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King Tubby


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Jamaica (January 28, 1941 – February 6, 1989)

King Tubby (born Osbourne Ruddock, January 28, 1941 – February 6, 1989) was a Jamaican electronics and sound engineer, known primarily for his influence on the development of in the 1960s and 1970s. Tubby’s innovative studio work, which saw him elevate the role of record producer to a creative height previously only reserved for composers and musicians, would prove to be highly influential across many genres of popular music. He is often cited as the inventor of the concept of the remix, and so may be seen as a direct antecedent of much dance and electronic music production.

Early life
In the 1950s, King Tubby’s musical career began with the sound systems, which were set up on the streets of Kingston to play dance music for the people. As a talented radio repairman, Tubby was soon in great demand at most of the major sound systems of Kingston, as the tropical weather of the Caribbean Island, (often combined with sabotage by rival sound system owners) prompted many malfunctions in the equipment. Tubby would eventually form his own sound system, Tubby’s Hometown Hi-Fi, which became a crowd favourite due to high sound quality, exclusive releases and Tubby’s own echo and reverb sound effects, at that point something of a novelty.

Tubby began working as a disc cutter for producer Duke Reid in 1968. Reid, one of the major figures in early Jamaican music alongside rival Clement ‘Coxsone’ Dodd, ran Treasure Isle studios, one of Jamaica’s first independent production houses, and was a key producer of Ska, Rocksteady and eventually Reggae recordings.


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