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 Fuller Up The Dead Musician Directory 
 
Horace Swaby 
Augustus Pablo
Myasthenia Gravis 
May 18, 1999
Age 46
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OBITUARY 
        
       
 
    Augusto Pablo Died
 
                    A widely influencial man as a reggae producer.  He died on Tuesday at the age 
                    of 46 in Kingston, Jamaica.  He was known for his great minor key songs that 
                    featured sparse lines for melodica with heavy reggae basslines and organ.  He 
                    did a lot for dub reggae in general.  Bob marley brought him into the studio to 
                    record early Wailer's tracks and later joined the house band at Randy's Studio. 
                    Later in his career he started his own labels including Hot Stuff, Rockers 
                    International, Yard and Message.  He produced recordings for such notable 
                    singers as Junior Delgado, Jacob Miller and Hugh Mundell and he released 
                    insturmentals under his own name.  The Instrumentals are paramount to 
                    modern dub.  Especailly those recorded in the mid 1970's including the 
                    albums "King Tubby Meets Rockers Uptown"  and "East of the River Nile."  He 
                    was a major roll in the development of Modern Dub, and did a lot for the whole 
                    reggae/ska genre. The man was an amazing player and clearly a very talented 
                    song writer.  Take notice and try to find some of his recordings.  He recorded 
                    from the late 60's well up into the upper 90's adding a more electronic feel to it 
                    with digital technology. 
 
      Tubi <tubi@aol.com> 
       


 
      KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) -- Jamaican musician Augustos Pablo, 
      popular in Europe and known for his plastic melodica, died Wednesday 
      after being in a coma for several days. He was 46. He was suffering from 
      a muscle disease. His most popular works include ``East of the River Nile,'' 
      ``Java,'' and ``Baby, I Love You.''  Pablo, whose real name was Horace 
      Swaby, recently released his latest album, Valley of Jehosophat. 
 
 
NY TIMES
Augusto Pablo, 46, Musician; Helped Shape Reggae's Sound

                        By JON PARELES 

                        Augustus Pablo, a widely influential reggae producer, died on 
                        Tuesday at University Hospital in Kingston, Jamaica. He was 46 
                        and lived in the hills outside Kingston. 

                        The cause was myasthenia gravis, a nerve disorder, said his 
                        brother, Garth Swaby. 

                        Pablo, whose original name was Horace Swaby, was known for 
                        what he called the "Far East sound": haunting, minor-key tunes 
                        with sparse lines for melodica (a harmonica with a keyboard) 
                        floating above deep bass lines and echoing keyboards. He was 
                        an architect of dub reggae, music in which deep bass lines and 
                        dizzying echo effects envelop a few shards of melody. 

                        Born in Kingston in 1953, he became a Rastafarian while still a 
                        teen-ager; he also taught himself to play piano. Bob Marley 
                        brought him into the studio to play keyboards on early Wailers 
                        recordings, and he began working regularly as a session musician 
                        in the late 1960s. He joined the house band at Randy's Studio, a 
                        leading Kingston studio. 

                        A friend introduced him to the melodica, and he took it into the 
                        studio when he had his first recording sessions as a leader in 
                        1969 with the producer Herman Chin-Loy. His first single, "Iggy 
                        Iggy," was credited to Augustus Pablo, a name Chin-Loy used 
                        for instrumentals. When Adams moved to the United States in 
                        1971, he left the Pablo name to Swaby. 

                        With his next single, "East of the River Nile," Swaby as Augustus 
                        Pablo inaugurated the Far East sound, and he followed it with his 
                        first major Jamaican hit, "Java," in 1972. While making solo 
                        recordings, often reworkings of past and present hits, he was also 
                        in demand as a studio musician, and he worked for a dozen 
                        leading Jamaican producers in the early '70s. In 1972 he started 
                        running his own labels, including Hot Stuff, Rockers International, 
                        Yard and Message. Pablo produced recordings for singers, 
                        notably Junior Delgado, Jacob Miller and Hugh Mundell, and he 
                        released instrumentals under his own name. 

                        Those instrumentals are cornerstones of modern dub reggae, 
                        particularly those he recorded in the mid-70s, including the 
                        albums "King Tubby Meets Rockers Uptown" (a 1976 album of 
                        Pablo instrumentals remixed by the engineer and producer King 
                        Tubby) and "East of the River Nile" from 1978. 

                        Pablo rarely toured; his milieu was the recording studio. He had 
                        hits in Jamaica as Junior Delgado's producer in the mid-80s, and 
                        he continued releasing his own instrumental recordings well into 
                        90s, adding digital technology to his older style. 

