King Tubby

Dub Gone 2 Crazy

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Of all the numerous repackagings and compilations of music made by dubmaster Osbourne Ruddock -- better known as King Tubby -- these volumes issued by Blood and Fire Records may be the best. Originally surfacing in 1996, Dub Gone 2 Crazy was a companion piece to the equally electric 1994 collection Dub Gone Crazy. Culled mostly from wild mid-'70s remixes of tracks by rocksteady champs like Johnny Clark and Delroy Wilson, the 14 versions here sum up the best calling card studio techniques of Tubby and his protege Lloyd "Prince Jammy" James. Remarkable control and complete abandon meet on some strange psychedelic middle ground here, with hypnotic skeletal rhythms being adorned by scattershot tape delay echoes, vocal fragments, and oddball sound effects of machine gun fire or flying saucer blips. Almost every track is a winner, with enormous standouts in the earthy, lo-fi reverb bath of "A Stalawatt Version," the menacing approach and flange-heavy production of "The Poor Barber," and the previously unheard dub template "King Tubby's in Fine Style," a mesh of clattering electronics and blissed-out bass grooves. All the tracks were lovingly curated by the Blood and Fire team, collected from regional runs of Jamaican singles, many of which had a tenuous-at-best relationship with distribution. Presented here with a seamless flow and painstaking attention to stylistic detail, Dub Gone 2 Crazy trumps its slightly more buttoned-up predecessor in terms of excitement and quality, though both are excellent. The entire collection comes across effortlessly like a dub textbook, serving as a perfect introduction to anyone newly curious to dive into Tubby and Jammy's bottomless body of work as well as an evergreen favorite for those already familiar. As far as a certain sect of '70s dub goes, it doesn't get much better than this.

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