“During the early 1970s, a maverick Jamaican producer known as King Tubby (aka Osbourne Ruddock – he was born in Kingston in 1941) embarked upon a series of pivotal recordings, ultimately creating a reggae offshoot called dub” (Roden). “According to the Virgin Encyclopedia of Reggae, this is ‘regarded by many as one of the greatest dub albums of all time’” (CD Universe).
Tubby “began his adult life as a radio repairman and sound engineer, going on to pioneer a revolution in sound production, single-handedly inventing the art of the remix and the sub-genre of dub” (CD Universe). To craft dub, Tubby “pared his forces down to a drum kit and bass and slowed the tempo until a bottom-heavy, primal heartbeat emerged. Over this framework, spare vocal and instrumental riffs emerged from layers of echoing reverb and artful distortion, erecting atmospheric soundscapes bound for infinity” (Roden).
“King Tubby Meets Rockers Uptown compiles King Tubby’s dubwise mixes of twelve classic Augustus Pablo-produced tracks” (CD Universe). “These tracks are less characterized by echo-chamber pyrotechnics and tricky manipulation of sonic space than many dub versions of the era, focusing more on subtle shifts in mood and complex ensemble playing” (CD Universe). “This classic album is a primer for how Tubby could harness raw rhythmic power through his subtle, imaginative grasp of texture and dynamics” (Roden).
“Augustus Pablo, born Horace Swaby, 1954, proprietor of Rockers International record store & sound-system, was better known as an artist in his own right (developing a signature ‘Far East Sound’ both as producer and soloist on the melodica)” (CD Universe). Here he is featured on “the organ-piano and clavinet (mouth-blown keyboard clarinet)” (Roden).
The album also features “a potent rhythm team, including Robbie Shakespeare (one half of the famed Sly & Robbie combo) on bass, Earl ‘Chinna’ Smith on guitar, and a rough-and-ready brass section… [offering] hip, stylish Kingstonian street-bred attitude” (Roden). Also featured is “virtuoso drummer Carlton Barret of Wailers fame.” (CD Universe).
“The album was recorded at Randy’s in Kingston, Jamaica. Most of the tracks original featured vocals by Jacob Miller” (Wikipedia). “The album has been released on several different labels, often with slightly different track lists” (Wikipedia).