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Is it Rolling, Bob?:  RAS 06076-89914-2, on CD and Vinyl (4 sides) 
A Reggae Tribute to Bob Dylan

Produced By Doctor Dread
All tracks recorded at Anchor Studio Kingston , Jamaica on June 3, 4 and 5, 2003
except “Gotta Serve Somebody”
recorded at Reel to Reel Studio (Blacksburg, VA)
Thanks to Joe and Rick (engineers) and a special thanks to Nate 
and except "I and I"
Recording engineers: Fatta, Dr. Marshall, Nigel Burrell, Jim Fox, Derek Litchmore, Dwight “Fudgie” Dias, Tixie, Jim Gately, Greg Lidanyi
Mixed by Jim Fox and Doctor Dread at LION and FOX Recording Studio, USA.
Dubs mixed by Doctor Dread at LION and FOX
Mastered by Michael Caplan at LION and FOX

Art Direction by Geoff Gans (of Westchester)
Cover Painting by Eric White (a painter living in Brooklyn) Visit him at www.ewhite.com

Release Date August 10, 2004

Sanctuary /RAS Records creates the ultimate tribute to Bob Dylan
featuring some of reggae music’s most revered stars including
Toots Hibbert, Beres Hammond, Sizzla and more


Is it Rolling, Bob?: A Reggae Tribute to Bob Dylan' -- the phenomenal reimagination of songs of America’s most noted songwriter by some of the most celebrated reggae musicians -- will be released by Sanctuary/ RAS Records August 10, 2004 (Cat.89914).  This remarkable collection marries reggae stars like Toots Hibbert, Beres Hammond, The Mighty Diamonds and Sizzla with Dylan material ranging from “Blowin’ In the Wind  (1963) to “Gotta Serve Somebody” (1979). (Full track listing attached).

The album also features a rare remix of Dylan's song "I and I" featuring the legendary drum and bass duo Sly & Robbie.  The song originally appears on Dylan’s 1983 album 'Infidels.'

RAS Records founder and album producer Gary Himelfarb hand-picked star reggae vocalists to perform each song on the album, seeking artists whose musical styles and heritage would expose previously undiscovered layers of meaning in Dylan's music and lyrics.  For instance, Toots Hibbert transforms “Maggie’s Farm” into a rebel anthem which seems to give voice to his oppressed ancestors; The Mighty Diamonds sweeten “Lay, Lady, Lay” by evoking old time Jamaican harmonies; Luciano often substitutes the Rastafarian term “Zion” for “Heaven” on “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” and Dylan’s moody “The Times They Are A-Changin,” turns into an upbeat and inspiring call to action sung by Apple Gabriel of Israel Vibration.

The album's all-star backing band is also a group of veteran musicians who have played with Bob Marley & the Wailers, Peter Tosh, and others. These musicians, including Sly Dunbar on drums and Earl "Chinna" Smith on guitar, did most of their work for the album in the Kingston, Jamaica.

The album’s 14 tracks also include, “Mr. Tambourine Man” (Gregory Isaacs), “Subterranean Homesick Blues” (Sizzla), “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carrol” (Michael Rose - Black Uhuru), “Just Like a Woman” (Beres Hammond) and “Gotta Serve Somebody” (up-and-coming Reggae sensation Nasio).

 "As a major fan of both Bob Dylan and Bob Marley, I believe this record really addresses the commonality between their audiences; Dylan was a voice of the oppressed in the 1960s just as Bob Marley was a voice of the oppressed in 1970s, " says Himelfarb.

The album's title, a reference to a bit of studio chatter captured on Dylan's 'Nashville Skyline' album, is also an allusion to these two prodigiously influential Bobs. 

In the record's liner notes, reggae expert Roger Steffens outlines Bob Dylan's relationship to Bob Marley and his influence on contemporary reggae musicians. According to Steffens, "Jamaica was into Bob Dylan and Bob Dylan was into Jamaica as well… It should come as no surprise that, given the opportunity to salute one of the worlds most profound and poetic composers, the heirs of Bob Marley should leap at the chance… They have joined the sultry, soulful sound of their sun drenched island to the timeless lyrics of America's finest writer, renewing his vision and prophecies for the next generation."

