Augustus Pablo’s King David’s Melody is a collection of self-produced singles issued between circa 1975 and 1982 and it was originally released in 1983 and has since been reissued several times, often with bonus material.
The latest reissue comes from Greensleeves – a label that has released it two times before – and it collects the original album along with nine extra dubs sourced from the original singles.
This album showcases Augustus Pablo in all his glory. The original album contains mostly melodica-led instrumentals and the sonic landscape is airy and relaxed with uplifting melodies, while the dubs provides a more militant and trippy side of this musical mastermind.
Reggae powerhouse VP Records’ subsidiary Greensleeves has started the year with a number of solid reissues. First off was three rare Glen Brown compilations from the late 80s and now the label has put out Horace Andy’s hard to find In the Light and In the Light Dub along with Augustus Pablo’s classic Original Rockers.
I have noted some critique on these releases. Some say it’s easy money dropping reissues and that’s why VP is doing it. It’s probably cheaper to release an already recorded album, but for me that’s not the case. I think VP is doing the right thing reissuing solid and hard to find – sometimes downright impossible – albums and singles. These reissues – at least the CD and digital versions – also come with added tracks. Sure, they have reissued before, but there are new generations out there, generations that haven’t heard these great sets.
Augustus Pablo’s Original Rockers album was originally released in 1979. It’s a collection of severely rare singles from his early days, circa 1972-1975, and showcases three creative masterminds – Augustus Pablo himself along with legendary mixing engineers King Tubby and Prince Jammy, the former gracing a few cuts with his dub wizardry.
Original Rockers is extraordinarily innovative and is a mostly instrumental set. This expanded version comes however with vocal cuts from Dillinger, Big Youth, Leroy Sibbles, The Heptones and Bongo Pat.
Augustus Pablo’s dreamy melodica floats around in the mixes and standout cuts include Up Wareika Hill, the militant Jah Dread, the mellow Thunder Clap and Park Lane Special, a superb version of Hugh Mundell’s classic Africa Must Be Free By 1983.
Original Rockers is the essence of Augustus Pablo and the album now gets a well-deserved reissue.
Jacob Miller. Augusts Pablo. King Tubby. Three highly revered names in reggae. And these three legends make up the astonishing Who Say Jah No Dread – The Classic Augustus Pablo Sessions, a collection that has recently been reissued by Greensleeves.
The original version of this crucial album was posthumously released in 1992, collected 12 tracks and was only about 30 minutes long. It had six vocal cuts and six super-heavy melodica-led dubstrumentals from the great Augustus Pablo. The new remastered deluxe edition expands the original album with ten tracks adding dubplates, versions and next cuts.
Who Say Jah no Dread is dark, deep and oozes with spirituality and creativity. It was recorded in 1974 and 1975 and offers something very different to the disco/reggae/pop that Jacob Miller later recorded with Inner Circle. Jacob Miller’s distinctive, soaring and heartfelt voice cries over the monumental bass lines and militant drums provided by some of Jamaica’s most skilled session musicians.
For this edition Greensleeves have added two different sleeve notes – newly written ones by Harry Wise and the original by Ian McCann. Together they make up a highly informative 12 page booklet.
This album is not for the faint-hearted and essential doesn’t half describe this set of classic cuts and rare gems. And alongside the CD version comes a 7”x7” box collecting the complete set of singles that Jacob Miller recorded for Augustus Pablo.
The late and great Augustus Pablo had a distinctive musical vision and his take on reggae is inimitable and his productions are easily identifiable. Organic and dynamic with his typical Far East sound. He was no stranger to instrumentals and was responsible for the massive melodica cut Java.
His music has been heavily reissued and now reggae powerhouse VP has a fresh addition to the Augustus Pablo section in the shelves.
The compilation Rockers International was originally released in 1980 and showcased a bunch of the artists he was currently working with, including Earl Sixteen, Norris Reid and Delroy Williams. Its follow up – Rockers International Vol. 2 – was put out in 1992. Both are now available again on one lovely double disc with liner notes by reggae historian Harry Wise.
The 28 track compilation features several thunderous instrumental gems from Augustus Pablo himself along with earth-shaking dub versions and affecting vocal cuts from the likes of Jacob Miller, Junior Delgado and Jah Levi aka Hugh Mundell.
This album draws deep from the Augustus Pablo vaults and showcases signature productions from his golden era. His music is timeless, spiritually inspired and definately unique.
Jamaican vocal harmony group Tetrack is one of many outfits and artists that never really reached the success they rightfully deserved back in the days. At the time competition was fierce and many labels lacked financial funds for marketing.
Gladly several albums that were overlooked at the time of release have been reissued at one time or another. And now France’s Only Roots has the done right thing by releasing Tetrack’s debut album Let’s Get Started, a set produced by the legendary Augustus Pablo and originally issued in 1980 on the Message label.
Tetrack was a trio consisting of childhood friends Dave Harvey, Paul Mangaroo and Carlton Hines, Carlton Hines also being gifted songwriter for other artists, including Gregory Isaacs, John Holt and Dennis Brown.
They started singing together in the early 70s and were introduced to Augustus Pablo a few years later. And their album together is superb roots with close harmonizing. Just listen to the beautiful and melancholic Look Within Yourself.
For me dread and ethereal rhythms produced by Augustus Pablo paired with sweet harmonies are a perfect match. And Let’s Get Started is one of the many overlooked and unknown classics in the history of reggae.
