
As usual, Optimo have withheld the tracklist, and have promised to follow up this podcast with another focusing on Sherwood’s more dance-based productions from the late 80s and the 90s. That will be called part one, and here, confusingly, is part two:
Optimo Podcast 12 - Adrian Sherwood On U Sound mix part 2 (dub) by JD Twitch
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Don’t call it ambient: Optimo Fact 214 Mix