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Monday, 19 December 2016

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!: Day 354 - King Tubby

A Declaration of Dub - King Tubby
Not Bad Records
Released 2014


When it comes to Dub Music the first person to whom one must turn is King Tubby. He was the innovator, even in its most basic form he was doing it as far back as the late 60s. His elevation from Sound Engineer to in demand Producer began in the humble confines of his electrical repair shop on Drumalie Avenue, Kingston. It was there that besides the repairing of TV's  and Radio's that he began building large amplifiers for local Sound Systems. In 1961-62 he had built his own radio transmitter and had begun a Pirate Radio station that shut down once he heard the Police were out to find who was running it. In 1968 he began his own Sound System, Tubby's Hometown Hi-Fi and soon became a crowd favourite due to his use of echo and reverb sound effects, which was quite a novelty for those days!

Working alongside Duke Reid, who was one of the most important Producers in Kingston along with Clement "Coxsone" Dodd, Tubby had the opportunity to remix"Versions" (which were usually the instrumental B-Sides of singles) for Sound System MC's and these were very successful and led Tubby to open his own Studio in 1971.

Tubby built on his considerable knowledge of electronics to repair, adapt and design his own studio equipment, which made use of a combination of old devices and new technologies to produce a studio capable of the precise, atmospheric sounds which would become Tubby's trademark. With a variety of effects units connected to his mixer, Tubby "played" the mixing desk like an instrument, bringing instruments and vocals in and out of the mix (literally "dubbing" them) to create an entirely new genre known as dub music.

His name appears on hundreds of records as he did work for the likes of Bunny Lee, Lee Perry and Augustus Pablo, to name but a few. One of his projects with Augustus Pablo, King Tubby Meets The Rockers Uptown released in 1974 is considered by many to be one of the finest Dub albums ever!

In the Eighties he took to mentoring up and coming talent like King Jammy and Scientist (Hopeton Brown), expanding his Waterhouse Studio and focusing on his labels Firehouse, Waterhouse, Kingston 11, and Taurus, which released his productions of Anthony Red Rose, Sugar Minott, Conroy Smith, King Everald and other popular musicians.

In February 1989 he was returning from a session at his Waterhouse Studio and was shot and killed outside his home in Kingston.

Since then there have been many compilations on various labels bearing the name King Tubby. The one above was a bit of a new one to me. It's a UK release on an offshoot of Not Now Music, who specialise in these kind of archive Sets (they have also released sets of the music of Laurel Aitken, Derrick Morgan, John Holt, Max Romeo, Horace Andy and Byron Lee).

There are loads of King Tubby albums in full up on You Tube. You should check them out. Here's another that's worth a listen:

  King Tubby's Hometown Hi-Fi (Dubplate Specials 1975-1979) - King Tubby
Jamaican Recordings
Released 2013

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!
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