Various artists album review
Firehouse Revolution : King Tubby's Productions in the Digital Era 1985-89
Pressure Sounds
19 - 11 - 2001

Tracking list

  1. Tempo - Anthony Red Rose
  2. After All - King Everall
  3. Crank Angle Part 2 - King Asha
  4. Two Big Bull Inna One Pen - Anthony Red Rose & King Kong
  5. Original Sound - Conroy Smith
  6. Special Singer - King Everall
  7. Rude Boy - Lloyd Hemmings
  8. Dry Up Your Tears - Tinga Stewart
  9. Version - Peego & Fatman with King Asha
  10. Line Up - Johnny Osbourne
  11. Fade Away - Little John
  12. Babylon - King Kong
  13. Pressure Me - Lilly Melody
  14. Automatic - King Everall
  15. Under Me Fat Thing - Anthony Red Rose
  16. Version - Noel Davy
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

Vocals : 4 Backing : 4/5 Production : 4/5 Sound quality : 4/5 Sleeve : 5

King Tubby's productions are invariably linked with his stunning 70s output. However during the 1980s Tubby had far from given up. He rebuilt his studio and continued to keep it right in the heart of the Kingston ghetto. The Waterhouse area of Kingston had earned its reputation as a catalyst for innovation and produced many of Jamaica's finest vocalists. It also had a reputation for violence hence the residents referred to it as 'Firehouse'. Tubby now put his energies towards building up the studio while not being as 'hands on' as he had been in the past he encouraged some of the younger talented Waterhouse youths to the forefront of his studios output guiding them through there engineering duties. On this album, subtitled "King Tubby's Productions in the Digital Era 1985-89", one finds 16 tracks that Tubby essentially executive produced. This mid-80s is a period that is often overlooked by reggae fans, but slowly the collectors market is starting to acknowledge the value of these forgotten gems.
The compilers of UK's premier division re-issue label 'Pressure Sounds' make a brave move as they turn their gaze away from the mesmeric excellence of seventies reggae to the less scrutinised computer revolution that swept all before it and inaugurated what many at the time saw as an austere, hollow brand of reggae known as 'digital' or 'computerized' which in turn begat ragga as we now know it. After King Jammy put out Wayne Smith's epochal "Under Mi Sleng Teng" it wasn't long before his former employer, the late great King Tubby, consolidated the revolution with an even more radical tune: Anthony Red Rose's brooding Tempo (or "Tempa" as he sings it). This killer tune opens this set and is followed by two more versions for the same riddim: King Everall's After All and the dub mix by King Asha. Tinga Stewarts rendition of Bruce Ruffin's Dry Up Your Tears plus the wicked dub version is across the same riddim as Lloyd Hemmings' Rude Boy. The late great intro man Fuzzy Jones announces Johnny Osbourne's dancehall anthem Line Up and he also introduces Little John who licks Junior Byles' Fade Away across a groaning digital riddim. The album closes with two versions of the Sleng Teng riddim, first there's Red Rose's Under Me Fat Thing and then comes the reckless Noel Davy mix to the vocal version.
A bomber selection of digital productions pulled from the vaults of King Tubby!

Teacher & Mr. T.