KINGSTON-BORN KING TUBBY, AKA Osbourne Ruddock, was mixing instrumental versions of reggae hits for producer Duke Reid in 1968 when he first began to see the new sonic possibilities that would ultimately bear fruit in dub.
An electrical engineer and repairman to Jamaica’s soundsystems in the ’50s and ’60s – he also ran his own Home Town Hi-Fi – he opened his Waterhouse studio in 1971 and got his first four-track recorder in 1972. He was not a producer as such – why so many of “his” records feature someone else getting the producer credit – but what he did with other peoples’ multitrack tapes, pioneering the remixer’s art by dropping voices and players in and out of tracks and revealing new aural dimensions via echo, reverb and phasing, stood as transformed, bass-forward works of their own.
But which of the recordings he lent his mixing and engineering expertise to do to you need? The acclaimed King Tubbys Meets Rockers Uptown with melodica man Augustus Pablo? How about the jazz-powered King Tubby Meets The Aggrovators At Dub Station, or Dub From The Roots? Quality compilations like Glen Brown’s Termination Dub 1973-1979? And who’s voting for 1976’s Moog-tastic King Tubby Meets Jacob Miller In A Tenement Yard, an album initially pressed in tiny quantities and then released in a blank sleeve with the wrong label? (While we’re at it, heard this David Rodigan Radio 1Xtra documentary?)
PHOTO: Adrian Boot