It was spring, moonless night in the big city…actually, maybe it was summer. A demo tape arrived at Caught by the River towers. No stamp; hand-delivered in an envelope that opened with a rich fug. The clear signs of a well-lived life. Hand-stamped ‘Under Dubwood’, no other details. The sender clearly wished to remain anonymous. A mystery was already unfolding for us.
When played, the cassette opened a door onto another universe; one where Laugharne had been built in Treasure Bay and Richard Burton relaxed at the bar of Brown’s Hotel with no bigger question on his mind than “Brains SA or Red Stripe?” It conjured a place where King Tubby could ride the faders and bathe the words of Dylan Thomas in celestial, timeless dub; a place where two cultures clash to form a perfect whole. Three minutes, fifty-five seconds later, we were in love.
Time passes. Under Dubwood still casts a hypnotic spell. It continues to beguile all who hear its Studio One siren call, Negril meets Neath, the unofficial Caught by the River anthem.
We never did find out who made it.
Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus.