Tradition – ‘Captain Ganja and the Space Patrol’
“Out of the cosmic factor, between the years 1952 and 56 anno Domini / A combination of celestial forces collided with the spiritual powers of nature / to bring forth, tradition.” So begins the fateful adventures of Captain Ganja and the Space Patrol, undertaken by London-born reggae-dub troupe Tradition in 1980 — for all who thought that journey might have successfully concluded in the 1980s, we have the Bristol laboratories of Bokeh Versions to thank for a resumption, reissuing the album at the end of last month in collaboration with the band’s own Bass 1 imprint. The album and label are a significant pairing, a keystone in the whole arc of Bokeh’s interests. For those of us that value a whole range of dub, it’s also a sort of promise.
Mostly instrumental, Captain Ganja reportedly flew a bit under the radar, even if it the album’s backdrop is the far reaches. Atmospheric but too weird to seem slow or sedated, subtle washes and tone-play give most songs a bit of extra magic, juxtaposed beautifully with the band’s instrumentation to conjure a unique spin on the loungey, “space age jazz” palette. According to Bokeh, “one of their early 45s led the BBC to approach them about contributing to the Dr. Who soundtrack, Captial Radio did likewise for the Hulabaloo theme. Neither saw fruition and this facet of the band’s sound is easily forgotten [even] by diehard fans.” That vein through their recordings was apparently obscured in the early 80s, so we’re thrilled and grateful to Bokeh for their work giving it center stage — even if they can’t magically conjure an alternative dub soundtrack for Dr. Who, no matter how much I might wish (right guys?).