KING TUBBYâ€™S REIGN "Dub mean raw riddim. Dub jusâ€™ mean raw music, nuttin water-down. Version is like your creativeness off the riddim, without voice." Osbourne Ruddock, known professionally and affectionately as â€˜King Tubbyâ€™, the â€˜Dub Masterâ€™ of all dub masters, is truly the Daddy of Dub, in every sense of the word. Not only was he one of the most innovative musical engineers of his time, but an artist, a pioneer, and a teacher to the procession of dub masters that would follow in his shadow. The list is endless of those he influenced first-handedly, including such noble names as Hopeton â€˜Scientistâ€™ Brown, Philip Smart, Lee â€˜Scratchâ€™ Perry, Prince Jammy, and Yabby You, to name a few. His reign as the â€˜Dub Masterâ€™ lasted for nearly a decade, but his innovative techniques, spaced out rhythms, and overall inventiveness have left a lasting imprint on the dub scene. King Tubby is dub, and he will never be forgotten. January 28, 1941 marks the day this emperor, Osbourne Ruddock, was born into the world. He was raised on High Holborn Street in Central Kingston, remaining there until 1955 when he moved to the Waterhouse district. (1) His career took off very slowly, as it did not have a title, never mind an available position, at that time. He began working as a radio technician, or repairman, and by the late 1950â€™s, had already started experimenting with sound system amplifiers, manipulating the available sounds to ones that sounded native of outer space. By 1964, he had his own Tubbyâ€™s â€˜Home Town Hi-Fiâ€™ system, to which he would eventually incorporate a custom reverb and an echo facilitator. During this time, he had taken up a job, working for Duke Reid as a disc-cutter. One day when Tubs was mixing up a version for Reid, he accidentally left out pieces of the vocal track from the recording. After replaying the mix, he found himself pleased with the sound he had inadvertently created. Tubby began to take the latest Rocksteady hits and create new versions of them by "dropping the vocal track, boosting parts of the instrumental track, and add(ing) subtles effects like echo or delay to the instruments he had isolated", writes John Dougan.(2) Without knowing it, Tubs had stumbled upon a whole new era for Reggae: he had invented DUB. In order to get his new sounds heard and recognized by the public, Tubby ambushed the radio waves in the early 1970â€™s by hijacking one of the two lines available in Kingston.
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