Operator Operator

Ian McCann hears it from Jah Tubbys.


"The label was started up just for the love of the music, because Tubby's is a man that deh in the music long time. After having a sound and making it a top sound and competing he must have wanted to take it a step further.

"So he form up the Jah Tubby's label, got a likkle local artist and that together, plus I think he wanted to help certain little youths, 'cause there was a lot of us on the corner not doing much so that was an outlet.

"Why we changed to Y&D is because Jah Tubby's the sound used to stand for more spiritual music when reggae was more rootsy, but by the time we'd gone through and made up the label records had changed and styles had changed. People associated the label with steppers and rootsier music, which we didn't really mind, but the records wasn't really selling and records are meant to sell! So we kinda reformed and re-thought everything and say we're dealing with nowadays style, and the people know the Tubby's sound, production, and people know we're dealing with the youths.

"We call it Y&D, Young & Developing. We're riding it out, still finding young artists, bringing them through. We're not coming to knock no-one off or nothing, we're just taking it a step at a time, just to be on the map with everyone else.

"The Offbeat Posse, which people think is a load of computers is a full band, drummer, bass, guitarist ... when we're doing live shows, which we will be doing, people will see that they do exist! They're a good young group of musicians."


Age 24, west London. Singer. A hitmaker. Has recorded outside of Tubby's set-up

"Recording outside was just a thing; just for a friend. I never leave Tubby's, 'cause he's my man, this is where I started from. I was playing Saxon one day, and we had a rhythm track 'Worries' and a friend of his heard it, Tubby's was interested so the friend brought me up there and it started from there.

"You got to try all kinds a styles, sump'n different. You can't just stick to dancehall, people are gonna get fed up with dancehall one day. I wanna do something they like. I've got a new disco, 'Hold On To Your Man', yeah lovers, working on a various artists LP, two tracks, and I've started work on a 10-track album. Everybody's tryin' a thing, it's just that people took to my kinda style. That's how it goes."

Hits and releases: 'Pure Worries', 'Ragamuffin And Rambo', 'Spin Spin', 'Slaughter', 'Love Is A Thing', 'Get Up And Skank'.


Age 19, Stoke Newington. Singer, voice of promise.

"A friend of mine told me that Tubby's was looking for singers, so I just went up to him and asked. I just lay down a vocal over a tape. That was about a year and a half ago. Since I left school I started singing. It was a little sound; we made up a sound name Radication.

Like Wayne Marshall, Colonel Mite, Sammy Ranking was on the sound, we're making records now. With Tubby's you can see it going somewhere.

On plastic: 'Selector Him Good', 'Dancing Time', 'Bubble Rock', 'Cowboy Style'. To come: 'Kick Up Rumpus'.


Age 22, Hackney. Singer, sweet but not sickly, prento!

"Well, I've been messing about really over the past few years, and doing things like goin' to college, and I decided to do it seriously about two years ago, making up lyrics and that. It was only this year that I really and truly got round to it. I've sorted myself out now, decided it's about time to make a record. There's not many producers now that are willing to give unknowns a chance. They wanna go for bigger people and if you ain't got a name they won't touch you. You don't get a record out there.

"I'm a prento studio engineer as well, I might mix something down too ... I'm down here seven days a week."

Record: 'Bubble To The Roots Rock Reggae'. To come: "A few, four or five ..."


Age 27, Tottenham. Singer, vibesman.

"I been with Tubbs for about three years. You stick with him 'cause the vibes is always there. I sang on sounds before but I got more respect when I sang on Tubby's. I been singing for 11 years, a long time. Most dancehall singers are good singers, they could really expand, better than some of the singers that's up there already. But people don't really notice that in the business, they're not interested in them. But dancehall singers are good. I love singing, even if I never make It big."

Music: 'Ragamuffin Girl', 'Funny Dream', 'She's Mine' and 'She's Crazy' to be released.


Age 27 (we think!), Hackney. DJ, writer, right-hand man.

"Boy ... Tubbs. I been round his sound for a long time from when I started raving, but I just used to listen to him, listen to someone else, then go back and listen to him. When I started to DJ that's when I started to spar with the sound, chat one or two things. I been here seriously for two-and-a-half years.

"I always thought I was a talented person, I thought I would be in the music, but it would have to be like Tubby's run it now; you've got freedom to do what you wanna do. He'll give your original idea a chance. Everybody feels free, no-one's under no pressure to do anything, so the best comes out. What you would only do at home you find you're doing it on the sound because you feel comfortable."

Waxings: 'Funny Dream' (with Frighty); 'Me No Ramp'.


ERROL BELLOT. Singer, East London. Nuff talent. interviewed in ECHOES 30.8.86. Music: 'Bubble Tonight', 'When I Was A Youth', 'New Kinda Sound', 'Music Fever', 'Sound Inna Fury'.

CAPTAIN LEAFIE. Singer, Oxford, Here to settle. Music: 'Can't Hold Me Down', 'Settle-N-Cool' (with Lieutenant Green).

LIEUTENANT GREEN. Singer, Oxford. Coming up strong. Music: 'Settle-N-Cool' with Leafie.

COLONEL MITE. DJ, Hackney. A big Mite. Music: 'Bless The Selector', 'Pretty Pretty'.

Italy, Sicily, Holland, Germany, California (soon?), Oxford, Hackney. Youth developing worldwide.


This article originally appeared in the 29 August issue of Black Echoes, 1987.