‘King of Dub’ is a 1978 dub album released initially on Clocktower Records, and then later on Blue Moon Productions.
Clocktower was a label based in New York and was owned and operated by Brad Osborne that focused on dub and roots releases. Many of the releases from the 70s and 80s are thankfully still available now in digital form.
This is a rich dub album, with heavy bass and plenty of horns.
The artwork was done by Clocktower regular Jamaal Pete, and features a painted lion on the cover. It is a bold cover, but (iun our opinion) not one of Jamaal Pete’s best covers. The rear of the sleeve also features a short essay by Brad Osbourne that reads as follows:
This form of music started in the dance halls in the early 60s by some of the pioneer record producers. Mainly Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry and Bunny ‘Striker’ Lee, by both of whom I’ve been tremendously influenced…
As a youth, from Jones and Trench Town, I’ve learned you must have an adequate power amplifier, right preamp and speakers…
For the right sound and effect, King Tubbys “the dubmaster” is a must, knowing when to bring in the Rhythm and leggo the Bass and Drum.
This album, it’s clean, heavy and right effects; we diged into the Rhythm vault and came up with TEN of the Hardest Rhythm Tracks. You’ll be convinced that this is the King of Dub.
A1 King Zion Dub
A2 Super Star Dub
A3 Graceful Dub
A4 Rubba Dunza (Clock Tower Mix)
A5 Jah Angel Of Dub (Clock Tower Mix)
B1 Blood, Sweat & Dunza Dub
B2 King, Queen & Minstreal Dub
B3 Easy Dread & Check This Dub
B4 Fancy Up A Dub
B5 Stalac 80 Dubwise
Released in 1988 on Dennis Star International records, this is ‘Mona Lisa’ by Mikey Melody.
This is pure late 80s dancehall vocals over digital rhythms. Mikey Melody sounds a lot like Conroy Smith, Courtney Melody and other such singers of the era, but lacks the hits and style of the aforementioned artists. To be fair, Mikey Melody did much better work, it is just a shame it isn’t on this album. It’s not bad as such, it just comes across as functional 80s dancehall, nothing special or memorable.
The album sleeve is pretty errr…..special, and hasn’t dated well at all. This is one of our least favorite Wilfred Limonious album covers – to be fair, it probably wasn’t his fault as he is only dealing with what he has been given to work with, and both Mikey Melody and his ‘Mona Lisa’ don’t look like they are enjoying any minute of this at all. Looks like a US prom photo.
A1 Mona Lisa
A4 Reggae Rock
A5 Break The Barriers Down
B1 Pa Pie Pie
B2 All Ina One
B3 Soldier Ina Town
B4 Mr. Melody
B5 Lovers Lane
Released on Tads Records in 1980 this was Jah Thomas’s third album.
Despite being a local celebrity since the mid-70s, Jah Thomas found international fame with his first album ‘Stop Yuh Loafin’ when it was picked up by Greensleeves Records, a new label at the time that was founded by Chris Cracknell and Chris Sedgwick, and was based in West London. Greensleeves would go on to become an integral part of taking a wide roster of reggae and dancehall artists to international markets, and ‘Stop Yuh Loafin’ would also feature the first cover-art by Tony McDermott – another artist responsible for some of the most creative and distinctive reggae album art o.ver the years
The artwork here is another striking piece by Jamaal Pete, and features his detailed and colourful style and brush strokes.
The rear of the album is equally as impressive, featuring hand-drawn lettering for the tracklisting and other album details which gives a true artisan feel to the whole product.
The music itself is a pretty good set, not the best by Jah Thomas, but solid enough with heavy rhythm tracks from the Roots Radics band and deep mixing by Scientist.
1 Hear It In The News
2 Please Mr Officer
4 Nah Fight Over Woman
5 Have To Spend Me Hotel Fee
6 Mary Lou
7 Cocky & Pussy
8 Hotel No Lack
9 Morning Ride
10 Put It On Back
This is as good as it gets, a King Tubby digital album, intros by Fuzzy Jones, and great album artwork by Jethro “Paco” Dennis – this is about as close to the essence of Dancehall as it it possible to get from a single album.
King Tubby’s name will always be associated with dub for many casual reggae fans, but he was equally as at home when the digital age of reggae hit and wasn’t left behind like many other producers who began their careers in the same era that Tubby did.
