1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
It sneaks up on you,
This review is from: King Tubbys Meets Rockers Uptown (Audio CD)
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!