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King Tubby (1941 - 1989)

Related: reggae - sound system operator - dub

Worked with: Scientist (disciple) - Augustus Pablo - Lee Perry

King Tubby

King Tubby

Dub music had to come from somewhere, and the consensus is that it came from the mind and the 4-track mixing board of Osbourne Ruddock, known far and wide as King Tubby. Tubby began his career in the mid-'50s repairing radios and DJ sound systems. Near the end of the decade, Tubby went to work cutting and mixing records for Jamaican impresario and Treasure Isle label honcho Duke Reid, recording hit singles by popular singers such as the Melodians and Phyllis Dillon. It was while working with Reid that Tubby began what seemed to be a deceptively simple bit of experimentation: he would remix songs starting by dropping the vocal track, boosting parts of the instrumental track (e.g., suddenly there would be nothing but bass or rhythm guitar), and add subtle effects like echo or delay to the instruments he had isolated. -- John Dougan in an older version of allmusic.com

Today the remix and dub version are commonplace in popular music; less widely appreciated is the fact that these techniques were pioneered in a tiny studio a Kingston, Jamaica district called Waterhouse. That pioneer of dub was an electronics engineer and sound system operator named Osbourne Ruddock, but to the crowds who flocked to his dances, and the countless singers and record producers who utilised his skills, he was known as King Tubby. --Steve Barrow via the liner notes of Dub Gone Crazy

King Tubby designed the circuitry for Lee Perry's legendary Black Ark studio. King Tubby made dub versions of some of Perry's albums.

Biography

King Tubby (born Osbourne Ruddock, January 28, 1941 - February 6, 1989) is a Jamaican musician, known primarily for his influence on the development of dub in the 1960s. In the 1950s, King Tubby's musical career began with the sound systems, set up on the streets of Kingston and playing dance music for the people. As a radio repairman, Tubby soon became quite helpful at most of the sound systems around.

Tubby began working with Duke Reid in 1968. At Treasure Isle, a studio, Tubby began making remixes of hit songs, usually by simply removing the vocals. In time, Tubby (and others) began shifting the emphasis in the instrumentals, adding sounds and removing others and adding various special effects, like echoes. By 1971 , Tubby's soundsystem was one of the most popular in Kingston and he decided to open a studio of his own. His remixes soon proved enormously popular, and he became one of the biggest celebrities in Jamaica.

During the 1970s, Tubby's work in the studio gave rise to modern dub music. He had a long string of hit songs, and worked as a producer for some of Jamaica's most popular artists, including Lee Perry, Bunny Lee, Augustus Pablo and Yabby You. In 1973, he began recording voals to put along the instrumentals. By the later part of the decade though, King Tubby had mostly retired from music, still occasionally recording remixes and tutoring a new generation of artists, including King Jammy and Scientist.

In the 1980s, he focused on production for Anthony Red Rose, Sugar Minott and other popular musicians. He was shot and killed by unknown persons, probably in a robbery attempt, in 1989. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_Tubby, Apr 2004

Blackboard Jungle

It was around 1974 when Lee Perry issued his 'Blackboard Jungle' dub album on Upsetter. It is probably King Tubby's first dub album, although it was only a very limited pressing, and was quickly changing hands for 20.00 or more. The music included is all from the early 70's. and included dubs of the Wailers 'Kaya'. 'Keep On Moving' and 'Dreamland', Junior Byles 'Place Called Africa' and 'Fever', plus two cuts of the title track also known as 'Bucky Skank'.--By Dave Hendley & Ray Hurford [With thanks to Colin Moore], (C) Small Axe 1979 http://www.rayx.freeserve.co.uk/King%20Tubby.htm [Jun 2004]

King Tubby and Home Town HiFi

As a boy Osbourne Ruddock discovered his fascination wit h all things technical and, in particular, electronics. On leaving school, he took the first of his three courses in the subject. By 1962, he'd built his first amplifier, a 25 watt that sounded so good that friends began to urge him to start building a system for playing at dances. But young Osbourne resisted the temptation in favour of more hard graft to further his electronic studies.

It wasn't until the late sixties that he felt the urge to embark on building a sound system, but when he did he made sure that it was the biggest and best Jamaica had ever seen or heard. Osbourne Ruddock became King Tubby and Home Town HiFi became the most popular and revolutionary sound system of all time. The way Tubb's played influenced the music we listen to on record.

