The Passion of the Weiss

Sometimes I rhyme slow, sometimes I rhyme quick. But most of the time, I don't rhyme.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Carlton Patterson & King Tubby-Black and White in Dub

As Mel Brooks once pointed out,, it's good to be the King. Taxes are low. Seignorial rights seem like a cool deal for those on top. Not to mention the fact that having your own castle must be the ultimate bachelor pad (though inevitably the moment you'd get a comely wench out of her chastity belt, she'd start complaining about how drafty it is this time of year). Yet I suspect that out of all the benefits of being King, getting to wear a crown is probably the best.

As the Black and White in Dub album cover indicates, crown-wearing Jamaican producer extraordinaire, King Tubby, had things pretty figured out (at least, until he was murdered in 1989). Often cited as the inventor of the remix (sorry Puff), along with Lee "Scratch" Perry, Augustus Pablo, and Bunny Lee, Tubby was one of the Dub Reggae's leading lights during its peak from 1973-1981.

Tubby got his start producing instrumental versions of songs for sound system MCs but soon opted to remove the vocal tracks (presumably, because he grew tired of hearing the words "jah" and "mon.") Eventually, Tubby discovered what Puffy found out a good 20 years later, if you mess with a mixer and and shift the emphasis of the instrumentals, adding sounds, removing others and adding various special effects like echoes, reverb and phase effects, you can sell the same song over and over again in a completely new form (with Craig Mack on the hook!) Connecting a variety of sound effects to his mixer, Tubby was able to 'play' the mixing desk like an instrument, bringing instruments and vocals in and out of the mix (literally 'dubbing' them) to create an entirely new genre: dub music. (also known as Dub because it sounds infinitely better after having smoked one).

King Tubby: Surprisingly, Not All that Tubby
Black and White in Dub is the sound of Tubby in his prime, working with unsung but very talented producer Carlton Patterson, to create a uniformly funky record, full of melodica, outer space sound effects and lilting horns. Like all dub albums, the songs themselves are primarily wordless and sound rather similar. Then again, chances are if you're reading this blog, you aren't going to buy this CD and bemoan its lack of sonic diversity. You're probably looking for the right CD to toss on after you've just twisted up a bleezy (or an "L" or a "duchie" what have you). And in that vein, this album more than succeeds. In all its woozy, staggering glory, Black and White in Dub is the perfect record for that lazy Sunday, cloudy mind, hamburgers on the grill, Red Stripe in hand.

With 15 of its 21 tracks never before released on CD, the recently re-issued Black and White features Patterson aided by Reggae legends Sly And Robbie, with all songs tweaked and remixed by Tubby, saved for "Disco Style" which was mixed by the awesomely named King Jammy. While most of the musicians that hung around Tubby's Kingston Studios in the mid-70s went onto greater fame, sadly Patterson's reputation is the least celebrated, as his work is barely represented in re-issue catalogues. Yet judging from Black and White in Dub's excellence, it's time that things changed. In fact, one might say high time.

Buy Black and White In Dub

MP3: Carlton Patterson & King Tubby-"Psalms of Dub"
MP3: Carlton Patterson & King Tubby-"Doctorman Skank" (thus fulfilling a life-long dream I've had of posting a song entitled "Doctorman Skank"

Bonus from King Tubby's The Roots of Dub

MP3: King Tubby-"Natty Dub"
MP3: King Tubby-"Rude Boy Dub"


At 11:40 PM, Blogger Douglas Reinhardt said...

Man, I read this and went to Amoeba all stoked to find it and it wasn't there.


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