This week sees the first release on Dug Out, a new reggae reissue label founded by Mark Ernestus and Mark Ainley.

Ernestus is founder of Berlin’s Hardwax record store and, along with Moritz Von Oswald, the man behind Basic Channel, Main Street, Maurizio and Rhythm & Sound. A renowned reggae enthusiast, he co-managed the recent Wackies reissue program, and the excellent Basic Replay series, and through Rhythm & Sound has collaborated with reggae legends like Sugar Minott, Paul St Hilaire and Cornel Campbell.

Ainley is co-owner of Honest Jon’s and another expert in the JA music field. He curated the majority of Soul Jazz’s Studio One series, as well Blood And Fire’s Darker Than Blue compilation. In addition to operating Honest Jon’s eponymous label, he has managed the fantastic PK and (with Ernestus) Basic Replay imprints.

Dug Out will be dedicated to high-quality vinyl reissues, with special focus on the digital era (though they will touch on roots and other reggae genres, and release CDs and downloads). Restoration will be done at Abbey Road Studio; mastering at Dubplates, by co-owner CGB; the records will be manufactured at Pallas.

The first Dug Out 12″ is King Kong’s ‘He Was A Friend’. “Originally released in 1988 as a tribute to Tenor Saw,” say the label, “This is the dancehall singer [pictured above] at his most powerful. His grieving, heartfelt vocal is woven through with the haunted quotation of his friend’s finest moments. The rhythm is driving, hard and sombre, with nervous, grubbing synths and ringing claps, and a lethal bass-line. Both vocals come with dubs…a stone classic.”

The record is available from Honest Jon’s and other good dub/reggae retailers.



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