Kimble

Today involves all manner of Christmas stuff. But first, to ease the pain, some dub. The Legendary Skatalites In Dub is exactly that- the horns of ska with the dub basslines and rhythms of King Tubby. This one is a perfect example and why you should get a copy of this album if you don’t have one already.

Kimble Dub

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The Champion Version

If you ever need to explain to someone what dub is and why there are times when you should fall to your knees and hail King Tubby as a supreme musical producer and explorer, play them this. And then the rest of the Blood And Fire compilation Dub Gone Crazy- The Evolution Of Dub At King Tubby’s 1975-1979. And then they’ll know.

The Champion Version

Dub You Can Feel

From cosmische yesterday to dub today. There are a bewildering number of King Tubby albums and tracks, some on what look like iffy labels in poorly printed sleeves/cd cases. You can’t go wrong with the two definitive dub albums Tubby made in the mid 70s, The Roots Of Dub and Dub From The Roots, both made with Bunny Lee. The titles are often brilliantly self explanatory as well- Dub You Can Feel, A First Class Dub, Rocking Dub, The Immortal Dub. The sounds and experimentation in those records never fail to move and inspire and (like Neu!’s music), it never sounds old or dated either.

What colour is dub? Dub is green.

Dub You Can Feel

Rocking Dub

King Tubby cutting straight to the chase in naming this one, a rocking dub. Quite unsettling at first then getting into its offbeat swing, cymbals flying and all sorts.

Rocking Dub

A First Class Dub

There’s something about dub and Sunday mornings for me. King Tubby’s 1974 release King Tubby Presents The Roots Of Dub is as good a place as any, although the follow up (Dub From The Roots) and the Augustus Pablo album King Tubby Meets Rockers Uptown run it close. The sleeve layout and the typography will be familiar to Beta Band fans. This one has the characteristic flying cymbal sound, some phased guitar, piano dropping in and out and one of those basslines that I love so much.

A First Class Dub

Dub Station

If you ever see an affordable copy of King Tubby Meets the Aggrovators At Dub Station on cd or vinyl buy it and then give me a call. I’ve been after it for some time. Recorded in 1975 (and reissued on cd in 2007 and currently out of print) it is a superb dub reggae album. The cd reissue is currently priced on Discogs at getting towards £45. A vinyl copy on Amazon marketplace is being offered at £134.00. Yup. So if you chance upon a copy in a charity shop, car boot sale or second hand shop that doesn’t check Discogs, buy it. You won’t regret it and it may just become a handy nestegg. Not that you’d want to sell it.

A Youtube uploader has handily put the whole album up and the bonus disc of another twelve songs. Bunny Lee (on the phone above) assembled The Aggrovators as the house band at his studio an throughout the 70s and 80s they included the cream of Jamaica’s musicians. Jackie Mittoo, Sly and Robbie, Aston Barrett and countless others passed through the ranks. King Tubby was Bunny Lee’s go-to man for dub effects and this album showcases Tubby’s skills with tape manipulation, echo, sound effects and all manner of tricks. The band, particularly the rhythm section, are on fire throughout- bouncy and punchy on the faster tracks, spaced and stoned on the slower ones. Horns and woodwind provide fanfares and melody, riding above the stunning bass.

King Size

Eric Cantona turned forty nine a couple of days ago. He was, as far as we’re concerned in this part of the world, the King. In modern football terms, as they said about The Clash, Eric is the only footballer that mattered.

King Tubby’s productions are rightly the stuff of legend, the work of a man who re-shaped music. Ideally some of the dubs he cut in the 1970s should be listened to alongside the A-side, running together. This one from 1976 has the lead side of Johnny Clarke’s Don’t Trouble Trouble and then at 3.27 Tubby’s Ruffer Version from the flip. Phased horns, machine gun fire, underwater sounds, sirens, the odd snatch of vocal and the sublime bass of The Aggrovators original rhythm track.