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» BREAKING NEWS, Featured » AUGUSTUS PABLO: A VISIONARY WHO INTRODUCED A PROGRESSIVE BRAND OF REGGAE!

AUGUSTUS PABLO: A VISIONARY WHO INTRODUCED A PROGRESSIVE BRAND OF REGGAE!

BY HOWARD CAMPBELL—

 

Jamaica was a place to dream and experiment at the dawn of the 1970’s. A wave of militant nationalism overwhelmed the country’s youth.

Augustus Pablo

Augustus Pablo

A talented musician named Horace Swaby, fresh out of Kingston College, was one of those restless youth. In 1972 he recorded an exotic instrumental called Java that reflected the raw energy of reggae.

It was during that period that Swaby became Augustus Pablo. The melodica, an unfashionable instrument that dominated Java, became his signature instrument.

Java was produced by Clive Chin, his schoolmate. It was recorded at Randy’s studio in downtown Kingston, a facility owned by Chin’s father, producer Vincent “Randy” Chin.

For most of the 1970’s Pablo was part of a visionary group that introduced a progressive brand of reggae. Others included chanter Yabby You, singer Prince Allah, and producer Glen Brown.

pablo

King Tubbys Meets The Rockers Uptown, his 1976 collaboration album with the legendary engineer, is cutting-edge dub at its finest.

It was produced by Pablo for his Rockers label. Rockers was also the name of a new sound Pablo helped fashion. He was key in introducing its biggest exponents which included a charismatic singer named Jacob Miller.

In 1977, Pablo recorded East Of The River Nile, one of progressive reggae’s outstanding albums. At the start of the 1980’s he began working with a new wave of roots artistes including singers Hugh Mundell, Junior Reid, and Yami Bolo.

Pablo produced Mundell’s Africa Must Be Free By 1983, which remains one of the strongest-selling reggae albums in Europe.

Augustus Pablo died in June 1999 at age 44. His catalog of mystic sounds lives on through generous reissues by independent record companies like Shanachie Records in the United States.

Significantly, Pablo’s son Addis continues to honor his father’s legacy as leader of the group Suns of Dub.

 

 

 

 

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