Single Review: The Dub’n’tuff All Stars-Reggae Don’t Pay

Reggae Don’t Pay is the latest single released by south coast reggae/soul outfit The dub’n’tuff all stars. It may not bring in the bacon but apparently the old school ska and reggae vibes are still on the menu.

There has been a notable resurgence in the UK reggae scene as of late with bands like The Skints and Fat Freddy’s Drop becoming international names. Skanking groups of musicians led by brass players, backed by a solid rhythm section and the classic off-beat guitar that gives Ska music its name have been creeping out of the woodwork from Edinburgh down to Brighton. Maybe it’s the warmth of the festival season, which dub’n’tuff have been taking full advantage of, playing a number of the more intimate fests’ supporting UK legends The Dub Pistols and The Resonators before releasing this bouncing, soulful number.

The drums are solid and the bass holds the track together perfectly. Skanking guitars keep your head bobbing and the brass section, comprised by two more-than-competent saxophonists is the icing on the cake, keeping it soulful and smoothly complimenting the jagged syncopated rhythms designed to keep your hips moving. Front man Dada Da Dada (we’re assuming this isn’t his Christian name) adds a real sense of character to the track with his gruff vocals laced with conviction. By the last chorus it’s really quite hard not to be shouting the title lyrics along with him.

There’s a good attempt at recreating the live energy of a full ska band on this record (not an easy task) with call and response vocal parts between Dada and the ‘crowd’, a blazing sax solo before breaking down to just drums and claps for that classic knees-up effect. It’s a real party atmosphere tune, reminiscent of Madness and 2-tone legends Bad Manners.

We truly hope reggae does pay, at least enough to keep these guys belting out tunes like this. One of the freshest ska/reggae tracks we’ve heard in a while, while still holding true to the long and multi-faceted history of one of Britain’s favourite musical genres.

A few line up changes have been made since this single was released and forthcoming material is in the pipeline! Including an album of covers from a 70s – 80s music and film icon.


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