by Howard Campbell
[KINGSTON, Jamaica] – On the morning of February 6, 1989, Paul Scott had a brief telephone conversation with his boss, renowned studio engineer, Osbourne “King Tubby” Ruddock. It was the last time they spoke, as King Tubby was murdered at his home later that day.
Only 48 at the time of his death, he was crowned as the premier engineer in reggae. King Tubby’s expertise was sought by artists and producers alike.
Scott, manager of King Tubby’s company at the time, has never forgot his mentor. On March 27, he will stage a virtual tribute show to renew focus on the famed technician’s legacy.
The event will be streamed live from the studio of Lloyd “King Jammy” James, Tubby’s protege and dancehall music’s top music producer. The facility is located in Waterhouse, a tough Kingston community where the King Tubby studio was also located.
Scott, who lives in the United Kingdom, has thought about a tribute concert for his boss for over 30 years.
“About a month after his passing, I came up with the idea and travelled to England to organize a tour but the promoter who wanted to do the tour had problems and the tour was cancelled,” he said.
The upcoming event will feature the King Jammy’s sound system, as well as performances by Anthony Redrose, The Firehouse Crew and Dean Fraser, all of whom worked with King Tubby.
Scott, James and The Firehouse Crew intend to stage the King Tubby tribute annually. They are also pushing for him to be given a national award by the Jamaican government.
“It may seem funny but King Tubby was persecuted by the police. In those days going to a King Tubby dance you could get your head busted and a beating from the police. Many Rastas lost their locks, cut off by policemen’s knives,” said Scott. “Many people may not want to say this but a lot of people who loved the music King Tubby played suffered many physical injuries and injustice listening his creations.”
Many of those creations were dub versions (bass-driven rhythms without vocals) of hit songs by top reggae acts from the 1970s including Jacob Miller, Johnny Clarke, Augustus Pablo and Cornel Campbell.
King Tubby’s Meets Rockers Uptown, a 1976 dub masterpiece with Augustus Pablo, hears King Tubby at the height of his powers.
For all the acclaim he received in Jamaican reggae circles, King Tubby remains unknown to the mainstream in his homeland.
“I am shocked that he has never received a national honor. It is a disgrace that someone who has contributed so much to reggae music, sound system, dancehall and the Jamaican economy by way of fans of his coming to the island in droves over the years, has not been recognized,” said Scott.
Click below to watch “King Tubby’s meets the rockers uptown“, Baloise Live, 2014 – Monty Alexander Official