• Includes the first authorized remix of a Dylan tune
• First 15,000 copies include a Limited Edition Dub Disc!
• Features the top names in reggae
• Extensive liner notes by leading reggae expert Roger Steffens
• Artwork and packaging designed by Dylan’s art director
• Lead press has run in Entertainment Weekly, USA Today, Billboard.com, MTV.com
• Upcoming press includes Paper, Tracks, Global Rhythm, CNN, Relix
• Gatefold heavyweight 180gram vinyl also includes a fourth side of Dub versions

Complete track listing

1.  The Times They Are A-Changin'     Apple Gabriel (Israel Vibration) 
2.  Maggie's Farm      Toots Hibbert
3.  Just Like A Woman Beres Hammond
4.  Lay, Lady, Lay   The Mighty Diamonds 
5.  Gotta Serve Somebody Nasio w/Drummie Zeb & The Razor Posse (featuring Incline)
6.  Knockin' on Heaven's Door Luciano
7.  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll Michael Rose (Black Uhuru)
8.  Subterranean Homesick Blues Sizzla
9.  Mr. Tambourine Man Gregory Isaacs
10.  Don't Think Twice, It's All Right JC Lodge
11.  One Too Many Mornings Abijah
12.  Blowin' in the Wind Don Carlos
13.  A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall  Billy Mystic (Mystic Revealers)
14.  I and I Reggae Mix  Bob Dylan

1.  Knockin' On Heaven's Door Dub
2.  One Too Many Mornings Dub
3.  Blowin' In The Wind Dub
4.  Lay, Lady, Lay Dub
5.  The Times They Are A-Changin' Dub
6.  The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll Dub
7.  A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall Dub
8.  I and I Dub


Credits all songs:
Drums: Sly Dunbar
Bass: Glen Brownie
Rhythm guitar: Steve Golding
Lead guitar: Earl “Chinna” Smith and Dwight Pinkney
Keyboards: Robbie Lyn
Percussion: Sky Juice
Saxophone: Dean Fraser
Harmonica: Lee Jaffe
Background vocals: Leba Hibbert and Genieve

“Gotta Serve Somebody”: 
Original tracks recorded at Reel to Reel Studio (Blacksburg, VA)
Thanks to Joe and Rick (engineers) and a special thanks to Nate
Drums: Drummie Zeb
Bass: Tony Garnier
Lead guitar: Ron Winters
Keyboards: O.J.
Guitar: Chuckie Youth and Earl “Chinna” Smith
Percussion: Sky Juice
Congas: Rico Raul
Synthesizer: Robbie Lyn.

“Maggie’s Farm”: 
Drums: Delcon “Jubba” White
Bass: Dale Brown
Keyboards: Courick Clarke
Percussion: Sky Juice
Lead guitar: Dwight Pinkney
Harmonica and hand drums: Toots Hibbert

“I And I”: 
Produced by Bob Dylan for “Wreck of the Old ’97 Productions” and Mark Knopfler for Chariscourt, Ltd.
Vocals & Guitar, Bob Dylan
Bass, Robbie Shakespeare
Drums, Sly Dunbar
Guitar, Mick Taylor
Guitar, Mark Knopfler
Keyboards, Alan Clark

Produced By Doctor Dread
Toots Hibbert appears courtesy of V2 Entertainment.
Luciano and Beres Hammond appear courtesy of VP Records.
Bob Dylan appears courtesy of Columbia Records

All tracks recorded at Anchor Studio Kingston , Jamaica on June 3, 4 and 5, 2003 
except “Gotta Serve Somebody” and "I and I"

Gregory Isaacs and JC Lodge were voiced at Ariwa Studios London, England
Apple Gabriel, Don Carlos and Incline voiced at LION and FOX Studio, Washington DC.
Nasio voiced at Valhalla Sound Studio New York
Beres Hammond voiced at Harmony House Studio Kingston, Jamaica

Recording engineers: Fatta, Dr. Marshall, Nigel Burrell, Jim Fox, Derek Litchmore, Dwight “Fudgie” Dias, Tixie, Jim Gately, Greg Lidanyi

