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Augustus Pablo

Born Horace Swaby in 1954, Augustus Pablo was a Reggae keyboardist and producer. He was the first person to popularise the use of the melodica as a musical instrument.

Born in St Andrew, Jamaica he learned to play the organ at Kingston College School. At the tender age of 15 he walked in to Herman Chin-Loy?s Aquarius record shop clutching his cherished melodica and the following day he was taken to Randy?s studio to cut his first record, ?Iggy Iggy?. His next release with Herman Chin-Loy was ?East Of The River Nile?, which became the prototype for Pablo?s trademark ?Far East? sound.

He joined successful reggae group Now Generation and played the keyboard with them while his friend, Clive Chin, began his own career as a record producer at Randy?s, Clive?s Dad?s studio. Pablo and Chin recorded "Java? in 1972, a massive hit and it was now that Pablo's solo career really took off. He recorded more tracks with Clive and various other producers including Clive?s uncle Leonard Chin as well as Lee Perry, Bunnie Lee and Keith Hudson

Pablo then formed his own Rockers label, named after his brother Garth?s sound system. He released a steady stream of well-received instrumentals, mostly versions of old Studio One hits. Despite the success of Rockers, Pablo's seminal 1974 album This Is Augustus Pablo was recorded with his old friend Clive Chin. This was followed by a collaboration with legendary dub pioneer King Tubby including what many people claim is the best dub album of all time, King Tubby Meets Rockers Uptown

For the rest of the 70s Pablo continued to record his own tunes and released another huge selling album in 1978, East Of The River Nile. He successfully produced others such Hugh Mundell, Fred Locks and Jacob Miller. He was also much in demand as a session musician and played on countless recordings of this era

In the 1980?s Pablo?s career slowed down in Jamaica but he did produce Junior Delgado?s massive ?Raggamuffin Year? along with the album of the same title. During the 80s and 90s Pablo?s popularity increased outside of JA, particularly in the UK, USA and Japan. A slight and frail looking man with strong Rastafarian beliefs who was frequently dogged by illness, he died in 1999 after a long battle with Myasthenia Gravis, an auto-immune disease.

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