It was Tubby's that first began to run the basic rhythm tracks of popular tunes, the result being that 45's soon started to appear with a version on the flipside. When he tired of straight versions Tubby decided to introduce a DJ on the mike to skank the rhythm. His operator was named Ewart Beckford better known as the great U.Roy, the orginator of DJ music as we know it today. --By Dave Hendley & Ray Hurford [With thanks to Colin Moore], (C) Small Axe 1979 http://www.rayx.freeserve.co.uk/King%20Tubby.htm [Jun 2004]

Tube Man

Started his musical career as a audio and tv repairman in the late 1950's. The "Tubby" in his name stands for television"tube".

Disciples

  • Dancehall producer King Jammy's and his rival Scientist served their sonic apprenticeship with Tubby.

    Scientist and Prince Jammy

    Two of the most creative and prolific engineers of the late 1970s are Prince Jammy and Scientist, both apprentices of Tubby. Prince Jammy, otherwise named Lloyd James, would eventually go on to become one of the most successful producers during the dancehall era that Jamaica was soon to enter. He was a very successful mixing engineer as well, and mixed an incredible amount of dubs for Tubby in his studio. Using Tubbyís equipment, Jammyís dubs would have the characteristic sound of Tubbyís studio, but in a style of his own. Jammyís dubs were often more stripped down than Tubbyís, emphasizing the groove of the drum and bass, or the ìriddim.î As Jammy says:

    ìDub means raw riddim. Dub jusí mean raw music, nuttiní water-down. Version is like your creativeness off the riddim, without voice.î (Barrow and Dalton 1997 p. 202). --http://debate.uvm.edu/dreadlibrary/bush.html [Apr 2005]

    Shot

    In 1989 he was shot dead outside his home. The murderer has never been brought to justice

    CDs

  • Dub Gone Crazy: The Evolution of Dub at King Tubby's '75-'77 [Amazon US]
    1. Champion Version 2. Satta Dread Dub [Dub] 3. Real Gone Crazy Dub 4. Exalted Dub 5. Dreada Version 6. No Love Version 7. Peace and Love in the Dub 8. Wreck Up a Version 9. Hold Them in a Dub [*] 10. Jah Love Rockers Dub 11. Step It Up in Dub 12. Dub With a View [*] 13. Dub to the Rescue [*] 14. Dub Fi Gwan
    Perfect introduction to dub

    Dangerous Dub - Roots Radics, King Tubby

    Dangerous Dub - Roots Radics, King Tubby [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    This set shows Tubby and Jah Screw mixing Roots Radics rhythms in a stark, dry, bass-heavy style. Judicious use of echo and the most subtly mutating snare-reverb effects of any Tubby production necessitate a careful listen that rewards with mindblowing intensity. If you like your dub busy with garish effects, this might not be the set for you. But if you crave mashing bass and dub as a fine art, this is as good as it gets. --R. Squibbs (Joisey) via Amazon.com

    14 Dub Blackboard Jungle (1973) - Upsetters [Lee Perry, King Tubby]

    14 Dub Blackboard Jungle (1973) - Upsetters [Lee Perry, King Tubby] [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    "The second album from the new Auralux label is the benchmark Upsetters 14 Dub Blackboard Jungle, produced by Lee Perry and mixed by both King Tubby and Perry. Recorded in 1973, Blackboard Jungle was one of the first dub albums ever to be released and one of Perry's finest to date. Blackboard Jungle collects fourteen of the hardest Upsetter dubs from the early 70's, including Junior Byles 'Fever' and 'Place Called Africa', the Gatherers 'Words' ,The Hurricanes 'You Can Run', the Wailers 'Keep On Moving', 'Dreamland' and 'Kaya' and the Upsetter favourite 'Bucky Skank' all mixed in true stereo with definite channel separation where the rhythm track is in one channel and solo instruments or percussion drift in and out of the other. This record received only a 300 copy Jamaican pressing at the time, but has since been issued in various guises to differing levels of quality. As no tapes exist -- their whereabouts being the subject of much speculation -- Auralux acquired a mint copy of the original pressing which they dubbed and mastered for this release. In addition to the Blackboard Jungle album. Also included are four unreleased treasures from the Black Ark studio. Extensive sleeve notes written by David Katz, author of the Lee Perry biography." --via http://www.forcedexposure.com/labels/auralux.recordings.uk.html [Jul 2004]

    Dave Hendley's excellent and informative account of the rise of King Tubby and his studio took us to 1973. At that time, dub was still known mainly as version. It was around 1974 when Lee Perry issued his 'Blackboard Jungle' dub album on Upsetter. It is probably King Tubby's first dub album, although it was only a very limited pressing, and was quickly changing hands for 20.00 or more. The music included is all from the early 70's. and included dubs of the Wailers 'Kaya'. 'Keep On Moving' and 'Dreamland', Junior Byles 'Place Called Africa' and 'Fever', plus two cuts of the title track also known as 'Bucky Skank'.

