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Artist Profile
Augustus Pablo
Jun 21, 1953 ~ May 18, 1999
“…The music of Augustus Pablo, created for its moment, and somehow, eternally right for each moment since.” Ian McCann
>>Featured Page
Real name:
Horace Swaby
Place of birth:
Jamaica
St. Andrew
Born Kingston 21st June 1953 Horace Swaby did not come from a musical background but is one of the most influential and important figures in musical history and, as Augustus Pablo, he evolved a style whose reverberations would sound far outside the confines of reggae music. His father was an accountant and one of his clients was Mrs Sonia Pottinger, proprietor of the Gay Feet musical empire, and Pablo recalled her giving him a dub plate of Ken Boothe's 'Lady With The Starlight'. "I had it in my house a year before it came out..." He would practise on the family piano in his comfortable, middle class home and also built his own guitar using fishing line for strings. "I just loved the sound of music – all kind of music. Just music was inside me from early days." He first recorded for Coxsone Dodd(CS Dodd) at Studio One in the early seventies.

"Coxsone never really put them out. Three organ instrumentals... one was 'Moving Away'. Me have an idea 'pon it and just play it... and two original rhythms. Sylvan Morris and Larry Marshall supervised the sessions. This was just before Herman... 'Real Rock', 'Swing Easy' me did love them tune!" Augustus Pablo

Herman Chin Roy had been using a name he had found in a Mexican magazine to credit instrumental releases on his Aquarius label believing that the enigmatic 'Augustus Pablo' pseudonym gave the records a mysterious feel. In 1971 the young Horace Swaby was in the Aquarius Record Shop with a melodica that had been lent to him by the daughter of a family friend. Herman asked him if he could play the instrument and was so moved by the sounds emanating from Horace's melodica that he immediately booked studio time at Randy's(Randys) Studio 17 for the following week. This historic first session produced 'Iggy Iggy', a version to The Heptones' 'Why Did You Leave', and on this, and subsequent releases such as 'The Red Sea' and 'East Of The River Nile', the pair established a sound that would dominate reggae for years to come. Horace Swaby actually became Augustus Pablo and the music that he created would for ever after convey the depth of mystery that Herman had intended the 'Augustus Pablo' name to portray.

"Pablo using the name was never a problem." Herman Chin Roy

The following year Pablo moved on to work with Clive Chin an old school friend from Kingston College. Clive had gone straight into the family business at Randy's(Randys) after leaving KC and 'Java', a Pablo melodica instrumental with harmonies from The Chosen Few, was a huge hit and was voted 'Top Instrumental Record' for 1972. Further versions of the 'Java' rhythm ensued and Clive and Pablo then followed these with one of the most accomplished long playing sets ever made: 'This Is Augustus Pablo'.

"Over the past years reggae has generated a trend in and 'round Jamaica and other parts of the world. Today the type of sound which the younger generation digs is the rebel rock music which is here now."
'This Is Augustus Pablo'

It was King Tubby who realised that the melodica was at its most haunting when played in minor keys and it was at Tubby's prompting that Pablo's 'Far East' signature sound was born.

"Tubby's a my brother! Him buy xylophone for me... him did show me certain things and him come like the man who pass the music... just say in a them type of key there..." Augustus Pablo

In 1972 Pablo began to produce records for his Hot Stuff and Rockers labels but his first self production, 'Kid Ralph', came out on Panther a Dynamic Sounds' subsidiary label. The first release on Pablo's legendary Rockers label was 'Skanking Easy' a cut to a tune originally featured in 'Fiddler On The Roof' that The Soul Vendors had adapted and adopted a few years previously at Studio One as 'Swing Easy'. He was to return to Brentford Road rhythms for many of his greatest releases, not out of any lack of inspiration, but as part of his vision of expanding the myriad possibilities inherent in these tunes.