Mixed by Jim Fox and Doctor Dread at LION and FOX Recording Studio, USA.
Dubs mixed by Doctor Dread at LION and FOX
Mastered by Michael Caplan at LION and FOX

Art Direction by Geoff Gans (of Westchester)
Cover Painting by Eric White (a painter living in Brooklyn) Visit him at www.ewhite.com

Release Date August 10, 2004

www.rasrecords.com • www.sanctuaryrecordsgroup.com

© 2004 Sanctuary Records Group Inc. under exclusive license to Sanctuary Records Group Limited * P 2004 Sony Music Entertainment, Inc. Under License from The Sony Music Custom Marketing Group, a division of Sony Music, a Group of Sony Music Entertainment Inc. RAS Records, A Division of Sanctuary Records Group Ltd. Manufactured and Distributed in the United States by BMG Distribution, a unit of BMG Entertainment, 1540 Broadway, New York, NY 10036. BMG is a trademark of BMG Music. Unauthorized copying is against federal law. Sanctuary Records is a label of Sanctuary Records Group Ltd. Made in the USA.

Liner Notes by Roger Steffins

The Two Bobs. Bob Dylan and Bob Marley. The master poet and the master blaster. Two figures giant as a Colossus against whom all others are measured in the fields of American popular music and Jamaican reggae. Bob Dylan only saw Marley once, at the Roxy in L.A. in 1976, a ferocious small-club concert chosen by Rolling Stone as one of the top 25 live shows of all time. Although they never met fleshically, the admiration that  America’s true poet laureate felt for the king of reggae was unbounded. Each was a voice of his generation, unabashedly political forces who helped form the consciences of their people, creating anthems that spread like cyclones around the world. In September 1980 in Boston, author Stephen Davis asked Marley about Saved, Bob Dylan’s current album at that time, noting the album jacket’s Biblical citation: “Behold the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah.” “Yes, mon,” Marley answered, “I am interested in Bob Dylan. And that is a good verse too, a revelation, a link-up with Rasta, as Haile Selassie is the conquering lion of the house of Judah. And me like him song ‘You Got To Serve Somebody’ as well.” Hearing that many Bob Dylan fans were resentful of his two recent religious albums, Marley observed, “Well, me glad him do it too, yunno, because there come a time when an artist just can’t follow the crowd. I mean, if you are an artist like Bob Dylan, you got to mek the crowd follow you. I can tell ya that it mek no difference to Bob Dylan that dem might not like wha’ him do. Yunno? Seen? Him still do it. That is the most important thing. Him still do it! “Marley had been familiar with Bob Dylan’s music almost from the start. His group, the Wailers, had covered “Like A  Rolling Stone” in 1966, turning Dylan's snarl and sneer into a laid back Caribbean delivery that Davis characterized as “cool, silken and a bit spooky.” That artistically rich dichotomy between the American artist’s often gruffly cynical growl, and the reggae world’s more deceptively laid-back reinterpretations of foreign classics, is heartically reflected in this collection. Longtime Dylan fanatic and disc jockey, Doug “Midnight Dread”Wendt, hosted a radio show for years juxtaposing the works of both giants. A mix tape he compiled, “Two Bobs,” is an underground classic, filled with what he refers to as “pointing finger songs. Bob Dylan sang ‘the answer is blowing in the wind,’ and Marley sang ‘there’s a natural mystic blowing in the air.’ I think they’re talking about the muse, God; both were tapped deeply into it, which is why they both have produced such a wealth of material.  They’ve got the broad band connection!” Marley’s first record, back in 1963, was called Judge Not - “before you judge yourself,” a clear Biblical citation. Bob Dylan’s borrowing from the Bible is constant, particularly during his so-called Christian period, during which he recorded with Sly and Robbie, Jamaica’s “rhythm twins,” whose drums and bass have been heard on literally hundreds of Jamaican hits. In this collection, they can be heard more clearly than ever in producer Doctor Dread’s remixed version of “I and I.” Jamaica was into Bob Dylan and Bob Dylan was into Jamaica as well. Arthur Louis’s reggaefied version of “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” was lifted by Dylan in live performances, transforming it in the process into something even more powerful and propulsive. “I Shall Be Released” is arguably the most covered Bob Dylan song in Jamaica. Veteran music commentator Harvey Kubernik, author of “This Is Rebel Music,” observes that “the two singers are both straightforward and unafraid to take a stand, never afraid to be rebellious to achieve their artistic vision. Like Bob Dylan during his religious phase, and Marley with his unwavering stand in favor of the rights of the oppressed; both use their art to decry oppression. If people were angered, it was less important than their making a clear statement. Their artistic goals and aims were similar: don’t look back - forward ever, constantly moving ahead.” In fact, “Don’t Look Back” is the title of both a provocative early Bob Dylan documentary film as well as a 1966 Wailers’ cover song. “Bob Dylan has always been a champion of those who stood up for their rights and principles, and that is the very essence of what reggae music is all about as well. And it's interesting, too, that nearly all of Bob Dylan’s rhythms can be transposed into reggae with no problem. “So it should come as no surprise that, given the opportunity to salute one of the world’s most profound and poetic composers, the heirs of Bob Marley should leap at the chance. In the process, they have joined the sultry, soulful sound of their sundrenched island to the timeless lyrics of America’s finest writer, renewing his vision and prophecies for the next generation.

