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King Tubby

Page history last edited by PBworks 14 years ago


King Tubby's Home Town Hi-Fi

King Tubby was born Osbourne Ruddock the 28th of January, 1941, in Kingston, Jamaica. King Tubby developed an early interest in electronics and on leaving school he took three courses in the subject. By '62 he had built his first amplifier, a 25 watt. Encouraged by friends he embarked on building his own Sound System. By the late 60's he had his own sound known as King Tubby's Home Town Hi-Fi. It was among other things known for the including of reverb and echo units - something rare in Jamaica at the time. His sound would play primarily reggae and rocksteady by Duke Reid and Coxsone Dodd (Studio One).


Tubby would also start to work as a disc cutter, creating the physical acetates/dubplates for Duke Reid among others. It is with Duke Reids two-track tapes he first start to play around with dub. King Tubby introduced the deejay U-Roy to Duke Reid who produced him. The deejay soon became the hottest thing in Jamaica thus also Tubby's sound who featured him first as an operator and also deejay.


In 1975 the legendary sound system was destroyed by the police during a dance. They claimed Tubby had no license to play thus stopping the dance. The disturbance that followed resulted in the police shooting up the amps and speakers leaving them beyond repairing. This was the ending of Tubby's Home Town Hi-Fi.


The birth of dub

Even though often erroneously credited as the creator of Dub King Tubby was perhaps the most shining star of the highly revolutionary new music style. Also Errol T. of Randy's studio was known as one of the first people experimenting with what was to be known as dub.


In 1971 Tubby acquired a second hand four-track mixing deck from Dynamics Studio starting to record vocals and mixing other producers songs in his previously dub cutting studio. His first mix is credited to a production by Prince Tony Robinson even though Bunny Lee was the initial encourager. Soon enough Tubby would work with Lee Perry, Niney, Augustus Pablo among others.


In the late 70's Tubby focuses less on the mixing letting his apprentices Phillip Smart and Prince Jammy do much of the work. When dub slowly fell out of favour in Jamaica the studio and King Tubby were given less attention.


The digital boom and the murder of Tubby

In the mid 80's with the boom of digital Dancehall Tubby made a serious comeback launching two labels such as Firehouse and Taurus. He would also release one of the seminal digital rhythms - Tempo. Working with acts such as Ninjaman, Anthony Red Rose, King Kong and others he is once again back in the front of Jamaican music. In 1988 he releases the album King Tubby Presents Sound Clash Dub Plate Style which is a massive seller.


The 6th of February, less than a week after his 48th birthday, Tubby was murdered outside of his home in the ghetto are of Waterhouse. The murder was never solved and it is assumed to have been a robbery-gone-wrong.


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