Today I bring you some Jamaican goodness from one Horace Swaby aka Augustus Pablo. Keyboard player, producer, record label owner, and master of the melodica, Pablo has put out a steady stream of Roots and Dub music throughout his entire career. Working along side such heavyweights as Bob Marley, Delroy Wilson, Horace Andy, I-Roy, Dillinger, and The Heptones among others, Pablo established himself as an all around writer, performer, and producer. His use of the meoldica, an instrument primarily used to teach school children to play music became his staple. Pablo’s early records, This Is Augustus Pablo with Clive Chin, Ital Dub with King Tubby as well his many other collaboration with Tubby King Tubby Meets the Rockers Uptown (as an example and a fave here at FMF) plus records like East of the River Nile would solidify him as a star in Reggae music. Pablo saw some success out of Jamaica into the 80’s here in the States as his career slowed down a bit, his audience broadened, and he continued to perform, record and produce (Junior Delgado and Dawn Penn, etc.). Augustus Pablo died in 1999 after battling a nerve disorder. His music and legacy live on.
Thriller, as a whole, is a great record, with Pablo diving into riddims and riffs from a bunch of different Reggae joints. He can easily put “Everything I Own” from Ken Boothe (you sheltered me from harm…., listen close you can hear it) into his “Marcus Garvey” song, while the song featured today, “Pablo Style” seems to be a variation of and borrows heavily from Big Youth’s “Marcus Garvey”. A version only Pablo can conjure up by putting his own touch to it. This pressing of Thriller is from 1980 on Echo Records, out of Middlesex in the UK. The original Thriller was on Nationwide a division of Ital Records and put out in 1974 (with a few different colored covers). I’ll take either pressing, it’s still a great LP. I have a funny story about Pablo, that may or may not be true. I have no way to confirm it. I used to have a Jamaican customer when I had my business, and when we expanded the record section, she said in the late 80’s you could see Pablo riding a ten speed (dreadlocks in tow) on the streets of Red Bank, NJ. She claimed to know him well, and I thought: why would someone lie about Augustus Pablo? That’s too random. That being said, enjoy some Pablo Style midweek.
Download Augustus Pablo – Pablo Style here.