Get to know the music of The Easy Star All-Stars
Dub Side of the Moon (2003)
The band’s initial foray into the covers’ album was a smash hit, selling more than 85 000 copies and resulting in the formation of the Easy Star All-Stars as a live band. The band’s version of Money, which opens with samples of someone taking bong hits while coughing, probably had stoners the world over skinning up.
Breathe (In the Air) has a great lilting reggae groove, and the band’s recreation of Time is one of the album’s highlights.
Michael Goldwasser says Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters sent the band a fax thanking them for sending him Dub Side of the Moon, but he added that he had a policy against endorsing covers of his work.
“But we did get an indirect Pink Floyd endorsement because we heard David Gilmour being interviewed on BBC1 Radio, and he told the interviewer that our album was ‘great fun’ and that he wished that he had seen us when we had recently been in London!”
The Easy Star All-Star’s second album, Radiodread, was no less ambitious than their first. Reimagining one of the 1990s greatest albums was always going to be a tall order, but the band pulled it off with aplomb.
Highlights include the band’s version of Let Down, featuring legendary roots-reggae artist Toots Hibbert on vocals and Sugar Minott’s version of Exit Music (For a Film).
Goldwasser says that, through their management, Radiohead told the band that they all really love Radiodread and appreciated the attention to detail. Moreover, Thom Yorke made an announcement praising Hibbert’s vocal performance on Let Down from the stage at a concert in Philadelphia.
Easy Star’s Lonely Hearts Dub Band (2009)
By 2009 the Easy Star All-Stars had established that they were not scared of taking on some of rock’s classic albums, so they upped the game by taking on one of the biggest records in music history, the Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, featuring Frankie Paul on vocals, retains its trippy feel, but is augmented by a deep reggae groove, but it is tracks like Fixing a Hole and Within You Without You that are served best by the psychedelic reggae feel given to the songs. When I’m Sixty Four is reimagined as a killer roots-reggae number. Goldwasser says the band had not heard anything from Paul McCartney or Ringo Star, or the families of John Lennon and George Harrison. “But that’s not to say that they won’t contact us in the future,” says Goldwasser.
Dubber Side of the Moon (2010)
Easy Star Records co-founder Lem Oppenheimer says the band’s new album is a full-length release, featuring the complete sequence of the original Dub Side of the Moon, which has been remixed track by track by other producers, with some bonus tracks.
“We brought in some serious dub masters, like Mad Professor, Adrian Sherwood and Scientist, with some new-school dub producers, like Canada’s Juno Award-winning Dubmatix and the mysterious 10 Ft Ganja Plant,” says Oppenheimer. “It was also important to us to go more modern, touching on Dubstep and some other current trends influenced strongly by dub and reggae.”