Jah Wobble

Jah Wobble & The English Roots Band

The Independent – 24th November 2006

From his earliest work with Public Image Ltd, Jah Wobble has consistently avoided the more well-trodden of musical pathways, becoming an early adherent of various strains of world music, from reggae and Krautrock to North African drone-grooves. So it’s a surprise – though somehow apt – to find him blending his dub style with traditional English folk songs. Recorded live in one take, this album seeks to recapture the spirit of the concerts that followed 2002’s English Roots Music, with updated versions of folk standards such as “Rocky Road to Dublin”, “Ploughboy’s Dream” and a nine-minute “Byker Hill”, on which the singers Liz Carter and Clea Rose bring ancient courtship laments and accounts of heavenly visitation to more modern life. With Wobble and the drummer Mark Sanders providing secure anchorage for the guitarist Chris Cookson’s choppy rhythm figures and serpentine streaks of slide-guitar, the results are intriguing and entertaining. Alongside the traditional songs, slinky versions of Dawn Penn’s haunting reggae lament “No, No, No” and Wobble’s own “Visions of You” add variety. ***

Andy Gill

The Guardian – 24th November 2006

He may be best known for his postpunk bass work, dub experiments and those collaborations with John Lydon back in the days of Public Image Ltd, but Jah Wobble is also an English folk fan. Three years ago, his Invaders of the Heart showed how traditional songs could be reworked with a heavy Wobble bassline, and were transformed into the English Roots Band for a series of rousing concerts. In an attempt to recapture their energy and spontaneity, the new album was recorded live in one take, with no overdubs allowed. It’s a brave experiment that mostly works. The material includes rumbling, bluesy tracks such as One Day, the old Invaders favourite Visions of You, and a barrage of bass’n’ drum work-outs, mixed in with the distinctive Wobble treatment of the traditional Blacksmith and Byker Hill, and surely the most bass-heavy version of Rocky Road to Dublin ever recorded.

Robin Denselow

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