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Artist Hall of Fame

Augustus PabloText by Harry Hawks

“…The music of Augustus Pablo, created for its moment, and somehow, eternally right for each moment since.” Ian McCann
Date Added: Nov 26, 2011, Date Updated: Mar 1, 2019 Copyright (C) 2019 Dub Store Sound Inc.
Real Name: Horace Swaby
Jun 21, 1953 - May 18, 1999
Place of Birth: St. Andrew
Jamaica
Related Artist(s):
King Tubby
Jacob Miller
Hugh Mundell
Yami Bolo
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.
Nov 26, 2011 (Mar 1, 2019 Update) Text by Harry Hawks
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Hit titles
Augustus Pablo - This Is Augustus Pablo
CD Augustus Pablo - This Is Augustus Pablo Impact US/Above Rock
  
¥2180 (US$20.12)
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Augustus Pablo - This Is Augustus Pablo (15 Tracks)
CD Augustus Pablo - This Is Augustus Pablo (15 Tracks) VP US
  
¥2180 ¥1280 (US$11.81)
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Impact All Stars - Java Java Java Java (Dub)
CD Impact All Stars - Java Java Java Java (Dub) VP US
  
¥1980 (US$18.27)
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Augustus Pablo - King Tubbys Meets Rockers Uptown (Jacket Damage)
CD Augustus Pablo - King Tubbys Meets Rockers Uptown (Jacket Damage) Clocktower CA
  
¥2180 ¥1980 (US$18.27)
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Augustus Pablo - Ital Dub: Mixed by King Tubby
CD Augustus Pablo - Ital Dub: Mixed by King Tubby Clocktower CA
  
¥1980 (US$18.27)
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Augustus Pablo - Chanting Dub: With The Help Of The Father
CD Augustus Pablo - Chanting Dub: With The Help Of The Father Rockers UK
¥2480 (US$22.89)
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Augustus Pablo - Message Music: Augustus Pablo's Digital Productions 1986-1994
CD Augustus Pablo - Message Music: Augustus Pablo's Digital Productions 1986-1994 Pressure Sounds UK
  
¥2280 (US$21.04)
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Augustus Pablo - Message Music: Augustus Pablo's Digital Productions 1986-1994 (Japanese Edition)
CD Augustus Pablo - Message Music: Augustus Pablo's Digital Productions 1986-1994 (Japanese Edition) Pressure Sounds UK/Beatink JPN
  
¥2263 (US$20.88)
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Augustus Pablo - Mystic World Of Augustus Pablo: The Rockers Story (4CD's + 1 DVD + Booklet)
CD Augustus Pablo - Mystic World Of Augustus Pablo: The Rockers Story (4CD's + 1 DVD + Booklet) Shanachie US
  
¥7580 (US$69.95)
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Augustus Pablo - Red Sea (1970-1973)
LP Augustus Pablo - Red Sea (1970-1973) Black Solidarity UK Info: Deleted
  
¥2780 (US$25.66)
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Augustus Pablo - This Is Augustus Pablo
LP Augustus Pablo - This Is Augustus Pablo Impact US/Kaya
  
¥2880 (US$26.58)
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Impact All Stars - Java Java Java Java (Dub) (Side B-Trk 1:Skip)
LP Impact All Stars - Java Java Java Java (Dub) (Side B-Trk 1:Skip) VP US
  
¥2980 (US$27.50)
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Augustus Pablo - This Is Augustus Pablo (15 Tracks)
LP Augustus Pablo - This Is Augustus Pablo (15 Tracks) VP US
  
¥3180 (US$29.35)
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Augustus Pablo - King Tubbys Meets Rockers Uptown
LP Augustus Pablo - King Tubbys Meets Rockers Uptown Clocktower CA
  
¥2680 (US$24.73)
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Augustus Pablo - Original Rockers
LP Augustus Pablo - Original Rockers Rockers
  
¥1580 (US$14.58)
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Augustus Pablo - King Tubbys Meets Rockers Uptown
LP Augustus Pablo - King Tubbys Meets Rockers Uptown Rockers
  
¥1680 (US$15.50)
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Augustus Pablo - Authentic Golden Melodies
LP Augustus Pablo - Authentic Golden Melodies Rockers
  
