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
featured sparse lines for melodica with heavy reggae basslines and organ.
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
Later in his career he started his own labels including Hot Stuff, Rockers
International, Yard and Message. He produced recordings for such
singers as Junior Delgado, Jacob Miller and Hugh Mundell and he released
insturmentals under his own name. The Instrumentals are paramount
modern dub. Especailly those recorded in the mid 1970's including
albums "King Tubby Meets Rockers Uptown" and "East of the River Nile."
was a major roll in the development of Modern Dub, and did a lot for the
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.
from the late 60's well up into the upper 90's adding a more electronic
feel to it
with digital technology.
KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) -- Jamaican musician
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.
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.
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
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
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