Apple Gabriel is a founding member of the reggae trio Israel Vibration, whose members met as youngsters in a polio rehabilitation clinic in Kingston. His version of “Times” is a passionate reminder of Bob Dylan’s admonition that “the order is rapidly fadin’...the first one now will later be last.” These lines recall those in Bob Marley’s “Cornerstone,” recasting the Bible's eternal wisdom that “the stone that the builder refuse will be the head cornerstone.”

Often called Jamaica’s Otis Redding, Toots Hibbert has been recording for almost 45 years, yet he still sounds as youthful and exuberant as a kid. A former slave plantation, Jamaica knows all too well the consequences and suffering that slavery brought about. A descendant of those torturous times,Toots gives a rebellious reading to the song - Bob Dylan’s refusal to work any longer for what Marley's old partner, the firebrand Peter Tosh, called “the shitstem.” This was the rampaging red flag that Dylan opened his notorious performance with at the Newport (Rhode Island) Folk Festival in 1965, upsetting many of his traditionalist fans by adding screaming electric guitars to his normally folk-flavored music.

Beginning as a soul singer in the early 1970s, Beres Hammond fell under reggae’s spell in the ‘80s and has become one of the grandest dancehall dons, singing of romance and heartache to three generations of his largely female following. His voice filled with regret, Hammond gives a tender reading to this break-up lament about a woman lost in her fog, her amphetamine and her pearls.

The Mighty Diamonds are reggae’s longest running harmony trio, a standard configuration in

Jamaican music that represents word, sound and power, the very breath of the Almighty. Or, in the Diamonds’ case, its members: the Judge, the Jester and the Prophet (which could also be said to describe the three sides of Bob Dylan’s character). Lead singer, Donald “Tabby” Shaw has an alluring vocal delivery, smooth as Jamaican rum, as he wraps his chords around this romantic plea not to let the moment pass you by, underscoring Bob Dylan’s buoyant optimism that “you can have your cake and eat it too.”

Nasio Fontaine is one of roots reggae’s brightest hopes, a young singer from the eastern Caribbean island of Dominica, who carries a deep Marley vibe. In reggae, the bass is the lead instrument, marrying melody to rhythm, and on this version, Bob Dylan’s brilliant bassist of the past fifteen years, Tony Garnier, is featured. He compares the effects of Bob Dylan, who changed the way America rocked, to the way Marley affected reggae and brought a whole different way of looking at life. The way he plays on “Time Out Of Mind” has definitely been influenced by listening to Marley’s bass player, Aston “Family Man” Barrett. He also admits to being deeply moved by ska, the early ‘60s double-time predecessor to reggae, and especially the inspired trombone chops of Don Drummond. Incline’s rap reiterates the connection to Rasta: “King Selassie I represent Rasta/...have some respect, man, for mother nature.”

