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Sly & Robbie

Drummer Sly Dunbar and bassist Robbie Shakespeare are not only reggae's definitive rhythm section and production team, but they've worked with every major artist in Jamaica, from Jimmy Cliff, Culture and Peter Tosh to U-Roy, Grace Jones and Beenie Man. Internationally, the pair has provided the crucial bottom end for Serge Gainsbourg, Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones. And if you think that's a lot of name-dropping, it's barely scratching the surface. Brought together in 1975 as teenage session men by producer JoJo Hoo Kim (Dunbar kept time for Lee Perry's studio outfit, the Upsetters, while Shakespeare cut his teeth with Bunny Lee's house band, the Aggrevators), the Kingston-bred Riddim Twins can boast close to 200,000 tracks -- not counting remixes, versions or dubs. It's a Jah-dropping achievement -- especially considering that a pop song in Jamaica often takes as long to cut as it does to play. Still prolific in 2004 (the pair has already shared sacramental reunion spliffs with Black Uhuru and the Mad Professor), Sly & Robbie seem unstoppable on their continuing quest to rid the world of bald heads and Babylon.
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John La Briola

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