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Augustus Pablo

From Academic Kids

Horace Swaby (June 21, 1954May 18, 1999), better known as Augustus Pablo, was a Jamaican reggae and dub music record producer and keyboardist, popular during the last half of the 20th century. He was perhaps the first person to use the melodica as a viable musical instrument.

He was born in St. Andrew, Jamaica and learned to play the organ in Kingston College School. It was at that point an unnamed girl lent him the melodica. Fascinated by the instrument, Pablo rarely put it down. He also met Herman Chin Loy; the Chin family owned an influential record store in Kingston. Swaby recorded "Iggy Iggy" in Clive's father's studio, Aquarius Records. He took the name Augustus Pablo for this recording.

After releasing a few more singles, Pablo came out with "East of the River Nile", a unique blend of East Asian and Jamaican sounds, and the song became a moderate hit. Augustus Pablo popularized the use of the melodica, essentially a childs toy in Reggae music. He soon joined Now Generation (Mikey Chung's band) and played the keyboard with them while his friend, Clive, began his own career as a record producer. Pablo and Chin recorded "Java" 1972 together, as soon as Pablo quit Now Generation and Clive was able to get the studio time, the instrumental was a massive hit, and launched Pablo's solo career. He recorded with Chin and various others, including Leonard Chin, his uncle, and Lee Perry. He scored another smash hit with "My Desire" (John Holt).

Pablo formed labels Hot Stuff, Message and Rockers named after his brother's soundsystem Rockers, and released a steady stream of well-received instrumentals, mostly versions of older hits from Studio One. In spite of his success with Rockers, Pablo's seminal 1974 album, This Is Augustus Pablo was recorded with Clive and Pat Chin. This was followed by a collaboration with the legendary reggae engineer King Tubby to great acclaim, releasing 1975's Ital Dub.

In the later 1970s, Pablo produced a steady stream of hits, including the hit "Black Star Liner" (Fred Locks). He also worked with Dillinger, Norris Reid, I-Roy, Jacob Miller, Te -Track, The Immortals, Paul Blackman, Earl Sixteen, Roman Stewart, Lacksley Castell, Heptones, Ricky Grant, Delroy Williams Horace Andy and Freddy McKay. This period was eventually commemorated with critically acclaimed L.P's including King Tubby Meets the Rockers Uptown and Hugh Mundell's classic Africa Must be Free by 1983. This was followed by East of the River Nile (1978, "Original Rockers" 1979, "Rockers Meets King Tubbys In A Firehouse"another acclaimed hit album.

In the 1980s, Pablo's career slowed significantly. He had begun to establish an American audience, and released Rising Sun in 1986 to good reviews and sales. Also in 1986 Pablo had his photograph taken in Ladbroke Grove, London by respected filmaker and artist Pogus Caesar. The rare image of Pablo can be seen in the exhibition Muzik Kinda Sweet, a celebration of legendary black musicans at OOM Gallery a UK based online gallery. Pablo also produced memorable hit's, including "Ragamuffin Year" (Junior Delgado), "Humble Yourself" Asher & Tremble and "Far Far Away" Ricky Grant. In addition, Pablo toured extensively throughout the world, making a memorable live album in Tokyo in 1987. That same year, Rockers Come East re-established his career, and he began to release a series of critically acclaimed though somewhat inaccessible albums in the 1990s, including Blowing With the Wind and also producing several, such as Night and Day (Dawn Penn) and Jah Made Them All (Yami Bolo).

Pablo died of the nerve disorder Myasthenia gravis on May 18, 1999, he was known for his spiritual beliefs in Rasta.

External link

1986 London UK. Taken from the exhibition Muzik Kinda Sweetsl:Augustus Pablo

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