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.

Dub In The Right Way

I’ve been digging Dreadzone recently. Their dub inspired techno hits the spot, uplifting and righteous. Greg Dread has a Soundcloud page that is worth rooting around in, all sorts of rarities, versions, remixes and live shows. Here’s a couple of highlights.

Dreadzone versus King Tubby

A vocal version of their 90s classic Little Britain featuring Earl 16. The instrumental version of this song was all over the place at one point and has some cultural resonance today in the light of the referendum and the issue of devolution for the regions. It’s strange to think that Dreadzone supported the Gallagher brothers at Knebworth.

 

Satta Dub

I’ve been listening to King Tubby quite a bit this week. His dub productions are so far out there, space and sound manipulated and played around with but very precise too. His 1976 class King Tubbys Meets Rockers Uptown, done with another gentle soul Augustus Pablo, is the Tubby album to go for and needs to be listened to as a whole really but this track, the album’s closer, is doing all the right things for me at the moment.

Satta Dub

Bottom Dub

I was listening to this in the car at the weekend- The Legendary Skatalites In Dub, wherein The Skatalites get mucked about with by King Tubby. The car isn’t the ideal place to listen to dub, too much of the subtlety and the bass gets lost, but it was a lovely day and it sounded really good. This track in particular, with it’s beautiful bassline, was superb.

Bottom Dub

Bag A Wire

I was listening to the radio while on holiday last week (through the telly no less) and the disc jockey played Bag A Wire Dub by King Tubby. It was one of those real ‘stop what you’re doing and just listen’ moments. King Tubby’s dub is such strange music and appears to have so little in common with anything that came before it- this one has some chanting about Marcus Garvey, deep bass bubbling up and down, horns coming and going, lots of echo, rim shots. Fluid and free form from Jamaica in 1976. Otherworldly.

Bag A Wire Dub

It might be worth pointing out that the disc jockey who played it was Huey (formerly of Fun Loving Criminals) who often comes across as a bit of a knob but, fair play to him, he played some good tunes that particular afternoon.