King Tubby’s Prophecies Of Dub almost looks like an album that was designed to confuse record collectors and dub enthusiasts. Firstly, the record carries nearly the same title as a slightly earlier release - also produced by Vivian Jackson, aka Yabby You.
Yabby You: “First we do ‘King Tubby’s Prophecy Of Dub’, it come just after my first vocal LP. Then there was ‘King Tubby’s Prophecies Of Dub’ that was mixed by Pat Kelly, who was working at Tubby’s at the time.”
Pat Kelly: “Well fortunately Yabby You put my name (on it). I think I made them three one night, and then another week also he come back and do another three, and so it was done over some period of time. Yabby was with me most of the time, but I was always left to do what I wanted with the mix.”
Secondly, King Tubby is named in the title, but the rear sleeve states that the album had ‘Pat Kelly at the control’. This is more understandable, as the record was mixed at Tubby’s studio and carries its signature sound. After 1975, Tubby had partly stepped back from mixing work, but was still credited with most of the music coming out of his studio.
And thirdly, further confusion comes from the fact that most of the backing tracks used were not actually produced by Yabby, but belonged to Bunny ‘Striker’ Lee.
Bunny Lee: “Yabby You and Pat Kelly go behind my back and make it up. Me never even know about it till years later when Steve Barrow bring it to my attention. But it was my riddims and they used them.”
Bunny stored his multitrack tapes in a big wardrobe in the studio, allowing King Tubby to cut dubplates from them to be played in the dances.
Whether due to a misunderstanding or some long forgotten agreement, it was these 4-track tapes that Yabby presumably felt entitled to use to create this LP. The two producers had shared backing tracks before, with Yabby recording Tommy McCook’s sublime ‘Death Trap’ over one of Bunny’s rhythms, and Bunny had long acted as a mentor to Yabby.
Whatever the reason, eleven of the album’s tracks were dubs of the latest Bunny Lee productions, and by delving into Bunny’s tape archives we can see that the rhythms were often pulled from the same 4-track reels, and sequenced pretty much in the order they came off the tapes. So the opening two dubs are from the same multitrack: Linval Thompson’s ‘Long Long Dreadlocks’, and an unreleased cut of ‘Simmer Down’ by Johnny Clarke on a modified ‘Move Out Of Babylon’ rhythm. This is followed by Johnny’s version of Curtis Mayfield’s ‘Ten To One’ as covered by the Mad Lads. Then there are four cuts pulled from Delroy Wilson’s ‘Sings For I’ album, and two from Horace Andy, ‘Serious Thing’ and ‘Man To Man’. After Johnny Clarke’s ‘Live Up Jah Man’ and ‘Stop The Tribal War’, the album concludes with the sole Yabby You rhythm, a dub of Dicky Burton’s ‘God Is Watching You’ that is noticeably different from the Tubby’s mix as heard on the ‘Beware Dub’ album. Throughout, Pat’s mixing is detailed and subtle, focusing the listener into the musicality of the backing tracks.
The LP was released in 1976 in very limited numbers on the Prestige label, probably with the involvement of Prince Tony Robinson, with a further limited pressing appearing on the Prophets label. This reissue at last allows an obscure and mysterious album to be enjoyed by a wider audience.
Yabby You: “Dub music carry the message. If you play the music it captivate your mood, it bring you and draw you out of that folliness, and brings you into consciousness.”
Drums: Leroy ‘Horsemouth’ Wallace, Sly Dunbar, Carlton ‘Santa’ Davis
Bass: Aston ‘Family Man’ Barrett, Robbie Shakespeare
Guitar: Earl ‘Chinna’ Smith, Tony Chin
Keyboards: Aston ‘Family Man’ Barrett, Bernard ‘Touter’ Harvey, Ansel Collins, Winston Wright
Horns: Tommy McCook, Richard ‘Dirty Harry’ Hall, Bobby Ellis, Vin Gordon
Percussion: Noel ‘Scully’ Simms, Herman ‘Bongo Herman’ Davis
Recorded at King Tubby’s Studio, Dynamic Sounds, Channel One Studio, and Harry J’s Studio.
Mixed at King Tubby’s Studio, engineer Pat Kelly, produced by Vivian ‘Yabby You’ Jackson.