Modern roots music’s most respected exponent, Luciano, is a natural inheritor of Bob Marley’s prophetic mantle, although he chooses to go by the characteristically humble sobriquet, “The Messenger.” Here “heaven” is transposed to “Zion,” which is where the Rasta believes unity with Jah will be obtained, and it's right here on earth. As Marley sang, “If you know what life is worth/you will look for yours on earth/we know and we understand/almighty God is a living man.” And that man was seen as Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia, the Jah of the Rasta faith.

Michael Rose is the once and future lead singer of Black Uhuru, reggae’s first Grammy-winning trio. His shivery interpretation lends added drama to the song’s tale of one set of rules for the common man, and another for the rich. For Jamaicans, this echo of slave master intolerance and casual murder has rung true throughout their island’s four hundred year history of slavery. It’s the story of a black woman “lay slain by a cane” of a wealthy Maryland tobacco farm mogul who received an appallingly light six-month sentence for his lethal deed.

Versatile singer and rapper, current Jamaican superstar Sizzla has recorded over 500 of his own compositions, but this is his first ever cover. “Got to know yourself, it’s a burning fire” he ad libs in his opening. Later he sings: “Jump down a manhole/ light yourself a fire torch,” recalling the recent “fire burn” craze in Jamaica, a cry for purification. “Jah knows when,” he says, using the Rastafarian name for God, Jahovah. “Mixin’ up the medicine” suggested the hated amphetamine drug to Sizzla, so he altered the lyric to reflect the Rasta sacrament, marijuana, which brings I-nity with the Creator, ending the tune with “and for those in the basement, marijuana’s the medicine.”

Gregory Isaacs, a modern day Mr. Bojangles, has been intimately familiar with the allegorical messages of “Mr. Tambourine Man.” His bedroom vocals are perfectly suited to this dizzying hallucinogenic revelation, chasin’ shadows and casting dancing spells our way. Isaacs has recorded more than 400 songs in his three decades’ long career, most notably “Night Nurse,” a thinly veiled reference to a popular English medicine.

When the lithe Jamaican songstress JC Lodge first heard “Don’t Think Twice,” she marveled that “this song brought me to tears. I never knew Bob Dylan was such a great writer.” Like Marley’s avowal that “everything’s gonna be all right” in the face of adversity, she’s hurt but maintaining a brave front. 11. ONE TOO MANY MORNINGS The gentle voiced roots newcomer Abijah opens with “a sweet reggae song” sung in a warm and vibratto-less voice that has already earned the youthman a coterie of fans back home in Jamaica.

A co-founder of Black Uhuru, Jamaican Don Carlos is one of reggae’s biggest stars in Africa, where his fans have filled stadiums to hear him sing. He has always advocated equality in his thoughtful music, and for him this song was a most appropriate vehicle to carry those thoughts across in a rootical way. “How many times must the cannon balls fly/before they’re forever banned” recalls Marley’s musical casting of Emperor Selassie’s words in 1963 to the United Nations in “War”: “Until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior...until the color of a man’s skin is of no more significance than the color of his eyes/everywhere is war!”

Mystic Revealer frontman Billy Mystic, known to all Jamaicans as CC, from the TV soap opera in which he stars, has a sophistication that enables him to transform a song with lyrics as deep as these into one that is both immediate and contemplative. It is among the bleakest of Bob Dylan's musings, as urgent now as it ever was. Lines like “...saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children” could be about African or Haitian uprisings in 2004; just as “heard the roar of a wave that could drown the whole world” resonates with the roaring shriek of the airliners flown into the Twin Towers in New York.

