IF you released a reggae song back in the 1970s on 45 single,invariably the same song appeared on the B side as a dub "version". Toasters, which are basically rapper-DJs, would rhymne over the riddims, or sometimes just use the dub as a DANCEHALL/DISCO extended mix. King Tubby and Lee Perry, who invented dub, simply didnt have the technology to produce dub like Black Uhuru's "DUB FACTOR". Nevertheless Marley's best dubs approached the level of Burning Spear's "GARVEYS GHOST". When these Marley songs were remixed, dub was a new art form. No longer simple instrumental versions, dub would reinvent the song from the bottom up. Marleys BEST dubs are hallucinagenic collages of bass guitar, bass drums against overamped snare drums, piano/guitar "chicka Chicka" riddims fading in and out, with occasional slices of heavily reverbed vocals. If you have ever heard Tosh's dubs (check out EQUAL RIGHTS legacy edition), they were mostly done the same way.
For fans of King Tubby, Yabby You, Mad Professor, or Sly and Robbie, Marley's dub plates come across as dull and predictable. This goes a long way in explaining why Tuff Gong hasnt released many of these dub versions on CD. A few of them appeared on the SONGS OF FREEDOM box set, but even the legacy editions of BURNIN and CATCH A FIRE are without the dub versions created for those songs. Why? Dub is clearly not Marley's strong suit. However, if you love Marley's music, I'd still insist these are nearly essencial, to grasp Marley's entire vision. And for completists, this album is essencial. Altho none of these dubs were intended for anything except the dancehall, they're still fun to hear.