April 1 , 2006

Issue IV:
Escape from NY
White Hassle,SXSW,
and Mardi Gras



Chairs Missing

The Telescopes


Charles Manson





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Pablo Gad
Hard Times
Soul Village 2006


If you think you know all of the important works in the dub canon and you haven’t checked out Hard Times, hit's time to backtrack a bit. Pablo Gad is an unsung British roots wailer who recorded a some really tough politically charged releases in the late-1970s and early 1980s before mysteriously disappearing from recording. I’d love to find some more information about Gad and what he’s been up to for the last twenty-five years, but for now all I have to go by is his recorded legacy – which, in addition to this one, includes a 1993 Best Of comp (Reggae On Top), Trafalgar Square (AKA Bloodsuckers) (Burning Sound), and some singles. While a lot of this isn’t easy to find, the title track “Hard Times” appears on a few compilations including Adrian Sherwood’s Don’t Call Us Immigrants compilation.

Hard Times opens with Gad repeating an essential question which is a commentary on message music, "Do you really want to know about hard times?" And spending the rest of the record assuming that you answered "yes." (well, you're still listening, aren't ya?) Gad is super versatile – not only does he have a beautiful voice and really knows how to carry a tune, but the variation of his phrasing is astounding. He even toasts here and there. And his socially-charged lyrics on “Leaders of the World,” “Studying War,” and the rest, have lost none of their poignancy over the years. The soulful musicianship and huge production are really complimentary to Gad’s craft. And while the songs are solid and subtle, when they choose to stretch out the dubs, it’s pure trance-taffy. In addition to the slammin’ hit “Hard Times,” other standouts include “Black Before Creation,” “Crisis,” “O Jah,” and, what the heck, there isn’t a dud in the whole bunch. A mighty gulp of vintage rub-a-dub-dub for another Bush-era summer.



Hard Times MP3






© New York Night Train , 2006