The Breadwinners: Dubs Unlimited – album reviewThe Breadwinners – Dubs Unlimited (King Spinna Records)
Out Now

Breadwinners mastermind Alan Redfern releases great old school all-analogue dub album. It hit the shops in December, and Paul Scott-Bates rates it as one of the best of last year’s releases.

This album does exactly what it says on the cover. Dubs Unlimited. And not in an artificial way either. This album is made the ‘good old fashioned way’, the way Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry would have done, on equipment he would quite likely have used, on quarter inch 6-track tape and mixed on to quarter inch stereo. It’s analogue folks – Google it!

The Breadwinners is one man, one very talented man – Alan Redfern from Rochdale (once a town in Lancashire but stolen by Manchester), barely in his mid 30’s and quite simply a traditional dub genius.

An album like Dubs Unlimited is actually quite hard to review, not because it’s difficult to listen to, not because it isn’t very good, quite the opposite. It’s an album of superb quality both in terms of musicianship (Redfern plays almost everything on the album, with the exception of the trumpet which is played by his wife, KT), and, remarkable love and respect for legends the likes of Studio One, The Wailers, Pablo and even the Radics. The melodies of the tracks and dubbing is simple and wonderous.  The (few) vocals are well-timed and well-placed. There are tremendous sax and flute skills from the wonderful Stally, and Big Youth (yes, ‘him’) lends his dulcet tones to one track, Joy, which is included on the cd and download.

From the opening “The Breadwinner”, this album is something special. Through the genius of “Hold I Version” and “When It A Go Dub”, to the sublime “KT’s Ital Stew” and “Kawai Dub”, it’s all you need for a modern day traditional dub album.


Last month, Alan and King Spinna were guests on BBC Radio Lancashire’s ‘On The Wire’ programme for well over half of the show, presented by dub and reggae guru Steve Barker – an honour indeed. In fact, Al has also been approached by and received the approval of none other than Sly & Robbie for his recent (as yet unreleased) remixes of some of Gregory Isaacs’ final recordings.

With hundreds of tracks over the last five or six years whittled down to the ones on this collection, we have an album so easy to listen to that it’s untrue. The vision of King Spinna must also be credited for having the confidence to back a young white man from the North of England and entrust him to meet the exceptionally high standards he has done with Dubs Unlimited. With the re-sequencing and mastering performed by Kevin Metcalfe at The Soundmasters, this album is one not to miss on two counts – 1) if you’re a fan of dub, and, 2) if you’re appreciative of good music.

There’s only one downside I can see to this album, and, it’s reason not to get too keen to issue your albums of the year list. This should, without any shadow of doubt be in the best of 2012. Class.

Follow The Breadwinners on Twitter here and do the Facebook thing here.
Buy the album from King Spinna here and follow them on Twitter here.

Words by Paul Scott-Bates. More writing by Paul on Louder Than War can be found here.


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Born and bred in Lancashire, currently residing in the Rossendale Valley. Everything deserves one listen, but, not necessarily a second. Only (ex-Community) DJ to ever play Nat ‘King’Cole followed by Nine Inch Nails, and, eat Fish and Chips live on air.


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