"The first records nah sell much. We'd only press 100/100, 200/200 or 300/300 at a time." Augustus Pablo

But reworking or doing over these musical templates became more and more popular as the decade progressed and the direction that Pablo had taken in 1972/73 was later carried to its inevitable conclusion by Bunny Striker Lee, the Hookim brothers(Joseph Hookim) at Channel One and Joe Gibbs(Joel Gibson) and Errol T(Errol Thompson) as The Mighty Two. As well as recording for his own labels Pablo also cut countless classic sides for many other producers including two different versions of Lee 'Scratch' Perry(Lee Perry)'s classic 'Fever' rhythm entitled 'Hot And Cold', 'Fat Baby' for Keith Hudson and 'Bass And Drums Version' and 'Bells Of Death' for Derrick Harriott.

Pablo's name, and the concept of dub, was first introduced to an international audience in 1975 when Jacob Miller sung 'Baby I Love You So' (over Pablo's 'Cassava Piece' rhythm from 1973) which Tubby then took apart and rebuilt as 'King Tubbys Meets Rockers Uptown' on the B side. The Tubby's version was promoted to the A side when Island Records released the record in London and the music press belatedly began to sit up and take notice of this starting new phenomenon. Two years later a selection of Tubby's B sides for Pablo were collected together for the epochal 'King Tubbys Meets Rockers Uptown' album. This set has no equal: if you want to know what dub is all about, what it means and, perhaps most importantly of all, what it meant nearly thirty five years ago then there is no better place to start than 'King Tubbys Meets Rockers Uptown'. Originally released on Brad Osborne's New York based Clocktower label this faultless collection has never been out of press since 1977... and has never been bettered.

"First LP me put out. Me want Tubbys to mix a dub LP in stereo but I see dub different from how everybody else see it. Me nuh invent dub! (That was) a whole class of us together drawing out the rhythm and just echo it. So them call it dub.......but some people give different meanings for dub. Me is a man who try to do something new. Me nuh follow nothing!" Augustus Pablo

Over the next two decades, as each successive wave of musical styles and fashions ebbed and flowed, Pablo continued to make music completely unmoved by whatever happened to be this week's flavour of the month. Fads came and fads went but Pablo's transcendental releases on his Rockers and Message labels were always timeless and full of a power beyond the here and now that, at times, seemed to stretch into infinity.

"I try to create in everything I do. In every move I make. Not only music alone. In everything I do. I'm not in the studio every day. I don't burn out a lot of energy that way. I turn it into myself and the works...

I just lock off playing for other people. Comes a time when you draw in 'pon producers. Anything they can do we can do better! Most of the producers well... it's really musicians who make the music. They build up a different vibe. Me name musician and them only name producer! So me just start producing myself."
Augustus Pablo



But Augustus Pablo refused to take the credit that rightly belonged to him: "People call it successful. I just doing the works, you know." He died 18th May 1999 of Myasthenia Gravis, a rare nerve disorder, at a tragically early age and, while his health had visibly deteriorated over the last ten years of his life, his music continued to be an evangelical confession of faith. A deeply religious man many of his records cite Haile Selassie as co-producer but Pablo's deep knowledge and understanding of Jamaican musical history formed another cornerstone of his work. The spirituality of his music was underpinned at all times by deep, dark rhythms and its intangibility was both unprecedented and unparalleled in popular music. His Rockers International Record Shop on Orange Street continues to this day to supply the Rockers in downtown Kingston and Pablo's music will live everywhere for evermore.
 
Related artist(s):
King Tubby
Jacob Miller
Hugh Mundell
Yami Bolo
Label Profile
Rockers
1972 ~
>>Show additional info
 
