As I think I’ve alluded to in previous comments, I’m not big on cover bands or tribute albums, unless the band takes the original material and makes it their own, as opposed to simply playing someone else’s song note for note off the sheet music. I have recently found an album that does the former – “Dub Side of the Moon” by the Easy Star All-Stars, a reggae group based in New York City. As the title suggests, this is a reggae/dub version of Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” album.
The Floyd is my favorite band of all time, and I am always skeptical when bands cover their songs. And I’m not a huge fan of reggae – most of it is a little slow and repetitive for my taste. But “Dark Side” is a pretty mellow album as it is, and so the songs work fantastically as reggae/dub versions – “Dub Side” is a truly enjoyable album. The Easy Star All-Stars added a few of their own touches, like instead of the cash register sound effects at the beginning of “Money,” we hear a bong being lit, ripped, and then a man coughing. Several of the songs also feature some additional lyrics during the instrumental portions. But some amount of the original recording is also retained in the songs, so it’s almost like some songs are remixes rather than brand new recordings…but this only adds to the charisma of the record. In all, it’s a loving tribute to a landmark album, redone in a way that keeps the charm of the original but presents it in a new light.
The Easy Star All-Stars have also released two other cover albums which I am eager to try out – Radiohead’s “OK Computer” (released as “Radiodread”) and the Beatle’s “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band” (released as “Easy Star’s Lonely Hearts Dub Band”). I’ll let you know the result.
“Dub Side of the Moon” gets 4.5 out of 5 stars!