I used to listen to a lot of reggae and dub at the end of its golden era in the early 1980s, via college radio shows like Spliff Skankin’s on KFJC (great nom de plume, Spliff!) and Doug Wendt’s commercial show “Midnight Dread” on a commercial San Francisco station called “The Quake”. I always took to the dub stuff the most – the sinewy, echo-laden headcleaners from the likes of the Twinkle Brothers and King Tubby – but I got way deeper into obscure rock music and dropped all reggae & dub when I headed off to Bob Marley University, aka UC-Santa Barbara. It took probably 15 years before I was ready to take up the flag again around 1999, and when I did, it was dub only for the most part – to this day I have an aversion to most (not all) vocal reggae post-1970 or so.
Oddly enough, it was two chapters in an out-of-print book called “The Secret History of Rock” that got me going again; the chapters were on Tubby and Lee “Scratch” Perry, and they totally got my interest piqued. A friend then bought me AUGUSTUS PABLO’s “King Tubbys Meets Rockers Uptown” and that was all she wrote. For 8 years I have been a dub collector, I guess you’d say, if collecting means amassing a library of CD-Rs burned from others & from Soulseek, and CDs actually purchased with real cash money at great dub-laden stores like Streetlight Records in Santa Cruz, CA. A lot of my pals think that dub is kinda lame, or reeks of the reggae that they learned to loathe, and I guess I understand. I’ve been there. Yet the form, which to my ears truly existed in its top guise from about 1972 to 1982 (or thereabouts), is as wild, wacked and unpredictable as many of the rock bands we frequently revere. I’m going to post what I could very legitimately argue are 3 of the top dubs of all time. If you’re newly interested in the genre, I hope this is a portal to another dimension for ya. If you’re an old dub hand, well, then you probably have these already, but it can’t hurt to listen to them again right now at top volume, right?
Download AUGUSTUS PABLO – “King Tubby Meets Rockers Uptown” (buy the CD here)
Download GLEN BROWN & KING TUBBY – “Version 78 Style” (buy the CD here)
Download IMPACT ALL-STARS – “Extraordinary Version” (buy the CD here)