There's no doubt that King Tubby was the dub master. He started the whole subgenre, and while others took it to places he hadn't imagined, his own take was quite electrifying, most especially his early, most experimental work. Although it's never clarified in the sleeve notes, this seems to be somewhat later (given the fact that the music is played by the Aggrovators and Sly & Robbie), and while some tracks, such as "Do the Dub Skank," sparkle, a lot seem somewhat by-the-numbers, heavy on the echo but a little low on the creativity. For all that it's not his best inventive work, it's still perfectly listenable; it simply doesn't capture and demand attention the way his best work does, jumping out of the speakers the way it did when brand new. At some point someone will put together the definitive King Tubby anthology, and maybe a couple of these tracks will make the cut. Until then, gather what you can -- none of it's bad, just different grades of good.
The Originator Review
by Chris Nickson