Augustus Pablo 1953 -1999

Reggae legend passes away at only 46...

Augustus Pablo died on Tuesday in Jamaica reportedly from pneumonia. His death leaves a gaping hole in the pantheon of dub greats.

As a teenager, keyboards man Augustus Pablo – born Horace Swaby – cut his first record ‘Iggy Iggy’ in Kingston in 1969, working as a producer, session man and label boss with Hot Stuff and Rockers records in the fervid early 70s Jamaican music scene.

Augustus Pablo soon established his trademark sound – called the Far East sound because of the supposed eastern sounds – which involved heavily reverbed drums, melodica and echoed vocals.


Although his most creative period was in the late 70s – though 1988’s ‘Rockers Comes East’ which upset purists by employing drum machines is excellent – there was a revival of interest in Pablo‘s work outside of Jamaica in the 90s as ambient and dub elements crept intop the fringes of the houses scene. Pablo played melodion on Primal Scream‘s ‘Star’ from ‘Vanishing Point’.

Recommended listening

‘King Tubby Meets The Rockers Uptown’

King Tubby mixed the flip-side ‘versions’ of Augustus Pablo‘s singles; the resultant 1977 album is the essence of dub at its peak.

‘East Of The River Nile’

Debut self-produced instrumental set from Pablo; mellow, cereberal and experimental.


‘Africa Must Be Free By 1983’/‘Africa Must Be Free By 1983 Dub’

Recorded with the youthful Hugh Mundell, ‘Africa…’ is inspirational militant roots music.

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