King Tubby's name is invariably linked with his stunning '70s output. However, during the '80s Tubby went on from strength to strength when he rebuilt his Waterhouse studio in the heart of the Kingston ghetto. The area had more than earned its reputation as a catalyst for innovation and had produced many of Jamaica's finest vocalists and musicians. It also had a reputation for violence and unrest and the residents referred to it as 'Firehouse'. Second time around Tubby put his energies towards building up his studio and encouraging the many talented Waterhouse youths, guiding them through their engineering duties, and placing them at the forefront of his new output. What we have on this album are fourteen tracks that are essentially 'executive' productions from the King.
The album begins with three stunning cuts of the "Tempo" rhythm and then works through some of the best music made between 1985 and 1989. Anthony Red Rose, Little John, Johnny Osbourne and King Kong all make stunning contributions. Other stand out cuts come from Lloyd Hemmings, "Rude Boy," followed by Tinga Stewarts "Dry Up Your Tears," a wicked dub version and an actual King Tubby mix of the "Under Me Sleng Teng" rhythm called "Under Me Fat Thing (Version)."
While this music could hardly be described as 'new' it comes from a much more recent period than the usual '60s and '70s 'revival' compilations but it is every bit as exciting, innovative and important as anything that has ever come out of Jamaica. The mid-80s period is often overlooked but the 'collectors market' seems to be gradually starting to acknowledge the value of these forgotten gems and Pressure Sounds feel that the time is right to put the spotlight on some brilliant music.
The package includes fantastic photos by Dave Hendley and Beth Lesser and sleevenotes from Harry Hawke on the Waterhouse/Firehouse King Tubby story.