King Tubby

Dub Gone Crazy: The Evolution of Dub at King Tubby's 1975-1977

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King Tubby is rightfully recognized as one third of dub reggae's holy trinity, sharing the platform with Augustus Pablo and Lee "Scratch" Perry. This collection from England's faultless Blood & Fire is the perfect introduction to his resounding legacy. Three of Tubby's classic dubs are included ("Satta Dread Dub," "Real Gone Crazy Dub," and "Dub Fi Gwan") alongside 11 contributions from his sonic students Prince Phillip, Scientist, and Prince Jammy. The quartet of mixers strip producer Bunny Lee's rhythms (as played by Tubby's Aggrovators) down to exquisitely embellished drum-and-bass skeletons. The range of tones Tubby and company coax with the mixing board transforms the drums into a melodic instrument, soloing against the heavy bass backdrop. Working the dials, the kit seems to slip, splash, sizzle, crackle, and pop, all the while maintaining the music's foundation. Indeed, as the liner notes point out, Tubby typically mixed his dubs live, turning out a distinct creation each time. This insight, adding a jazz-like element of improvisation to the music, sheds further light on dub's staggering studio innovations. Each of Tubby's contributions is exceptional, the biggest treat being the wonderfully sparse closer, "Dub Fi Gwan." Tubby reduces Jackie Mittoo's keyboard work to a haunting backdrop, concentrating on the train-like rhythm which he rides to the set's conclusion. The high standards are more than maintained by the producer's pupils on Prince Phillip's excellent treatment of Leroy Smart's "Mr. Smart" ("Exalted Dub") and Prince Jammy's double take on the rhythm behind Barry Brown's "Natty Roots Man" ("Hold Them in Dub," "Jah Love Rockers Dub"). With subsequent generations of imitators baffled by dub's marvels, there remains no question that the products of Tubby's studio (along with Perry's and Pablo's) remain the place to start. Dub Gone Crazy is as fine an introduction as any.

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