The obscure Zion Hill Dub reissued

680After an excursion into easy-listening reggae UK reissue label Pressure Sounds is back in the comfort zone with an obscure and difficult release.

Zion Hill Dub by keyboardist and melodica player Bobby Kalphat and producer Phil Pratt has never had a full release until now and the original has only been available as a white label. Rare as hen’s teeth in other words.

The reissue comes with the original ten tracks that collected a series of Bobby Kalphat’s 7” and adding another seven bonus songs. All recorded at either Channel One, Dynamic, Randy’s or Lee Perry’s Black Ark in the mid 70’s.

It balances dub versions with pumping melodica and scorching keyboard lead instrumentals. A number of the originals are familiar, such as the Heptones’ Party Time, John Holt’s Strange Things, Horace Andy’s Money, Money, Dennis Brown’s What About the Half and Ken Boothe’s Artibella.

Bobby Kalphat is probably best known for his work with Phil Pratt, but prior to their relationship he played with Bobby Aitken’s Carib-Beats, Lynn Taitt & The Jets and Tommy McCook & The Supersonics. According to the excellent liner notes by Steve Barker, Bobby Kalphat also claims he started to arrange tunes with melodica as a lead instrument prior to Augustus Pablo’s big hit Java in 1971.

Since Zion Hill Dub was not properly released back in 1977 it didn’t have cover sleeve and this gave Pressure Sounds design agency free hands to complete a new one. I’m no graphic designer, but the sleeve is kind of odd and looks like a soft drink ad. Nothing wrong with that, but it doesn’t say anything about the moody, introvert and simmering music.

Zion Hill is now available on CD, double LP and digital download.

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