on 5 July 2002
First of all I'd like to correct a few inaccuracies in the first review. King Tubby was definitely not Glen Adams, his name was Osbourne Ruddock, and neither was he a producer as such until the mid-80s. He operated one of Kingston's greatest sound systems at that time and was also a recording engineer. These recordings were produced by Pablo; many of them are versions of previously released tunes by the likes of Jacob Miller. What tubby did with these tracks was to mix out most the vocal, pile up the drum and bass, chop the rest of the instruments in and out when least expected and create stunning soundscapes by maniuplating the mixing board and his array of home-made effects. This is what is known as dub, which in those times was more a by-product of the JA record industry than a new way of recording music. In my opinion, modern-day so-called 'dub' artists are totally missing the point in creating 'dub-for-dub's-sake' - i.e. dub of no origin. Jamaican dub is always a 'version' in that it comes from somewhere else. I'm not sure that Tubby slowed his versions down; more likely they give that impression because of the greater sense of space in them. Tubby's best dub was always more about what he left out that what he put in. This is probably one of the best and best-known of his dub albums, and should not be ignored by anyone interested in '70s reggae, modern valium dub (Alpha & Omega etc.), or for that matter psychedelic music. The riddims are devastating, Pablo's mystic influence was never stronger and Tubby is at his incredible best. I would also recommend pretty much any Tubby material from the 70s, especially work with producers such as the great Bunny Lee and Yabby You.
on 15 July 2001
Yes, it's expensive, but if you're anything of a dub reggae fan you need this. The fluid bass and drum of Sly and Robbie underpin a masterful horn section, while King Tubby and Augustus Pablo between them show just what dub producers could do with the studio controls as an extra instrument. This was one of the first dub albums ever, and it's rarely been equalled.
on 4 August 2002
I enjoy listening to Dub but did not have any in my music collection, having recently bought a new hi-fi system I thought it was high time I rectified this. Listening to John Peel one evening on Radio 1 there was a superb dub track and it was by Augustus Pablo, a name I had never heard of before. I then searched on Amazon and found a host of titles by this great artist and bought the above title, I was not disappointed. My new speakers are now frequently booming out this excellent CD, my only criticism is that it only lasts for about 35 minutes, just means I'm going to have to buy some more......
on 3 July 2012
This review is for the 1990 CD release of King Tubbys Meets Rockers Uptown, on Fotofon (AP001CD).
When I first heard this album I was - as probably some of you were, or will be - underwhelmed.
Commonly reviews or comments that I've read of this album have it down as being the best Dub album ever, or at worst within the top three of the best ever. So I was expecting something seriously freaky and mindblowing, some real dark and heavy brain-melting Dub.
What I found, initially, was something quite tame. Something a bit too "samey". Dare I say it, something a little bit boring.
But what I didn't expect was the subtle nature of the Dub being so incredibly insidious. Live with this album for a short while and it will not grow on you piece by piece. Instead it will one day suddenly leap up and grab you. And once you "get it", you get it.
It took me a week of listening before - out of nowhere - everything clicked into place and I understood exactly why King Tubbys Meets Rockers Uptown has so regularly been cited as a Dub classic. After initially denigrating and almost disregarding the album, I am now a firm and admitted convert. And it was more than worth putting in the effort to gain that epiphany.
One thing I would say to anyone giving this album a blast for the first time, try it through headphones. They really bring it to life by fully revealing the stereo-panned echo effects. Maybe if I'd begun my journey with the album that way I would have arrived at my ultimate destination far sooner!
Now. The technical stuff. This 1990 CD issue on Fotofon has very basic artwork. The front cover is a single sheet (with blank rear) and the rear tray inlay looks like a black and white photocopy. But don't let that put you off, because the actual sound of the CD is very nice. It's not compressed, it's good and clear with a powerful bass. It sounds to me like either a straight transfer from the original master tape or a first generation copy. Some of these older Reggae CDs can be taken from dodgy tape sources, be swathed in muffling noise reduction, or even copied from crackly old vinyl. That's certainly not the case here.
That said, there is one track on the album which sounds slightly inferior to the rest, Satta Dub. However, it's not listed on the artwork and didn't feature on the original vinyl issue so can really be considered a hidden bonus track.
In conclusion, how would I rate King Tubbys Meets Rockers Uptown?
A week or so back I would have given it maybe a two star rating, and then only largely on the basis of the title track.
But one week on? I'll give it a solid 4 stars, with one star missing simply because of the low quality artwork. The Dub is 5 star all the way......once it "gets" you!