Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Augustus Pablo
King Tubby Meets Rockers Uptown

Released 1976 on Shanachie
Reviewed by Le Samourai, 22/03/2001ce

“This is the one” many people have told me “here’s where your Dub Reggae collection should start.” And all I can really do is pass on this great piece of advice to you. Ladies & Gentleman, I’m sure you come to The Drude’s website and this section especially looking for more musical enlightenment and the next surreal, mood and/or life enhancing music to expand and reflect on. Well y’all
could do a hell of a lot worse than pick up this mighty piece of work.

Horace Swaby a.k.a. Augustus Pablo (R.I.P. 1953 - 1999), who preivously had worked for Dub Reggae pioneer Osbourne Ruddock a.k.a. King Tubby, branched out and started to do Dub versions of Reggae tunes himself. The main difference here is that Pablo was a musician and frequently played a melodica, a small handheld keyboard instrument you blow into to play for an eerie yet melodic “side effect” over his Dub tracks. The melodica playing is minimal yet makes these ghostly
instrumentals even more otherworldly (and that much better for it.)

Pablo like most legendary Dub producers, had the remarkable good sense to pair these classic Reggae tracks down to the bass guitar and percussion parts just barely letting the guitars, keyboards, horn sections and vocals have a say (and seriously messing with them when he does let them back in the mix) knowing that the all
powerful hypnotic groove is message enough. This unique
subversion of musical conservativism is what makes King Tubby Meets Rockers Uptown (and Dub Reggae) amazing and timeless.

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