                        In addition to his brother, he is survived by his companion, Karen 
                        Scott; a son, Addis; a daughter, Isis; a sister, Claudia Swaby 
                        McBean, and his mother, Buelah Swaby.

            
PFLASH NEWS
 

                 Augustus Pablo established a militancy and urgency in reggae that
                 made it much more than a sound. He made it a valid movement. He
                 was the illest..." says P4M's Miguel Hurtado, a.k.a. lo-res dub
                 champion. 

                 Dub legend Pablo died this past Tuesday in Kingston, Jamaica,
                 impoverishing the world of roots reggae. Pablo, who was 46, was
                 believed to have been suffering from myasthenia gravis, a rare disease
                 that affects the nervous system. 

                 Pablo (born Horace Swaby) got his start in the reggae business as a
                 session musician, playing keyboards for Bob Marley on early Wailers
                 recordings in Kingston. In 1969, he cut his first solo record, "Iggy Iggy,"
                 which is considered the conceptual basis for the trademark dub sound
                 that Pablo is credited for pioneering. 

                 In 1972, he founded the legendary dub labels Hot Stuff and Rockers,
                 and opened the Rockers Record Shop in downtown Kingston. In the
                 early to middle '70s, considered the heyday of the Jamaican music
                 scene, Pablo began producing tracks for major reggae artists including
                 Earl 16, Hugh Mundell, King Tubby, and Junior Delgado, the latter a
                 frequent collaborator with whom he founded the movement known as
                 the University of Warikka Hill. 

                 Although Pablo's popularity slipped with the rise of dancehall reggae in
                 the early '80s, his trademark Far Eastern sound, featuring reverberated
                 drums, echoed vocals, and most notably, the use of the melodica, a
                 children's toy, constantly set new standards for production and
                 innovation. 

                 A revived interest in his work came in the early '90s, as dub-soaked
                 sounds came back into the mainstream. Early British artists such as Jah
                 Shaka and Bush Chemists combined their UK acid/ambient grooves
                 with Pablo-inspired reverbed keyboard and bass sequences, while
                 songs like "Perpetual Dawn" by the Orb, and "Star" by Primal Scream
                 (which featured Pablo on the melodion), tap directly into the rockers
                 spirit that he pioneered. 

                 Fans of Pablo's music, including P4M staff members CAB and Miguel,
                 recommend albums such as "King Tubby Meets the Rockers Uptown"
                 and "Who Say Jah No Dred" for an introduction to essential Pablo dub,
                 while tracks like "Africa Must Be Free By 1983" and "Java" are
                 well-known joints. --Saidah Blount 

 
 
 
       
 

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BIOGRAPHY
 
 
AKA born: Horace Swaby  
Born: 1954 in St. Andrews, Jamaica 

The name hasn't gained the international recognition of Bob Marley's, but Augustus Pablo is one of 
 reggae's legitimate legends, a pioneer who flipped the genre completely upside down. Along with 
 producer King Tubby, Pablo almost singlehandedly invented dub, wherein reggae's fat bass and 
 popping drums are twisted and contorted until they crack like bullwhips and rumble like syncopated 
 earthquakes. This is instrumental music: voices will emerge from the supple rhythms only to trickle 
 into an echo-shrouded void, forsaking their contribution to the bedrock grooves. And Pablo's 
 haunting splashes of melodica (which at times conjure images of Ennio Morricone's Sergio Leone 
 soundtracks) give his music a sound that is immediately identifiable and as singular as anything 
 Marley managed. As a youngster, Swaby hung around Kingston's jostling recording studios, 
 watching the masters. There he met the original Augustus Pablo -- the Upsetters keyboardist Glen 
 Adams -- who invented the name and played the melodica, the odd instrument that gave reggae its 
 "Far East" sound. Adams moved to the States in 1971 and left the concept to Swaby, who began 
 recording in 1972. Pablo released a string of brilliant singles over the next five or so years on his 
 Rockers label. The best of those singles are collected on Original Rockers; his best early album is 
 King Tubby Meets Rockers Uptown (1976). He continued working for decades, occasionally 
 striking a balance between the technical wizardry of his Tubby years and the slick production style of 
 modern reggae. Though Pablo's later work only occasionally matched the breathtaking innovation of 
 his prime material., 1981's East of the River Nile has equaled his early triumphs. The results aren't 
 always great but they are always interesting. -- John Floyd & Roger Steffens, All-Music Guide

 
 
  
 
 

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