Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

King Tubby And Friends
Dub Gone Crazy

Released 1994 on Blood & Fire
Reviewed by Le Samourai, 14/10/2000ce

Recording engineer/producer Osbourne “King Tubby” Ruddock (R.I.P. 1941 - 1989) basically created Dub Reggae at his studio in Kingston, Jamaica. Making an already heavy music like Reggae even heavier (and more uh, surreal) must’ve been some mountain to climb. And thanks to Blood & Fire records we now have this crucial document of some of his work from 1975-1979.

Dub Reggae is (like I mentioend before in my “Dub Chill Out” review) practically like a “Psychedelic” version of Jamaican Reggae. Recording Engineers and Producers basically use the mixing board to “re-mix” a song adding various effects (echo, reverb, delay, turning sounds like vocals up or off in the song’s mix, etc.) and other studio trickery (early sampling techniques like adding “found sounds” like a dial tone to a song’s mix) creating a “trippy” vibe to the music yet still keeping the record’s basic groove.

What really surprises me here is the length of most of these songs. I thought Dub versions were a lot longer (they sure seem that way.) But Tubby and fellow engineers Prince Jammy, Prince Phillip and Scientist keep the Dub trippyness within the times of the tunes they “dubbed” (usually 2 - 4 minutes.) Yet the effects are still highly freaked and funky. “Satta Dread Dub” weaves a dial tone and the lead vocals in and out of an already hypnotic groove pocket. “Hold Them In Dub” and “Dub With A View” start off normal then mutate into funky games of hide and seek while the percussion enters a Twilight Zone of their own. “Jah Love Rockers Dub” is another take on “Hold Them In Dub” with a classy flute solo playing “Take Five.”

I highly recommend this and it’s sequel Dub Gone 2 Crazy for anybody especially those that love Reggae and just wacked out weirdness in general.

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