Don Letts meets Late Night Tales for Version Excursion

Don is integral to Britain’s musical landscape and a name that should be part of every household. This new compilation, put together with Late Night Tales who he’s wanted to work with for years, sees him select some key reggae cover versions in on 180g vinyl and, of course, digital bits.


You can have an early listen to a track from the album here – it’s a Big Audio Dynamite track by Gaudi Meets The Rebel Dread, featuring Emily Capell on vocals.


“The original of this was Big Audio Dynamite’s biggest chart hit back in 1986. Formed out of The Clash, I’d joined B.A.D but famously couldn’t play anything. Because of that, I threw myself into the whole dialogue and sample thing although I quickly realised you don’t get paid for stealing other people’s shit. So I threw myself into lyric writing and E=MC2 was one of the first songs Mick and I wrote together. It was actually DJ/musician/producer extraordinaire Gaudi that thought of dubbing it up. To complete the cast I called up new girl on the block Emily Capell, a young singer songwriter from north-west London, and boom….. .” 

The tracklisting is immense:

1. Ghetto Priest – ‘Hercules’ (North Street West ‘Late Night Tales’ Dub) (Exclusive remix) – Originally recorded by Aaron Neville
2. Prince Fatty & Shniece McMenamin – ‘Black Rabbit’ – Originally recorded by Jefferson Airplane
3. Wrongtom Meets The Rockers – ‘Dub In The Supermarket’ (Exclusive remix) – Originally recorded by The Clash
4. Gaudi Meets The Rebel Dread ft. Emily Capell – ‘E = MC2’ (Exclusive track) – Originally recorded by Big Audio Dynamite
5. Rude Boy – ‘Superstylin’’ (Exclusive remix) – Originally recorded by Groove Armada
6. Capitol 1212 ft. Earl 16 – ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ (Full Vocal Dub) (Exclusive remix) – Originally recorded by Joy Division
7. Quantic Presenta Flowering Inferno – ‘All I Do Is Think About You’ (Far East Dub) (Exclusive remix) – Originally recorded by Tammi Terrell
8. Zoe Devlin Love ft. Tim Hutton – ‘Caroline No’ – Originally recorded by The Beach Boys
9. John Holt – ‘You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine’ (Mad Professor 2021 Dub) (Exclusive remix) – Originally recorded by Lou Rawls
10. Cornell Campbell – ‘Ital City Dub’ (Exclusive remix) – Originally recorded by Marvin Gaye
11. Matumbi – ‘(I Can’t Get Enough Of) That Reggae Stuff’ – (Dennis Bovell Remix) (Exclusive remix) – Originally recorded by Kool & The Gang
12. Gentleman’s Dub Club ft. Kiko Bun – ‘Use Me’ (Ben McKone Dub) – Originally recorded by Bill Withers
13. Black Box Recorder – ‘Uptown Top Ranking’ – Originally recorded by Althea and Donna
14. OBF – ‘Sixteen Tons of Dub’ – Originally recorded by Merle Travis
15. Yasushi Ide – ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’ (Space Dub Mix) (Exclusive remix) – Originally recorded by Bill Withers
16. The Tamlins – ‘Baltimore’ – Originally recorded by Randy Newman
17. 15 16 17 – ‘Emotion’ (Dennis Bovell Remix) (Exclusive remix) – Originally recorded by Samantha Sang
18. Ash Walker – ‘There’s Nothing Like This’ (Exclusive track) – Originally recorded by Omar
19. The Senior Allstars – ‘Slipping Into Darkness’ – Originally recorded by WAR
20. Easy Star All-Stars – ‘Within You Without You’ – Originally recorded by The Beatles
21. Khruangbin – ‘Dern Kala’ (Khruangbin Dub Mix)

A disciple of sound system, raised on reggae n’ bass culture my go to sound was dub. Besides being spacious and sonically adventurous at the same time, its most appealing aspect was the space it left to put yourself ‘in the mix’ underpinned by Jamaica’s gift to the world – bass. But that’s only half the story as the duality of my existence meant I was also checking what the Caucasian crew were up to not to mention the explosion of black music coming in from the States. That’s why this version excursion crosses time space and genre, from The Beach Boys to The Beatles, Nina Simone to Marvin Gaye, The Bee Gees to Kool & The Gang, The Clash to Joy Division and beyond. You’d think it impossible to draw a line between ‘em but not in my world. Fortunately, the ‘cover version’ has played an integral part in the evolution of Jamaican music and dub covers were just a natural extension.

Truth be told I’ve wanted to work with the Late Night Tales crew from the get go. We’re talking nearly two decades such was the allure of their musical aesthetic typified by curators like Nightmares on Wax, The Flaming Lips, MGMT, Trentemoller, Khruangbin and countless others. Now being as old as rock n’ roll (born in ‘56) and having nearly 20 years of Culture Clash Radio under my belt I figured I was tooled up to musically juggle with the best of ‘em. But I wanted to carve out a space that was distinctly my own – something that reflected my musical journey and the culture clash that’s made me the man I am today.


Agent J aka Jamie Groovement: writer, host, DJ and teacher. @jamiegroovement