Originating in Jamaica the Sound System was an important part of Jamaican culture. Later adapted by Kool Herc and Bambaataa (using their own sound systems to rock the block parties), it became an intergral part of the early Hip Hop movement in the Bronx. Sound Systems generated Sound Clashes, to see who had the better (and louder) system, and if you had the best Dubplates, the best DJ, and could make people move, you were sure to win the clash. There have been some great Sound Systems over the years: Volcano Hi Power, King Jammy’s Super Power, Jack Ruby Hi Power, Kilamanjaro, Luv Injection, I could go on and on, but I’d like to focus on one today: King Tubby’s Hometown Hi Fi.
“I had a little dub machine and I used to borrow tapes from producers and mix them down in a different fashion. You see I used to work on the cutter for Duke Reid and once a tape was running on the machine and I just drop off the voice y’ know, and it was a test cut…it sounds so exciting the was the records start with the voice, the voice drop out and the rhythm still going.”-King Tubby
Osbourne Ruddock aka King Tubby is largely credited for the invention of Dub Reggae at around 1972. With the leading sound system in Jamaica, his Tubby’s Hometown Hi-Fi, was recorded in 1976 in Kingston, JA at East Queen Street. This is something I’ve had for years and decided to share it today. Funny thing is, when I was doing some research on it, it came about that someone had remastered the whole thing. So rather than put up my low quality version, why not enjoy King Tubby’s Hi Fi in digital quality? With Tubby at the controls and U-Roy as the DJ, this is a set you will want to listen to over and over again. I like the live feel to it, the recording imperfections, even the sound dropping out from time to time. This is how it is live, and like I like to say, there is no do over. Enjoy this piece of Reggae history today.
Here’s where the mix originally came from, Jayman and Andrew’s site Who Cork the Dance, which is brilliant by the way. Mash it up, mash it up!
the tape is very likely from sometime earlier – King Tubby’s Hi-Fi was shot up by police shortly after the start of a dance near Morant Bay (allegedly, JCF supercop Trinity Gardner came out 30 miles away from Kingston and did the shooting) in late 1975, and KTHF was damaged to the point where it never played a dance again. he supposedly sued the JCF and won a judgement against them, although it is unclear whether he ever actually got compensated for the damage.
by the mid-70’s Tubby’s had gained a reputation as a “badman sound” and had a substantial Spanglers following – an unfortunate stigma that happened to other successful sounds too, and it was also the beginning of an era where many sound systems stopped playing because of the violence by both police and gunmen, or simply an inability to play many areas in Kingston (that had become garrisonized) if a sound or deejay had a perceived political affiliation.
Interesting…I also have a mix from KTHF from ’75, wondering if they were both from around the same time?? Big thanks for sharing!
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