¥1880 (US$17.35)
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Augustus Pablo - King David's Melody
LP Augustus Pablo - King David's Melody Rockers
  
¥1580 (US$14.58)
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Augustus Pablo - Ital Dub: Mixed by King Tubby
LP Augustus Pablo - Ital Dub: Mixed by King Tubby Clocktower CA
  
¥3180 (US$29.35)
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Augustus Pablo - Africa Must Be Free By 1983 Dub (1978)
LP Augustus Pablo - Africa Must Be Free By 1983 Dub (1978) Rockers
¥1780 (US$16.43)
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Augustus Pablo - East Of The River Nile
LP Augustus Pablo - East Of The River Nile Rockers
  
¥1780 (US$16.43)
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Augustus Pablo - Chanting Dub: With The Help Of The Father
LP Augustus Pablo - Chanting Dub: With The Help Of The Father Rockers
  
¥1780 (US$16.43)
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Augustus Pablo - Rockers Meets King Tubby's In A Fire House (ジャケット・ダメージ)
LP Augustus Pablo - Rockers Meets King Tubby's In A Fire House (ジャケット・ダメージ) Rockers
¥1980 (US$18.27)
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Augustus Pablo - Rockers Inna Hungry Town
LP Augustus Pablo - Rockers Inna Hungry Town Hungry Town UK Info: Deleted
  
¥2880 (US$26.58)
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Augustus Pablo - Message Music: Augustus Pablo's Digital Productions 1986-1994 (2LP)
LP Augustus Pablo - Message Music: Augustus Pablo's Digital Productions 1986-1994 (2LP) Pressure Sounds UK
  
¥3600 (US$33.22)
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Scotty, Augustus Pablo - Draw Your Breakes; Brake Riddim
12" Scotty, Augustus Pablo - Draw Your Breakes; Brake Riddim / Scotty - Sesame Street; Bells Of Death Crystal Loser B: Stop That Train
  
¥1380 (US$12.74)
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Augustus Pablo, Bongo Herman; Winston Wright - Java Passion; Wood Pecker
10" Augustus Pablo, Bongo Herman;Winston Wright - Java Passion; Wood Pecker / Impact All Stars - Forward The Bass (Nick Manasseh Remix) Impact US Java
  
¥1380 (US$12.74)
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Joe Higgs; Augustus Pablo - Creation; Creative Version
10" Joe Higgs;Augustus Pablo - Creation; Creative Version / Pluggy Satchmo - 23rd Psalm; 23rd Version PK Records UK
  
¥1580 (US$14.58)
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Augustus Pablo - Satta; Satta Dub
10" Augustus Pablo - Satta; Satta Dub Rockers UK Satta Massa Ganna
  
¥1280 (US$11.81)
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Augustus Pablo - Ammagiddeon Dub
7" Augustus Pablo - Ammagiddeon Dub Pressure Sounds UK/Message Drum Song
  
¥1580 (US$14.58)
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Augustus Pablo - East Of The River Nile
7" Augustus Pablo - East Of The River Nile / Herman's All Stars - River Nile Version Trojan UK/Big Shot East Of The River Nile
¥1200 (US$11.07)
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Augustus Pablo - Hot & Cold
7" Augustus Pablo - Hot & Cold / Jah T - Lick The Pipe Peter Black Art UK Fever
  
¥1280 (US$11.81)
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Augustus Pablo, Lloyd Young - Our Man Flint
7" Augustus Pablo, Lloyd Young - Our Man Flint / Groovers - Pi-a-ring Black Art UK
  
¥1480 (US$13.66)
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Augustus Pablo - Java
7" Augustus Pablo - Java Impact Java
  
¥570 (US$5.26)
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Augustus Pablo - Java (side B: Bad Press)
7" Augustus Pablo - Java (side B: Bad Press) Impact Us Java
  
¥399 (US$3.68)
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Augustus Pablo - Satan Side (Pablo Take) (Colored Vinyl)
7" Augustus Pablo - Satan Side (Pablo Take) (Colored Vinyl) / Keith Hudson, Chuckles - Satan Version (Satan Side) Mafia Satan Side
  