Reggae powerhouse VP and its vintage imprint 17 North Parade continue their excellent Augustus “Gussie” Clarke reissue program. After the powerful 40 track compilation Gussie Presenting the Right Tracks came a 7” collection titled Gussie Presenting the Right Sevens. Now comes another album with Clarke productions.
Born to Dub You collects ten rare and in-demand instrumental cuts from melodica maestro Augustus Pablo. Eight of the ten tracks were recently made available on the aforementioned Gussie Presenting the Right Tracks, but No Entry and Classical Illusion (Micron 7”) are fresh additions.
Some of songs on this superb collection might sound odd to an untrained reggae ear, especially the interplay between a screeching and metallic violin and Pablo’s dreamy melodica on Classical Illusion (Dub Vendor 12″), which comes with an extra haunting dub version by Prince Jammy.
Augustus Pablo’s melodica snakes in and out of the mix and this set offers the usual dark and meditative ambiance found on many of Pablo’s songs and productions. Please note though that the title of this set might be misleading, since it collects instrumentals rather than dub versions.
Addis Pablo – son of the late and great producer and melodica virtuoso Augustus Pablo – dropped his debut album today. It’s titled In My Father’s House. The title suggest that he treads the same road as his father. And well, he does. At least partly. He plays blows his melodica with the same grace and easiness as his father, but his debut album is less twisted than some of his father’s work. In My Father’s House is peaceful and has a very natural feel to it.
Addis Pablo has during his short career dropped a number of strong singles and wicked cuts on one riddim compilations. Last year he teamed up with Dutch label JahSolidRock, probably best known for their superb albums from Apple Gabriel, Earl Sixteen, Brinsley Forde and Chezidek.
And In My Father’s House is yet another superb and absolutely essential release from this reggae powerhouse and producer Marc Baronner from Bass Galore Productions, formerly known as Not Easy At All.
Its 17 tracks takes the listener on a meditative, haunting and melodic roots reggae journey. It’s roughly divided into one melodica cut, followed by a vocal version from Earl Sixteen, Chezidek, Sylford Walker and Exile di Brave aka Jah Exile. On top of that a slice of heavy percussion laid dub.
Addis Pablo followed his father and became a world-renowned musician, but at the same time he created his own sound on the very consistent In My Father’s House.
The album is now available on CD and digital download. A double LP drops on March 4.
Addis Pablo – son of the late and great melodica player and producer Augustus Pablo – has over the past years taken up a career as a performer and producer following in his father’s footsteps.
Addis Pablo was raised by his father in a musical environment on Orange Street in Kingston, receiving the teachings and morals expressed by Augustus Pablo, and continued to be instilled by his mother.
Last year he dropped a number of strong cuts, and one of the best was a melodica cut on the Unfair riddim and a version of Selassie Souljahz.
In 2013 he also teamed up with Amsterdam based reggae powerhouse Jahsolidrock for his debut album. The Dutch label, known for albums from Apple Gabriel, Brinsley Forde and Chezidek, is likely a great partner for his musical project called In My Father’s House.
In the same tradition as Augustus Pablo and his Rockers International label, the Dutch label and Addis Pablo embark on a musical journey where rootsy reggae meets Rastafari mysticism and first class musicianship.
The Marc Baronner produced album will be available on February 25 and features artists like Earl Sixteen, Prince Alla, Sylford Walker, Chezidek and Exile the Brave. In the meantime, check this documentary about the project.
With just a little less than minimal promotion veteran Jamaican singer Ricky Grant last year dropped the ten track showcase album Ricky Grant At Roots Vibes Vol. 1.
Ricky Grant is not one of the most prolific Jamaican artists, but has been in the music industry for about five decades. He has worked with The Gaylads and Augustus Pablo, and is nowadays a resident in the U.S.
This rocking and stepping ten track album features ten tracks – five vocals and five dubs – produced and recorded by Roots Vibes from France. It’s a vintage and authentic sounding set where Ricky Grant showcases his soft and warm singing style, a style reminiscent of Prince Allah.
The dubs are dynamic and contain rather a lot of vocal snippets and studio wizardry, without overusing all the capabilities and possibilities you can get from a modern studio with digital gear.
An exciting project that deserves to be heard by a wide audience. Available on CD and digital platforms.
VP Records follow-up on their Channel One 7” box set released earlier this year with a set dedicated to another legendary Jamaican studio and label – Randy’s, probably the most important studio of the early 70’s. It was for example here Augustus Pablo recorded several of his early masterpieces.
Roots Rock Randy’s collects seven rootsy 7” from the Randy’s catalogue produced by Clive Chin with engineering wizard Errol “ET” Thompson – later of the Mighty Two with Joe Gibbs – at the controls in Randy’s Recording Studio, located above Randy’s Record Mart on 17 North Parade in Kingston.
The music included is classic roots – vocals, instrumentals and dubs. Some of the tracks have previously been reissued on 7”, whereas others haven’t been on wax since their original released almost 40 years ago. A bunch of the tracks are also available on compilations such as 17 North Parade on Pressure Sounds, including The Gladiators’ The Race, The African Brothers’ Hold Tight and Broadway’s funky harmonica-lead Guns in the Ghetto, on the 7″ it’s the flipside to Hortense Ellis’ version of Marlena Shaw’s Woman of the Ghetto.
The most worthwhile 7”s are probably Ansel Collins’ haunting instrumental Spanish Town Road with its sparse dub version S-Corner Dub and Augustus Pablo’s Java Passion, his next cut to the original Java. Its flipside Woodpecker is just as tasty.
If the 7” format and quality roots music is your thing, then this rockin’ box set is well-worth investigating further.