What is the First Dub Album?
Dub music is a genre of music from Jamaica that developed in the early 70’s, but has its roots in B side’s or Versions which originate in the 60’s. It is one of the many musical inventions that Jamaicans have given the world of music. Instrumentals versions did not contain the effects that became synonymous with dub music. The emphasis on echo, reverb, panoramic delay and even sampling was more creative than just the drop out of vocals or an emphasis on the drum and bass common in early versions. The versions were mainly used for the massive popularity of DJ’s at the time that needed a blank riddim to chant over. The early dub producers like King Tubby, Herman Chin Loy, and Lee Perry saw the peoples interest in the version itself when it was mixed and mashed up into the dub style.
It was 1968 when Ruddy Redwoods went to Duke Reids to cut the first dub plate but the engineer accidentally left the vocal track out. The instrumental track was played for the crowd at the dance that night and was a huge hit, so much so that Byron Lee when to King Tubby the next day to tell him he needed to make some instrumentals. King Tubby started playing around with the vocals and the instruments in the mix, leaving the vocals out, pumping up the bass, and basically early dub was born. But these instrumentals were not Dub. It wasn’t till Little Roy’s “Hard Fighter” recorded in March 1971 was released that the first vocal record with a full dub version on the flip B side existed. Soon must singles had a dub version on the other side of the vocal side. The popularity was there and innovative Jamaican mixing engineers were ready to start the new age of Dub Albums. But the first so called dub albums were really instrumental albums since they did not contain any special effects or sampling.
It wasn’t till 1971, 1972 that the first albums started to feature instrumental tracks like Java Java Dub in 1972 what would be the first instrumental LP if not for a few DJ tracks with toaster Crutches. Augustus Pablo’s 1972 release This Is Augustus Pablo is the first complete instrumental LP but there is conflicting views on the date of its release as being from 1972 or 1973.
A few different albums would like to claim to be the first dub album being released close the same time in 1973. Herman Chin Loy – Aquarius Dub, Lee Perry’s Blackboard Jungle Dub, and Java Java Dub. 1974’s Pick A Dub by Keith Hudson is said to be the first thematically made dub release but Lee Perry’s Blackboard Jungle dub is more thematically expressive then Pick A Dub and was released a year earlier in 1973. Aquarius Dub and Java Jah Dub are basically instrumental sets. So is Blackboard Jungle or Pick A Dub the first Dub Album? I would have to agree with Michael Veal who wrote “Dub, Soundscapes and Shattered Songs in Jamaican Reggae” that Blackboard Jungle Dub was the first self contained and thematically consistent dub album. Scratch used more innovative effects and sounds in his release and it would not be till King Tubby started releasing his Dub Albums that someone would use similar and more wild special effects. So the award goes to Lee Perry and Blackboard Jungle Dub. Now the research will look into which album was the first to have all it’s riddims and music created originally and specifically to make a dub album with no reuse of older riddims.
Blackboard Jungle Dub Tracks
Java Java Dub 1972 but not a complete Dub LP more a instrumental
Pick A Dub 1974 featuring members of the Wailers