¥600 (US$5.54)
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Augustus Pablo - August
7" Augustus Pablo - August / Max Edwards - Inner City Blues LMS
  
¥570 (US$5.26)
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Augustus Pablo - Black Gun
7" Augustus Pablo - Black Gun Rockers Keep On Knocking
  
¥600 (US$5.54)
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Augustus Pablo - Jah Light
7" Augustus Pablo - Jah Light Clocktower CA When I Fall In Love
  
¥1180 (US$10.89)
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Augustus Pablo - Pablo's Theme Song
7" Augustus Pablo - Pablo's Theme Song / King Tubby - Tubby's Dub Song Rockers/Pablo Int'l. Pablo's Theme Song
  
¥600 (US$5.54)
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Augustus Pablo - Coconut Oil (Black Out)
7" Augustus Pablo - Coconut Oil (Black Out) Techniques Black Out B: Stalag
  
¥980 (US$9.04)
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Augustus Pablo - Havendale Rock
7" Augustus Pablo - Havendale Rock / Dillinger - Downtown Rock Rockers
¥600 (US$5.54)
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Augustus Pablo - Unfinished Melody
7" Augustus Pablo - Unfinished Melody Rockers Unfinished Melody
  
¥600 (US$5.54)
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Tetrack, Augustus Pablo - Let's Get Together
7" Tetrack, Augustus Pablo - Let's Get Together / Rockers All Stars - Black Ants Lane Rockers/Pablo Int'l.
  
¥570 ¥499 (US$4.61)
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Augustus Pablo - Vibrate Onn
7" Augustus Pablo - Vibrate Onn / Upsetters - Vibrate Dub Black Art UK Vibrate On - Augustus Pablo
  
¥1280 (US$11.81)
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Augustus Pablo - Orange Street Special
7" Augustus Pablo - Orange Street Special / Frankie Paul - Weed Without Seed Techniques Swing Easy
  
¥600 (US$5.54)
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Dennis Brown, Augustus Pablo - Spirit Of Umoja
7" Dennis Brown, Augustus Pablo - Spirit Of Umoja Emmanuel Music UK Swing Easy
  
¥1100 (US$10.15)
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Augustus Pablo - Pablo In The Moonlight City
7" Augustus Pablo - Pablo In The Moonlight City Fatman UK Pablo In The Moonlight City
  
¥980 (US$9.04)
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Augustus Pablo - Golden Seal
7" Augustus Pablo - Golden Seal / Pablo, Soul Syndicate - Myhrr Dub Rockers
  
¥980 (US$9.04)
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Augustus Pablo - Sukie Yakie
7" Augustus Pablo - Sukie Yakie Rockers Info: Adapted
  
¥700 (US$6.46)
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Augustus Pablo - Credential Instrumental
7" Augustus Pablo - Credential Instrumental Pressure Sounds UK/Message
  
¥1120 ¥952 (US$8.79)
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Augustus Pablo - A Java Instrumental
7" Augustus Pablo - A Java Instrumental Pressure Sounds UK/Message
  
¥1580 (US$14.58)
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Recent arrival(s)
Augustus Pablo - Joy Bells
7" Augustus Pablo - Joy Bells Kc Soul Puff/Reggae Fever EU
  
¥1480 (US$13.66)
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Best selling CD(s)
Augustus Pablo - Dubbing In A Africa
CD Augustus Pablo - Dubbing In A Africa Clocktower CA
  
¥1980 (US$18.27)
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Best selling LP(s)
Augustus Pablo - This Is Augustus Pablo
LP Augustus Pablo - This Is Augustus Pablo Impact US/Kaya
  
¥2880 (US$26.58)
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Augustus Pablo - Rockers Inna Hungry Town
LP Augustus Pablo - Rockers Inna Hungry Town Hungry Town UK Info: Deleted
  
¥2880 (US$26.58)
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Augustus Pablo - Meets Lee Perry & The Wailers Band - Rare Dubs 1970-1971
LP Augustus Pablo - Meets Lee Perry & The Wailers Band - Rare Dubs 1970-1971 Jamaican Recordings UK
  
