1/  Divine Dub                                 (Gould)                       5.34
  2/  Dub of Affliction                          (Gould)                       3.44
  3/  Dub Questions                              (Gould)                       3.21
  4/  Dub Plagues                                (Gould)                       5.00
  5/  Jah Dub                                    (Gould)                       3.23
  6/  Dub is Mighty                              (Gould,Dillon)                3.39
  7/  Who Knows Dub?                             (Gould)                       4.12
  8/  Goat's Dub                                 (Gould)                       3.19
  9/  May the Dub Arise                          (Gould)                       3.49
  10/ Once We Were Dub                           (Gould)                       2.39
  11/ Peace Dub                                  (Gould)                       3.47
  12/ Next Dub In Jerusalem                      (Gould)                       4.40

          Originally recorded at Boston Heartbeat Studio January 31/February 1, 2009
          Jamaica vocal sessions recorded February 2009 at Legacy Music, Port
            Antonio, Jamaica
          Overdubs recorded February/March 2009 at Rep Studios
          Yuri Yanakov recorded 2003 at Solid Studios, Newfield, New York
          Assorted overdubs recorded March 2009 at Solid Studios, Spencer, New York
          Engineered by: Josh Driscoll
          Engineer at Legacy: 3-Ple-S
          Engineers at Rep: Nathan Silas Richardson and David Kingsley
          Remixed at Orange Music Sound, Orange, New Jersey
          Engineer: Robert Musso 
          Assistant: James Dellatacoma
          Dub Translations: Bill Laswell
          Executive Producer: John Zorn
          Associate Producer: Kazunori Sugiyama
          Mastered by Scott Hull
THE TEMPLE ROCKERS - David Solid Gould: electric bass, upright bass, auxiliary percussion, vocals, nyabinghi; JP Nawn: nyabinghi; William McKenna: sticky guitar, first guitar lead; Jonathan Petronzio: organ, clavinet; Ryan Zawel: trombone; Mark Wienand: baritone and tenor sax, flute; special guests - Tommy Benedetti: drums; Mike Keenan: rhythm guitar; Nathan Silas Richardson: piano, guitar leads (3-5,7); Yuri Yunakov (1,12): tenor sax solos; Leonard "Sparrow" Dillon of the Ethiopians (6,10,11): vocals; Keith "Sleepy" Coley of The Silvertones (6,10,11): vocals; Gilmore "Smoker" Grant of The Silvertones (6,10,11): vocals; Craig Akira Fujita (12): vocals; Adam Gold (1,3,4,11): vocals; Lisa Gould (1,11): vocals; Elisa Sciscioli (1,11): vocals; Jared Sims: baritone sax solo (3,7,9), tenor sax (11); Brian Thomas (11): trombone; Basil Punsalan: nyabinghi; Robert Salvato (12): jaw harp; Steve Digrigorio (4): synths.

          2011 - Tzadik (USA), TZ 8159(CD)


Each year at Passover, Jews gather over a festive meal to recite the greatest story ever told, of the exodus out of slavery and into freedom. Its narrative power is so strong that it has served as the template in other struggles for liberation from oppression across the globe. Its influence on Rastafarianism goes particularly deep, so combining reggae and the haggadah is as natural as spreading butter on bread. Or rather, on matzah.

For his first dub on Tzadik ten years ago, David (now also "Solid") Gould asked fellow visionary Jamie Saft to revisit his reggae versions of traditional Jewish prayers from the album "Adonai & I". Here, he turns the controls over to Bill Laswell, this time with the material comprising his two-year-old "Feast of the Passover".

Against form, Laswell displays none of the adventurousness that Saft did, like the latter´s playful tweaking of the saxophone on "Leha Dodi Dub", his nod to the organic and orthodox in both traditions on "Etz Chaim Hee Dub", or his confounding and spooky "V'nemar/Dybbuk Dub". Laswell is is at his most lively-upped on "Jah Dub" and "Dub is Mighty", and "Next Dub in Jerusalem" is a funky closer. But he takes no real risks. The record flows pleasantly and professionally, as befits a producer who has dubbed with Sly & Robbie and Lee Scratch Perry, not to mention his many "ambient dub mix translations", including the masterpiece reworking of Bob Marley´s oeuvre, "Dreams of Freedom". But he never breaks a sweat, whereas Saft almost bursts a blood vessel.

Laswell seems mostly interested in getting the horns to vibrate until they tickle, and he does nice work with the voices of guest singers Leonard Dillon (of the legendary Ethiopians) and two members of the Silvertones. Over nearly half a century, dub has evolved from being b-side filler to an artform in itself, and as such requires affection, equal measures of reverence and irreverence, and imagination; you´ve got to have, as Warren Buffet says, skin in the game.

This review might have been titled "Jamie Saft vs Bill Laswell", since the solid Jewish/reggae hybrid Gould has made his own is the common denominator. While both are eminently enjoyable, "Adonai" is a labyrinth while "Passover" is an echoey, but straight and narrow corridor leading from point a to point b.

Taken at face value, however, it would make a fine soundtrack for the family seder.

Stephen Fruitman (courtesy of Sonomu)