'Arabian dub' - Ali Baba Riddim (John Holt Treasure Isle Records)

To get a sense of the dub aesthetic consider this rare track, date unknown (though it'd have to be from the 70s) ...

There's something really special about this version, King Tubby released 'Hijack the Barber' in 1974 that while lovely is more conventional, compared to this total elemental breakdown.

Listen especially from about 1 minute 50 where the echo becomes more pronounced and in the background you can hear a series of super-delicate sounds, tickling computer sounds that go nowhere (perhaps when listening to this you can see why those hip-hop instrumentals impressed me so much because they mine a similar territory). 

Compare it then with the upbeat rendition from 1969 (some sources say 1970) by John Holt. 

Or the 1975 Jackie Edwards' version. When trying to find some information about 'Arabian Dub' Ali Baba Riddim, I came across a like-minded soul - Guarin Tees - who wrote an article in 2012 for Louder than War ...

Sound systems would play out all the tunes & it became fashionable for DJ€™s to €˜toast€™ over the B-side. Usually this would be freestyle vocal improvisation, sometimes about social issues, sometimes political & sometimes about how good it would be for a member of the opposite sex to have €˜fun€™ with him – ya know, the sort of stuff that has become common-place in rap.

To gain a bigger crowd over rivals, sound systems would get producers to produce one off mixes and press them on to acetate – then , if the tune was good enough, they would have the €˜boss€™ tune and gain the crowd.

To make the instrumental b-sides more interesting, engineers like King Tubby, Philip Smart, Lee Perry, etc., would de-construct the track and re-build it with various effects; like echo, phasing & bringing in part of the vocal etc, but the focus was always on the drums and the bass, lots of bass!

Tees then goes on to detail the later versions (including the King Tubby) that changed the title to 'barber' as a way for 'Dreads to express their anger at Barbers (Baba => Barber, neat huh?)'. He particularly appreciates the track by Dr Alimantado (gunshots included).