This remix of one of Bob Dylan’s recordings with Jamaica’s most prominent rhythm section, Sly & Robbie, brought great joy to producer Doctor Dread, and his gratitude is evident. “After more than 20 years of producing and mixing, to be able to morph these tracks into a new creation, it’s rare that a Bob Dylan remix has been sanctioned, it’s like when Michelangelo worked on the Sistine Chapel. What an amazing opportunity!” Recalling the “I And I” session, peerless drummer Sly Dunbar, one half of the Rhythm Twins Sly & Robbie, called it, “one of the greatest things that ever happened to us. We’d been listening to Bob Dylan since ‘Like A Rolling Stone’ in the ‘60s, and it was one of the easiest and most enjoyable sessions I've ever worked on. He just played it for us, and we started playing along in the groove, and that was it. He did the song in three different keys to see which one he liked best. It was an honor to play for him. He bring us to different levels, a real ‘Hall of Fame’ event. He took us right there.” I and I refers to the Rasta way of looking at the world, with the wisdom, knowledge and understanding that all of us are one. “You” indicates separation, and that is a false illusion from the dawn of time (or “I-ration”). So instead of “you and I” it is in truth, “I and I,” because the Rasta is talking to himself, or to the greater “I And I,” who is Jah, and Jah in I.We are all One God, manifesting. Bob Dylan mused of the woman about whom the song is written: “In another lifetime she must have owned the world, or been faithfully wed/To some righteous king who wrote psalms beside moonlit streams.” King David? Or perhaps, Bob Dylan himself?

Dub is a Jamaican invention from the late 1960s, born from the efforts of a ground-breaking engineer named King Tubby, who mixed “dub plates”, private recordings for producers who owned mobile sound systems. Tubby began to experiment by dropping out most of the instruments and adding sonic effects ranging from echoes to infinite word repetitions. Others picked up on the style quickly, most notably Lee “Scratch” Perry, who created minimalist, spaced-out dub mixes of dozens of songs for Bob Marley and the Wailers in 1970-71 at his Black Ark Studio. Almost immediately, the djs at sound system dances used these dubs for musical beds for “toasting," or what is today known as rap. Making dubs or “versions” of reggae songs has now become a staple in the reggae livit. (We don’t like to deal with “diet” as it refers to death). So whenever engineer Jim Fox and Doctor Dread are making the final mix for a recording, a dub version is always created where the engineer and producer are actually manipulating the individual tracks on the mixing console by adding effects and removing and adding tracks as the mood strikes them. These dubs took on a whole new life as they grew from the vocal mix to spacey excursions into a realm of aural stimulation. The rare opportunity to remix a Bob Dylan song into dub was an experience of a lifetime. “To hear Bob’s voice echo into oblivion (and beyond) as the distinctive guitar sound of Mark Knopfler was taking you off in another direction, and as Sly and Robbie pounded out the heavy reggae rhythm, was the perfect formula for the first ever Bob Dylan dub experience,” comments producer Doctor Dread. And when Dread shared his results with the reggae music fraternity in Jamaica, they were astounded. Sly Dunbar expressed it best. “Doctor Dread really did a great job on this.We have now baptized Bob Dylan in dub.” So we share with you these dub experiments hoping you can rediscover these tracks with some new magic added to the mix. Put on your seatbelt and prepare for the ride. A final note about the album’s title. Bob Dylan’s query to his producer, Bob Johnston, “Is it rolling, Bob?” was used as the opening for his 1969 country album Nashville Skyline, and has become a wryly ubiquitous studio cue. - Roger Steffens

Roger Steffens is the founding editor of The Beat magazine, a bimonthly of world beat and reggae. He lectures worldwide on "The Life of Bob Marley" and is author or co-author of four books on the reggae legend. He can be reached at rasrojah@aol.com."


Big up and special thanks to: 
Jeff Rosen (could not have done this without your gracious help and support). Special thanks to: Roger Steffens: a friend and brother, Geoff Gans: good vibes, I am glad I got to know you, Eric White: You got it going on, big time, Jim Fox: You are always there, 100%. John Simson: you, not Ali, are the greatest.You use your powers for good and not evil.The Sanctuary Crew (Mike, Bas, Mike, Alana, Lenore, Chris, Meredith, Hedyeh, Pierce, Kate, Donna, Frank and everyone else there): You made this dream come true, The RAS crew (Derrick, Liz, Nicole and Benita); Thanks for believing in me, Mad Professor: You’re way cool, everytime, Tony Garnier: an honor to have you involved, Lee Jaffe: blowin’ on your harp, all musicians, singers and players of instruments: be praised. My family Deb, Eric and Ian for indulging me in my indulgences. And a very very special thanks to Bob Dylan for creating these amazing songs and for the mark you have made on humanity and my life. Jah guide and protect you.
-Doctor Dread



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