WHEN he began recording his debut album three years ago, singer Dubkor's main goal was a return to the drum-and-bass roots sound that inspired him as a youth.
Last week, he launched Rastaman Riding at the Redbones Blues Café in St Andrew. The 13-song album was completed one year ago but Dubkor says he sought the assistance of a master to fine-tune the set.
"Mi did love it but to tell the truth something was missing. So, wi got Errol Brown an' him bring in some bredrin an' put some more fire inna the thing," Dubkor told the Jamaica Observer.
A nephew of legendary producer Arthur 'Duke' Reid, Brown is one of Jamaica's great studio engineers. He was an understudy at his uncle's Treasure Isle studio during the 1960s and also worked with producer Sonia Pottinger and at Tuff Gong.
According to Dubkor, Brown broadened Rastaman Riding's feel with the addition of horns to five songs including Little Love Story and Same Routine. The former was recorded in 2011 and is one of the numbers earmarked to be released as a single.
Much is also expected for Gideon and Defend The Ends. Videos have already been produced for both songs which underline Dubkor's commitment to Rastafari and roots-reggae.
Defend The Ends was filmed in Sherlock Crescent, the crime-prone Kingston community where Dubkor was raised. He was born Colin Llewyllyn into a middle-class family whose musical tastes leaned toward the classics.
A classically-trained pianist, Dubkor appreciated those Euro-centric tones but the strains of Bach and Beethoven took a backseat to the Afro-conscious message of Marley, Dennis Brown and Burning Spear whom he discovered in his teens.
His first song, Rastaman Riding, was self-produced and released by PikkiHead Records, the label he started in 1997 with Goff Andrews who plays bass in PikkiHead, Dubkor's band.
Andrews also played on Rastaman Riding the album along with guitarist George Hewitt, keyboardists Franklin 'Bubbler' Waul and Odane Stephens and drummer Bernard Powell. Trombonist Everald Gayle and saxophonist Kenroy Bonfield were the hornmen recruited by Errol Brown to enhance the album's militant sound.
Dubkor says Rastaman Riding is a tribute to the artistes who influenced him. Spreading the message is his next assignment.
"For me this album is the completion of a mission. It's an accomplishment but wi looking for greater things now," he said.