¥2380 (US$21.96)
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Augustus Pablo - This Is Augustus Pablo (15 Tracks)
LP Augustus Pablo - This Is Augustus Pablo (15 Tracks) VP US
  
¥3180 (US$29.35)
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Augustus Pablo - Dubbing With The Don
LP Augustus Pablo - Dubbing With The Don Jamaican Recordings UK
  
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Best selling 10/12"(s)
Alton Ellis; Augustus Pablo - Too Late To Turn Back Now; Too Late
12" Alton Ellis;Augustus Pablo - Too Late To Turn Back Now; Too Late All Tone UK Tisha'n - Prodigal Son (Bside)
  
¥1580 (US$14.58)
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Freddie McKay; Leonard Santic All Stars - I'm A Free Man; Santic Special; Version 2
10" Freddie McKay;Leonard Santic All Stars - I'm A Free Man; Santic Special; Version 2 / Augustus Pablo - Hap Ki Do; Hap Ki Do Version Pressure Sounds UK/Santic
  
¥1680 (US$15.50)
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Augustus Pablo, Rhythm Force - Skanking Easy; Skank Version
10" Augustus Pablo, Rhythm Force - Skanking Easy; Skank Version / Youth Dellinger;Augustus Pablo - Down Town Rock; Havendale Rock Hot Stuff/Onlyroots EU Swing Easy
  
¥2180 (US$20.12)
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Augustus Pablo - Classical Illusion (The Sun) (Duplate Mix)
10" Augustus Pablo - Classical Illusion (The Sun) (Duplate Mix) Dug Out UK
  
¥1980 (US$18.27)
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Hugh Mundell - Feeling Alright; Feeling Dub
12" Hugh Mundell - Feeling Alright; Feeling Dub / Augustus Pablo - Israel In Harmony; Israel Dub Rockers/Onlyroots EU Swing Easy
  
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¥1526 (US$14.08) Limited Time Offer
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Best selling 7"(s)
Dennis Brown - Silhouettes
7" Dennis Brown - Silhouettes / Augustus Pablo, Crystalites - Bass & Drum Version Move & Groove/Dub Store Records JPN Shilhouettes
   'Silhouettes' is one of Dennis Brown's earliest recordings and a good old Reggae hit. The flip side features Augustus Pablo's melodica cut to the A-side. This peaceful piece proves that the early sound of King Tubby is the greatest of all.
¥1380 (US$12.74)
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Augustus Pablo - Bedroom Mazurka
7" Augustus Pablo - Bedroom Mazurka / Scotty - Children Children Move & Groove/Dub Store Records JPN Tonight
   On Keith & Tex' classic tune 'Tonight,' Augustus Pablo's melodica echoes along the entire track mysteriously, while the fascinating female vocalist Fay quotes breathy lines from the popular German soft porn film Bedroom Mazurka. The flip side features Scotty's DJ version to 'Tonight.'
¥1380 (US$12.74)
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Augustus Pablo - Bells Of Death
7" Augustus Pablo - Bells Of Death / Scotty - Sesame Street Move & Groove/Dub Store Records JPN Loser
   Another popular tune in Harriott's production, performed by melodica wizard Augustus Pablo. Although this is another movie theme, this piece is a straight and great instrumental version of a Rocksteady classic, featuring melodica and bongo percussion. Scotty's wicked deejay appears on the B-side again.
¥1380 (US$12.74)
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Augustus Pablo - Stabiliser (Single Take)
7" Augustus Pablo - Stabiliser (Single Take) / Alton Ellis - All We Need Is Love Stamma/Dub Store Records JPN
   The true genius Keith Hudson introduced highly mutational sounds and sound effects at the time and this Pablo organ cut of “Peter & Judas” is no exception. Slightly different cut to the one included in “Flesh of My Skin Blood of My Blood” known as the monumental and arguably the first reggae concept album that is rated as important as “Blackboard Jungle Dub” in dub music. This cut is the fat original take mixed prior to the LP.
¥1480 (US$13.66)
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Horace Andy - Rock To Sleep
7" Horace Andy - Rock To Sleep / Augustus Pablo - Dub To Sleep Rockers UK
  
¥1280 (US$11.81)
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