The Sound Clash culture is a staple of Jamaican dancehall and a clash can make or break sound systems and even artists. For beginners it can be an opaque and a confusing tradition to get to grips with, but this album is a pretty good entry point and acts as a good a blueprint as you will find anywhere to get to grips with this subculture of Jamaican Dancehall where sound systems battle each other by playing unique custom records (dub-plates) until the crowd decides the winner and the losing sound is ‘locked off’.
The album sleeve is a great piece of artwork by Jethro “Paco” Dennis, that shows a sound clash in full flow. The selector is shown on the right-hand side shouting “Dis ya wan, ya a go straight to a Di-Bi Di-Bi Sound Bwoy head!” as patrons look on, or dance. The rear of the sleeve shows a muscled hulk type character throwing a dub-plate into a grave with a sound system speaker lying in it. Above his head is written “Kill A Sound Bwoy”.
The music also attempts something a little different with each track being introduced by Fuzzy Jones who was widely regarded (along with Joe Lickshot) as one of the best intro-men in the dancehall who could hype up a tune and drive the crowd into a frenzy. The intros included here have all be made for this album, but really give an authentic feel of being actually in the dancehall during the late 80s. Each track included in this compilation are all focused around the subject of sound clashing and killing sounds.
The rear of the album also features a great essay by King Tubby describing the principles of a sound clash. Essay reproduced below:
“This album is the first of its kind. The purpose of this album is to give those people who don’t attend dances a feel of what’s happening inside the dance hall also to be used in sound system clashes.
All of the tracks from this album are specials. Specials are recordings which are made from rhythm tracks rented from producers who take along an artiste of their choice to do a recording.
This recording is copied on a Dubplate. A dubplate is made of metal and covered with wax. They are produced for the sound system personal files and they only play them when they compete with each other.
Tubbys made the first special in 1970 with Roy Shirley and Slim Smith, Johnny Clarke and Cornel Campbell.
King Everald opens the album with the tune “Kill Ole Pan”, the line “Do you know how to kill a sound lick dem and chop dem with apiece of ole iron” does not mean a physical chop. Due to the fact that the Dubplate is made of metal and covered with wax, so the term “Chop a sound” means you play a Dubplate with a hot tune on it against the other sound.
Incidentally the voice you hear at the start of each cut is Fuzzy Jones the Intro Man who introduces most specials in Dance Hall business.
Gregory opens side 2 with “The Ruler”. Gregory was passing through the studio and when the idea was put to him, Gregory said he had the right lyrics for the idea. He voiced the tune with just one take.
Gregory buried the Sound but not the Slector or Crew. Pad Nthony closes the album with “Charge Dem” which takes care of all the crew, “charge dem and give dem a sentence” a line from the tune.
This special is a popular one and was done for many sound systems by Pad Anthony. Relax and listen or move some of the furniture to one side of the house and invite your friends and partner over to your Dance Hall”
A1 King Everald: Kill Ole Pan
A2 Johnny Osbourne: Line Up
A3 Trevor Levy: Nah Run From No Clash
A4 Bananaman: Take A Lick
A5 Michael Bitas: Die Yu Die
B1 Gregory Isaacs: The Ruler
B2 Little John: Fade Away
B3 Sugar Minott: Play Me
B4 Conroy Smith: Original Sound
B5 Pad Anthony: Charge Dem
This is a very young looking Charlie Chaplin on the cover of his album ‘Que Dem’ that was released in 1984 on Power House records and distributed by Sonic Sounds.
The album cover is by Wilfred Limonious who also provides his signature hand-drawn cartoon on the rear of the sleeve. The cartoon shows Charlie Chaplin (the actor) bumping into his Jamaican DJ-namesake and saying “Reggae? What ever it means, it sounds good to me“.
Limonious started his career illustrating albums at Sonic Sounds, but as soon as his reputation grew he designed album sleeves from pretty much every label on the island (as well as a few abroad)….but it was on Sonic Sounds where he cut his artistic teeth and made his name as a designer/illustrator.
The album is pretty awesome too and shows why Charlie Chaplin rapidly became one of Jamaica’s most popular DJs in the early 80s. This is laid back dancehall DJ-ing over some great rhythms from some top Jamaican musicians including Skully, Sly & Robbie, Willie Lindo, and more.
A1 DJ A Dance
A3 Now A Days
A4 Pretty Girl
B1 Coco Deala Brown
B3 Diet Rock
B4 Que Dem
B5 Food Man Rock