Hit title(s)
CD Chanting Dub: With The Help Of The Father - Rockers UK
¥2480
No Stock
LP Original Rockers Volume 2 - Rockers
¥1780
No Stock
LP Africa Must Be Free By 1983 Dub (1978) - Rockers
¥1780
No Stock
LP King Tubbys Meets Rockers Uptown - Clocktower CA
¥1880
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LP Rockers Meets King Tubby's In A Fire House - Rockers
¥1580
No Stock
LP Africa Must Be Free By 1983 (Jacket Damage) - Rockers
¥1780
No Stock
LP East Of The River Nile - Rockers
¥1780
No Stock
LP Original Rockers - Rockers
¥1580
No Stock
LP King Tubbys Meets Rockers Uptown - Rockers
¥1680
No Stock
LP Time & Place (1978-1980) - Rockers UK
¥2980
No Stock
LP Chanting Dub: With The Help Of The Father - Rockers
¥1780
No Stock
LP Authentic Golden Melodies - Rockers
¥1880
No Stock
LP King David's Melody - Rockers
¥1580
No Stock
LP Let's Get Started - Rockers
¥1680
No Stock
vinyl 12" Earth Wind & Fire - Rockers
¥1380
No Stock
vinyl 10" Satta; Satta Dub - Rockers UK
¥1280
No Stock
vinyl 10" Keep On Knocking; Dub - Rockers UK
¥1680
No Stock
vinyl 7" Babylon World - Rockers
¥570
No Stock
vinyl 7" Unfinished Melody - Rockers
¥600
No Stock
vinyl 7" Let's Get Together - Rockers/Pablo Int'l.
¥499
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vinyl 7" Black Gun - Rockers
¥600
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vinyl 7" East Of The River Nile - Rockers
¥600
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vinyl 7" Who Say Jah No Dread - Rockers/Pablo Int'l.
¥600
No Stock
vinyl 7" One In The Spirit - Rockers
¥600
No Stock
vinyl 7" Baby I Love You So - Rockers/Yard
¥600
No Stock
vinyl 7" El Rockers - Rockers
¥600
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vinyl 7" False Rasta - Rockers
¥600
No Stock
vinyl 7" Pablo's Theme Song - Rockers/Pablo Int'l.
¥600
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vinyl 7" Africa Must Be Free By 1983 (1978) - Rockers/Pablo Int'l.
¥600
No Stock
vinyl 7" Young Generation - Rockers
¥600
No Stock
vinyl 7" Say So - Rockers
¥600
No Stock
vinyl 7" Let's Get Started - Rockers
¥399
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vinyl 7" I Stand Black - Rockers/Message
¥399
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vinyl 7" Think Twice - Rockers
¥570
No Stock
vinyl 7" Golden Seal - Rockers
¥600
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vinyl 7" Only Jah Jah Knows - Rockers
¥600
No Stock
vinyl 7" Sukie Yakie - Rockers
¥700
No Stock
vinyl 7" Don't Stay Away (Feeling Alright Girl) - Rockers
¥570
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vinyl 7" Jah Will Provide - Pressure Sounds UK/Rockers
¥1180
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>>Best seller(s)
 
Related label(s):
Message
Hot Stuff
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Label Index
Rhythm Index
Producer Index

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Description of item
[All Items] → [7"] → [Roots Reggae] → [Augustus Pablo] → [Augustus Pablo]
Augustus Pablo - Sukie Yakie
No Stock
listen
vinyl 7" 7"
Augustus Pablo
Sukie Yakie
Rockers
Info: Adapted
¥700 (US$6.38)
Rating: 12345
Genre: Roots Reggae
Sub Genre: Augustus Pablo
Produced by: Horace Swaby
Approx. year: 1986
Date added: Oct 27, 2005
Date re-stocked: Apr 2, 2014
Country: Jamaica
Music type: Melodica Inst. B: Version
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SIDE A:
listen Sukie Yakie
SIDE B:
Version (Info: Adapted)
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Best seller(s) in this genre, other formats:
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Addis Pablo, Suns Of Dub - Selassie Souljahz In Dub (10 EP) (Picture Sleeve)
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Augustus Pablo - Original Rockers
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Original Rockers (LP)
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This artist's best seller(s):
Dennis Brown - Silhouettes
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Silhouettes (7")
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Augustus Pablo - Bedroom Mazurka
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Augustus Pablo - Hot & Cold (Label Damage)
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Hot & Cold (Label Damage) (7")
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Augustus Pablo - East Of The River Nile
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East Of The River Nile (7")
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Augustus Pablo - Java (side B: Bad Press)
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Java (side B: Bad Press) (7")
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This label's best seller(s):
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Augustus Pablo - East Of The River Nile
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Best seller(s) which is using this rhythm track:
Snow - Informer
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Derrick Harriott - Groovy Situation
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Groovy Situation (7")
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I'm Sorry (7")
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Richie Stephens, Chevelle Franklyn - You Don't Have To Be A Star
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This producer's best seller(s):
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Augustus Pablo - East Of The River Nile
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Augustus Pablo - Original Rockers
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