I am here to rectify an oversight perpetrated by yours truly as well as many others. I'm always pimpin' Adrian S. & On-U Sound, & rightly so, as he/they are honestly great purveyors of high-octane UK Dub. Then after On-U, most people name-check Mad Professor & Jah Shaka, & rightly so (here's a taste of the two working together on "Morphing Dub").
There is one artist in the UK Dub roots field that for some reason gets overlooked much of the time, Dougie 'Conscious' Wardrop of Conscious Sounds, Centry, Bush Chemists (& on & on). I have been meaning to post up some of his fantastic Dub creations for some time now…& that time is now.
In 1988, Dougie Wardrop started his career in music while running Dub Shack Records at Camden Market. Wardrop was a fan of the Dub royalty of Jamaica: King Tubby; Lee Perry; Prince Jammy; & Scientist. Inspired by their DIY ethos, as well as work by early UK digital steppers such as Seventh Seal by Nick Manasseh & Warrior Stance by Dread & Fred (on Jah Shaka's label), he decided to create his own label "Conscious Sounds" & begin his own musical production. His first attempt at mixing was the instrumental Stepping Time, that he recorded on a 4-track at Nick Manasseh's house.
Dougie's first attempt, the Stepping Time 7" was released under the name Centry in September 1990. It became the launch of his imprint Conscious Sounds. Centry was Dougie along with two of his friends Chris Petter & Nigel Lake. The quality of the release quickly caught the attention of UK reggae artist Anthony 'Tena Stelin' Robinson. Anthony took the name Tena Stelin from the Amharic language of Ethiopia, which, translated, means 'greetings'. In 1992 Tena Stelin & Dougie released Tena Stelin meets Cenrty – Sun & Moon, Conscious Sounds DNC001 in the grand Jamaican tradition of a series of reggae tunes (Tena) & then their Version (Dougie). Here's an example: "Babylon Won’t Succeed /Version".
In 1990 Nick Manasseh had set up his first studio in Brixton. Manasseh Studio was a magnet for many visiting Jamaican artists including Dennis Brown, the Mighty Diamonds, Freddie McGregor, Sugar Minott, Brigadier Jerry, Josie Wales, Charlie Chaplin, Johnny Osbourne, & Junior Delgado. Much of Dougie's early recording for the Conscious Sounds collective’s output took place at the Manasseh Studio. Conscious Sounds quickly became one of the labels, if not THE label for Roots & Stepper music coming out of England. (here's a joint venture – "The Last Call")
Getting record shops to stock a new label's records was a hassle at first, but after receiving extensive play by Jah Shaka, Conscious Sounds sales picked up, which gave Dougie encouragement for further releases. After working with Manasseh on the labels first three singles, Dougie used the money made from those releases to invest in a 8-track & his recording facilities shifted to Nigel Lake's house.
In 1993 Wardrop formed The Bush Chemists as a side-project to Centry. His main collaborators are Paul Davey, Kenny Knots, & Culture Freeman. Bush Chemists first release was Jonah Dan meets The Bush Chemists – Dubs from Zion Valley on the JKPD label. The first Conscious Sound Bush Chemists release was 1994s Strictly Dubwise. I am posting the CD version as it has five additional tracks.
The Bush Chemists – Strictly Dubwise, Universal Egg WWCD006, 1994.
all decryption codes in comments
all decryption codes in comments
Dub to Selaisse
Jah Kingdom Dub
Drug is a Ting
Some People Dub
Tomb of Soloman
Bongo Man Dub
Purple Skunk Dub
The Bush Chemists first US release was Dub Outernational, recorded in Wardrop's attic studio released in 1996 on ROIR.
Dougie & Conscious Sounds operated under various names beside Centry or The Bush Chemists: East meets West; Messenjah; Dub Specialist; & Hydroponics are some. (Messenjah was Dougie & his apprentice engineer Prento & East meets West was a collaboration between Dougie & Hiroshi mixing in oriental sounds to the steppa-style [Hiroshi was working at Conscious Sounds but he overstayed his visa & got deported back to Japan]). Inspired as he was by the pioneers in Dub, Dougie has never been too shy to experiment, but with all the electronic manipulation, this is not 21st Century Dub, this is high-powered JA style steppers.
Well, I've rambled on long enough trying to correct my sins of omission. The best thing I can do is offer you what I have always felt was the best (& most personal) of all Dougie's work…
Centry meets The Music Family – Release the Chains, Conscious Sounds DNC CD004, 1994.
Release the Chains (mix one)
Friend or Foe?
Rockers Stand Guard
The Longest Day
Melody of Life
Phases of the Moon
Centry’s Freedom Song
Release the Chains (mix three)