1/  Afro Beat                                  (Dibango,Wilson,Laswell)      6.31
  2/  Boat Peoples                               (Dibango,Turre,Wilson)        7.03
  3/  Baliphone Dub                              (Wilson)                      4.24
  4/  Makossa Rock                               (Dibango,Wilson,Laswell)      11.06
  5/  Gammatron                                  (Wilson,Laswell)              5.22
  6/  Doo Root                                   (Wilson)                      3.44

          Recorded at Evergreen Studio
          Engineered by Robert Musso and Rob Stevens
          Assistant: Hahn Rowe
          Edited by: Iron Mike Krowiak
          Mixed by Robert Musso
          Produced by Bill Laswell and Phillip Wilson for Material/OAO
          Material Administration: Roger Trilling
          Mastered by Howie Weinberg at Masterdisc
Manu Dibango: tenor saxophone (1,2,4), voice (1,2); Bernie Worrell: synthesizer (1,2,4); Aiyb Dieng: congas (1,2), cowbell (1,2), talking drums (4); Phillip Wilson: cymbals (1,4), DMX (1,2,3,4,5), percussion (2), baliphone (3,4,6), bells (3), bass synthesizer (4), metals (5), kalimba (5), drums (5), processed piano (6), water tube (6), floor toms (6), congas (6), plastic hammers (6), cabasa (6); Bill Laswell: bass (1), DMX (1,2,3,4,5), AMS (2,4), shortwave (3); Steve Turre: conch shells (2,6), didjeridoo (2,4,6); Olu Dara: cornet (2,4), wood trumpet (2,4); Jonas Hellborg: bass (3,5), fuzz bass (3); Rob Stevens: processed piano (3), electric piano (6); Paul Butterfield: harmonica (4); Jaco Pastorius: bass (4); Robert Musso: processing (4).

          1985 - Celluloid (USA), CELL 6111 (Vinyl)
          1985 - Celluloid (USA), CELD 6111 (CD)


One of Bill Laswell's many projects, Deadline is a collaboration with drummer Phillip Wilson — not without the usual Laswell cohorts, of course. Down By Law is an interesting blend of industrial DMX beats and live percussion, African influences and Western funk. Saxophonist Manu Dibango pops up on half of the tracks and invokes memories of his Laswell-produced album Electric Africa. The killer track on this album is the ten-minute-plus "Makossa Rock," which combines clever, funky rhythms, an irresistible synth bass line, Steve Turre's haunting didgeridoo, scratching-like sounds by Laswell and Robert Musso, plus solos by Dibango, bluesman Paul Butterfield on harmonica, and bass legend Jaco Pastorius. Actually, this track is so good it could play forever. The other tracks, including the abstract, percussive pieces "Gammatron" (reminding of Material's "Heritage") and "Doo Rot," never let go of their fierce rhythmic edge either. While "Makossa Rock" may be worth the price of the album alone, the other tracks should not be neglected.

4 1/2 stars out of 5

Chris Genzel (courtesy of the All Music Guide website)


The Deadline collective seems to have been a dance project conceived by jazz drummer Phillip Wilson (1941-92) with producer Bill Laswell. The album features six tracks that are very much in the style of Laswell’s other Celluloid projects of the period, with Manu DiBango, Bernie Worell, Steve Turre and Olu Dara appearing on three tracks each, Bill Laswell appearing on five tracks (bass only on “Afro Beat”), Jonas Hellborg appearing on two tracks and Paul Butterfield and Jaco Pastorius on “Makossa Rock.” Only Phillip Wilson is a constant on the album’s six tracks, which amount to something of a successful Afro-Beat meets techno-jazz experiment. Bernie Worrell is heard on synthesizer here on the same three songs led and co-written by Manu DiBango (“Afro Beat,” “Boat Peoples” and the dance-floor hit “Makossa Rock”) and they amount to the album’s most memorable moments. Worrell’s distinctive synthesizer compliments DiBango’s idiosyncratic tenor sax and vocal chants particularly well and is given a prominence that suggests the keyboardist is the foundation, if not the author, of the engaging groove. The result is very similar to the fuel Worrell was adding to the Talking Heads’ fire at the time. The three tracks from Down By Law featuring Manu DiBango and Bernie Worrell have also been included on a DiBango compilation of questionable origin called Bao Bao, which also features three songs from DiBango’s Laswell-produced album Electric Africa, however “Electric Africa” is re-titled “Big Blow,” “Echoes Beti” is retitled “Bao Bao” and “L’Arbre A Palabres” is re-titled “Chapo-so Jam” (curiously, the only song from Electric Africa featuring Bernie Worrell, “Pata Piya,” is not included in the compilation). Although Phillip Wilson was murdered in 1992, a second Deadline album, Dissident, without Wilson, was issued. This album, too, featured Bernie Worrell but not Manu DiBango and seemed more centered on the distinctive basses of Bill Laswell, Bootsy Collins and Jonas Hellborg.

Doug Payne (courtesy of the Sound Insights website)