Carlton "Bubblers" Ogilvie
|Carlton "Bubblers" Ogilvie
Photo: On-U Sound
Carlton "Bubblers" Ogilvie (not to be confused with Frankie "Bubbler" Waul of Dub Syndicate) came to prominence as a co-conspirator in "Crucial" Tony Phillips' Ruff Cutt production house in north London in the early years of the 1980s. Bubblers, together with Tony and Kenton Brown, formed the core of the house's Undivided Roots Band, who later metamorphosed into the Ruff Cutt Band; a group that remains much in demand for both studio session work and as a live backing band to either visiting international or UK resident reggae stars.
By the end of the 1970s, with "Crucial" Tony having a gained a pivotal role in the trans-Atlantic union of musicians known as Creation Rebel, increasingly featuring the young maverick Adrian Sherwood on mixing desk duties in search of a spacier reggae sound, it was no surprise that Bubblers would eventually join his fray as the newly formed On-U Sound label started spreading its wings.
In their only On-U Sound production, Undivided Roots' 1982 'England Cold' discoplate provided one of the first close studio encounters between Sherwood and Bubblers in a release that pre-dated the fully-formed Undivided Roots Band by a couple of years. Almost ever since, the smallprint of a sizeable proportion of On-U's and Adrian Sherwood's output generally has carried his name in its credits in some manifestation or other. Despite his underrecognised contributions over more than 20 years, a quick check-back will reveal his name prolifically on a range of On-U Sound productions by the likes of the New Age Steppers, African Head Charge, Bim Sherman, Dub Syndicate, Audio Active, Little Axe, Gary Clail, Adrian Sherwood himself, the Barmy Army and Ghetto Priest; the list goes on...
Though primarily known as a keyboardsman, this talented and versatile musician has also been credited on the piano, organ, synthesizer, melodica, drums, bass, vocals, and as an engineer, producer, remixer and writer, to give non-exhaustive list.
Bubblers has also sometimes worked with Adrian on his mixing projects for well-known off-label acts, such as Sinéad O'Connor, Sly & Robbie and Air. In his parallel career away from On-U Sound, his production and remixing skills have also been sought by the likes of Aswad and Maxi Priest.
Undoubtedly his most high profile collaborative work with Adrian Sherwood to date though has been 1995/6's 2 Badcard project and its associated album, 'Hustling Ability' (ON-U LP78). At a time when some critics were beginning to suggest that On-U Sound had passed its cutting edge and boundary re-defining best, the set proved to be a defiant and timely return to form.
The intended follow-up 'Salvation Sounds' set (ON-U CD1004) was destined not to materialize, and Bubblers returned to the familiar mid-ground once more. That said, some of the set's material has almost certainly seen light of day since, particularly on Sherwood's own subsequent 'solo' albums. So while on the surface of the massed On-U Sound back catalogue you will seldom see Bubblers' face, underneath, his contribution to its output continues to be profound and integral.