    In 1981, Clocktower Records in the U.S. reissued the album minus three tracks. Even so, this twelve track set remains one of the all time great dub albums and it's in true stereo! The term 'Dub' came into common use when Bunny Lee introduced his 'Flying Cymbal' sound in 1974. A sound based on the 'Disco' style of many Black American records then. Virtually every tune Bunny produced at the time had a King Tubby dub mix on the B.Side (either from King Tubby himself or his first assistant 'Prince' Phillip Smart). People would buy a Bunny Lee production because they knew they would find a Tubby's mix on the B.Side KIng Tubby, mixing engineer, had become a star in his own right. --By Dave Hendley & Ray Hurford [With thanks to Colin Moore], (C) Small Axe 1979 http://www.rayx.freeserve.co.uk/King%20Tubby.htm [Jul 2004]

    "Cast your ears back thirty years ago to 1973 and revel in the sheer shock and the musical awe that is invoked by Upsetters 14 Dub Blackboard Jungle, a true piece of sonic innovation from the minds of hands of Lee 'Scratch' Perry. David Katz, 2004.

    As the boss of Auralux, the UK label behind this re-issue of what's considered by most reggae afficionadoes as the definitive dub album of all time, David Katz could be expected to splash the hyperbole, though for dub fans he's certainly justified. Because ever since it came out in 1973 Blackboard Jungle has been hailed as one of reggae and Scratch's key defining moments and 31 years later, it's still true.

    Upsetters 14 Dub Blackboard Jungle, however, is a new version, or rather the definitive original version, dubbed and remastered from a mint condition copy of the original pressing (of which just 300 were made in total).

    As well as all the tracks on the original album, the new CD includes four unreleased recordings from the era and is a fine example of minimal sparse old skool reggae. --http://www.freshdisko.com/review/music/1088034153.php [Jul 2004]

    01. Black Panta 02. Black Panta Rock (version) 03. Khasha Macka 04. Elephant Rock

    Side 2 01. African Skank 02. Dreamland Skank 03. Jungle Jim 04. Drum Rock 05. Dub Organizer

    Side 3 01. Lovers Skank 02. Mooving Skank 03. Apeman Skank 04. Jungle Skank 05. Kaya Skank

    Side 4 01. Upsetting Rhythm 1 02. Upsetting Rhythm 2 03. Upsetting Rhythm 3 04. Happy Roots

    Blackboard Jungle Dub - King Tubby

    Blackboard Jungle Dub/Scratch Attack (Jp [IMPORT] - Lee Scratch Perry [Amazon US]

    It was around 1974 when Lee Perry issued his 'Blackboard Jungle' dub album on Upsetter. It is probably King Tubby's first dub album, although it was only a very limited pressing, and was quickly changing hands for 20.00 or more. The music included is all from the early 70's. and included dubs of the Wailers 'Kaya'. 'Keep On Moving' and 'Dreamland', Junior Byles 'Place Called Africa' and 'Fever', plus two cuts of the title track also known as 'Bucky Skank'.--By Dave Hendley & Ray Hurford [With thanks to Colin Moore], (C) Small Axe 1979 http://www.rayx.freeserve.co.uk/King%20Tubby.htm [Jun 2004]

    1. Scratch The Dub Organizer 2. Who You Gonna Run To 3. Tighten Up 4. Serious Joke 5. Little Flute Chant 6. When Jah Come 7. Stratch Walking 8. Come Along 9. Bush Weed Corn Trash 10. Curley Dub 11. Blackboard Jungle Dub (Ver. 1) 12. Rubba, Rubba Words 13. Cloak A Dagger (Ver. 3) 14. Dub From Africa 15. Dreamland Dub 16. Pop Goes The Dread Dub 17. Fever Grass Dub 18. Sin Semilla Kaya Dub 19. Moving Forward 20. Blackboard Jungle Dub (Ver. 2) 21. Kasha Macka Dub 22. Setta Iration Dub

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