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Baker's Dozen

Champion Versions: Steve Mason's Favourite Albums
Joe Clay , March 2nd, 2016 11:04

With his new solo album, Meet The Humans, just released, the prolific musician and former Beta Band man gives Joe Clay a tour of his record collection, meandering through electro, hip-hop, punk and more


Various ‎– Santic + Friends: An Even Harder Shade Of Black
There's only one reggae album on here, I can't quite believe it. I could do 13 just on dub no problem. This is another one I got when we first started writing as the Beta Band. When I was a mod I discovered ska and rocksteady and these kind of things. So I'd been in reggae record shops, but I'd just head straight for the ska section. These other records that you'd see with guys with dreadlocks and massive spliffs, and political statements, all laced with religion and I was like, "What the fuck is that all about?" I can't really remember how I got into dub reggae, but the first proper reggae track I heard was 'Under Mi Sensi' by Barrington Levy. I got that on a 12" and then I started to put together that bass sound from Metal Box. I read an interview with John Lydon and he was talking about Tapper Zukie's M.P.L.A. and I went straight out and got that. Then we just started buying loads of dub records and An Even Harder Shade Of Black was one of the first ones I got.

It's a really good one to get because every track on it is fucking killer. It was produced by a guy called Lenny Chin who is a friend of Dennis Bovell, who I did a dub record with. I was talking to Dennis about this album and he was telling me about Lenny. I think it was put together in London. I don't have much to say about this record, other than it's a brilliant record. Lots of dub records are a bit patchy and very similar to each other, but every song on this one is different from the other. It's such a great mix of artists. The Horace Andy track is fantastic, the Augustus Pablo one is beautiful... they're all brilliant. If you need an introduction to dub reggae, this is a really good one to get. It's not too dubbed out, there's still songs in there, but the production is really interesting. It keeps moving on.