Our regular readers will be aware of how much we delight in bending our own rules from time to time, so for the next few features we’ve decided to go all out with a string of records that fall just outside of our punky reggae remit.
It seems logical then, to kick things off at punk year one with a track whose Skankworthiness Tom and I have quibbled over for many a moon. And although it is by no means an out-and-out crossover it does signify one of the very first spiky nods in a dread direction, and thus I feel the time is right for it to take its place in our pantheon.
Wild Dub, the b-side to punk pretty boys Generation X’s second single, Wild Youth, is a strange beast indeed. The original track itself errs more on the laggard side of 70s rock than the accelerated punk pop of the band’s other early material, though it is perhaps this more measured pace that made a dub version even remotely possible.
Prior to working with Gen X, producer Phil Wainman spent a decade manning the controls for The Sweet, Mud, and The Bay City Rollers which might at least partly explain Wild Youth’s gleaming wall of guitars and a glam stomp that borders on – well no, IS just – plain ludicrous.
Nevertheless, Phil and co. do manage to deliver an engaging take on the art of dub: brawny guitars are grappled into echo-bathed submission, drums are given a thorough going over with some extreme EQ-ing, and even Mr. William Idol himself contributes a cringeworthy ‘HEAVY HEAVY DUB – PUNK ROCKERS!’ to round off the affair.
Though with nary a skank in sight (which is perhaps fortunate given how cringeworthy that could be in the hands of Generation X), Wild Dub does provide an early peek through the punk-stained window at the dreads next door, and is damned good fun to boot. But don’t take my word for it…
It wasn’t the last time they swanned down the dub aisle either:
A slightly more tenuous connection, but oh my god: