Bless Up

Bless Up

Sunday, June 30, 2013

King Tubby's Taurus Label Tribute

 King Tubby, the great dub producer/engineer operated 3 labels at the center of the digikal dancehall rise in the mid 80's before his untimely murder in 1989. These labels were Firehouse, Waterhouse, and Taurus: the first 2 named after districts in Kingston, and the latter after the popular astrological sign (even though Tubby himself was not born in April/May). Most of Tubby's biggest digi hits came on the Firehouse/Waterhouse labels, though much killer and less heard of music was released on the kid brother Taurus. Here's a short tribute to the label and some of the tunes that defined it!

Papa San - Ghetto Living 7'' [198x Taurus Original Pressing]

 Absolute monster tune, quick rhyming San tells of the sufferah's plight over an upbeat Kuff riddim. San, always coming with witty lyrics, seems to be doing a Daddy Freddy impression almost with all his bingtidybing's and perdimining's!

Gregory Peck - Doogle Berry 7'' [198x Taurus Original Pressing]

More fast chatting by the deejay Peck, not to be confused with dingle berrys!

King Everald - Special 7'' [198x Taurus Original Pressing]

Tribute to all the loafter musicians with that "special" talent that only come around when they need some cash flow, but otherwise want nothing to do with you. Then when they get to the studio, they're so full of themselves they start some shit haha.

Bunny General - Goat Rider 7'' [198x Taurus Original Pressing]

Not to be confused with Bingi General, this guy chats some pure slackness over the riddim made famous by Professor Nuts' Women Deh Yah, and Little John's Mud Up (also not to be confused with the Mud Up riddim). Don't think he literally means goats here, but uses them instead as a metaphor, if you catch my drift... wood!

Conroy Smith - Freedom 7'' [198x Taurus Original Pressing]

As far as I know, Conroy only recorded 2 songs for Tubby ever, this one, and the massive Original Sound. But then again, that was his style... record a hit or 2 for a producer, then move on. Never staying long enough to be associated with any one sound or even releasing an LP (until later in the 90's). This tune, while not as good as Original Sound, is a ruff tune that talks about the emancipation of people worldwide.

Winston Hussey - Work Under Man 7'' [198x Taurus Original Pressing]

Surprisingly empowering tune, Hussey sings about the perils of being a "woman of the street." Instead of demeaning women in the ghetto who are forced to sell their bodies to survive, Hussey claims that prostitution (one of the oldest professions in the world by the way) is a way for women to be empowered and make a living (cuz she don't give a damn!). Many modern day feminists would agree...

Wickerman - What A Agony 7'' [198x Taurus Original Pressing]

Tuff tuff Hurricane Gilbert tune here by deejay Wickerman on a riddim reminiscent of Sluggy's 95% Black tune on the Tonight riddim. Other tune that appears on this Tubby riddim is Junie Ranks Come Ya Fe A Man, which is also a killer. If anyone has that one for sale, get at me please-

Also, you may notice the change in label art. While Tubby's two other digi labels essentially kept the same label art, Taurus for some reason switched to this image you see here of a boy being followed by a bull (taurus astrological sign).

King Everald - Ram Dancehall 7'' [198x Taurus Original Pressing]

Mi sound ah di leadah! Soundboy killer special guaranteed to ram (mash down) any dance!

Papa San - Respect Due 7'' [198x Taurus Original Pressing]

And we come full circle with another Pupa San tune here. This 7'' is interesting, not necessarily because of the song, but because of what it represents. As you can see, the label looks slightly different (missing green triangle) and also had no mention of Tubby, instead crediting his engineer Peego. It seems that Tubby's crew tried to carry on his empire after he passed, and continued releasing material. This appears to have been rather short lived, as I have not seen many other tunes on the Taurus label that have these characteristics. This tune also has an almost 90's dancehall sound, and is just missing that distinct "it" sound that Tubby brought to the scene. RIP King Tubby!


  1. Son 4 label de king tubby (Firehouse, Waterhouse, Taurus and kingston 11)

  2. That's right...forgot about kingston 11. That label is usually associated with king jammy, but tubby did start it. one love-