Augustus Pablo - In Fine Style

Far East - Augustus Pablo
Phillip's Showcase - Pablo All Stars
East Man Sound - Augustus Pablo
Levi Dub - Rockers All Stars
Up Warika Hill - Augustus Pablo
Mountain View Dub (Version One) - Augustus Pablo
Mountain View Dub (Version Two) - Augustus Pablo
Pablo In Fine Style - Augustus Pablo
Raw Dub - Rockers All Stars
Cool Shade Dub - Rockers All Stars
Ras Menilik Congo (Harp) - Augustus Pablo
Roots Dub - Rockers All Stars
False Rumour - Jah Levi
Zambian Style - Rockers All Stars
Rockers Rock (Version) - Jah Iny
Chock Full & Dub - Synthesis
Kid Ralph - Augustus Pablo

"But this is Revelation time just like the Bible tell you. I'm only speaking what is already written. Everyone just think that reggae music is just reggae and say this and that about reggae music but people don't really understand the full power of what is behind reggae music".

The previous release from Augustus Pablo on Pressure Sounds (El Rocker's PSCD/LP 29) reflected on the memory of the man and his tragic death in 1999 and the lasting effect that his work had on the way that sound could be understood, on the way that music was listened to and on how the memory of the man continues to live on through his music. This kind of immortality is usually thrust upon artists who only ever sought to work in the here and now yet the past helps to make the present and can 'be alive in the present without being alive in the past'. We hope that it is not too much of a grandiose claim to say that this album is an attempt to continue in Pablo's tradition of presenting and representing his back catalogue in an updated style as these recordings deserve a far wider audience than they have previously enjoyed. Even with the extensive reissue programmes that now exist there are a distressing number of Pablo's records that remain unknown outside of the seriously specialist end of the reggae audience as many were originally pressed in very limited quantities and have never been reissued since. Not only are the records on this set beautiful music they are also the product of a love, a humanity and a concern that is at times transcendental and these hymns of love and of praise to the Almighty are full of a power that can move beyond the here and now and, at times, seem to stretch into infinity. The works of Augustus Pablo spring from the inspiration of constant praise of The Father and from his rigorous spiritual outlook and are far more than just music:

"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 everyday. I don't burn out a lot of energy that way. I turn it into myself and the works".

Unlike many of his contemporaries in the late seventies Pablo was able to understand and fully explore the possibilities of the extended twelve-inch mix enabling it to reach its full dynamic potential. He exploited the possibilities inherent in the twelve-inch format and resisted using it as a cheap ploy to foist on a novelty hungry public or as a vehicle to extract yet more mileage out of further versions of some of the more popular items in his back catalogue. Instead the full melodic range of his work was brought to the fore as the tunes were reworked and remodeled and given whole new meanings. It is not an exaggeration to say that we are able to fully understand Pablo's quotes about stories without words and the full power of what is behind reggae music when listening to his twelve-inch mixes:

"We play reggae music by feeling it. We call it the Far East Sound 'cause play in minor chords. When you play those chords it's like a story without words".

The weight and power of the music could be properly experienced on a well-mastered twelve-inch record and the extra time would be creatively used to give full scope to cut and paste extra versions of the rhythm. The indivisible links between the rhythm and the melody are of paramount importance in reggae and the rhythm has always dictated the direction of Jamaican music. Its pivotal role is fully explored on some of these disco-mixes and, as has been previously pointed out, we are not dealing with 'new age doodlings' but drum and bass driven music of the ghetto that was rebel rock music for the youth of Jamaica in the seventies.
 
Some seven-inch releases have also been included on this set, not just for good measure, but also in order to give context to the twelve-inch remixes, to provide some background information and to give an indication as to where they originated.

Far East - Augustus Pablo
Phillip's Showcase - Pablo's All Stars
East Man Sound - Augustus Pablo
Levi Dub - Rockers All Stars
'Far East' backed with 'Phillip's Showcase' was originally released in 1975 on an International seven-inch in Jamaica and on a USA Clocktower Records seven-inch where it was re-titled 'Safari Tower Rock' backed with 'Tower Of Power' and where, most unusually, the sound quality is far superior (both sharper and clearer) to the Jamaican release. 'Phillip's Showcase refers to the mixing talents of Phillip 'Prince Phillip' Smart one time resident engineer at King Tubby's Dromilly Avenue studio and now proprietor of the influential H.C. & F. Studios in Long Island, New York. Pablo actually introduced Phillip Smart to King Tubby:

"Well he is my brethren. We all grew up in the same area. Havendale, we used to work together. I used to share dub with him. He had a sound. I had a sound, you know. We just love it".

Arguably based on 'The drifter' theme, the twelve-inch was released a few years later in 1978 (backed by Pablo's interpretation of The Sound Dimension's 'Full Up') and features both clavinet and melodica on the first cut, followed by a highly interesting dub work out and then, in place of a third cut, we are treated to a previously unreleased melodica into dub version of Hugh Mundell's anthemic 'Africa Must Be Free By 1983'. Unexpected, unsolicited and all the more exciting for its complete unpredictability.

Up Warika Hill - Augustus Pablo
Mountain View Dub (Version One) - Augustus Pablo
Mountain View Dub (Version Two) - Augustus Pablo
A bit of a cheat because 'Up Warika Hill' (or 'Waricka Hill') was never released on a twelve-inch but the two radically different dubs have only ever seen the light of day as seven-inch B-sides (to the best of our knowledge) although the full instrumental cut to 'Up Warika Hill' was released on the 'Original Rockers' album. The version sides, even though they lack Pablo's incisive updates, merit inclusion here. The first version of 'Mountain View Dub' appeared on the B side of the original 1974 Rockers release and the 1979 Message re-release. The second, more economical, cut saw the light of day on the mid-eighties Rockers International repress which is odd because, if anything, it sounds more like a try out for the original melodica cut with some rather nice piano phrasing that fades out all too quickly only to appear again at the very end.

Wareika Hill is an area to the east of Kingston, once a well-known Rasta encampment, which has gained a rather lawless reputation in later years. I was once warned not to visit the area because 'they shoot guns up there!'

Pablo In Fine Style - Augustus Pablo
Raw Dub - Rockers All Stars
Released in 1979 as the B side to vocal trio Tetrack's version to Carlton & His Shoes' immortal 'Me And You' with the lyrics changed from Carlton Manning's beautiful love song into a plea for the more universally themed 'Love And Unity'. Pablo's cut of this timeless Studio One rhythm is sprightly while his lively melodica playing really does do what it says on the label - fine style indeed! The vocal was also released on a UK twelve-inch where this instrumental piece and its dub companion were excised in favour of 'Jah Foundation' by junior Dan and Jah Light. The dub allows the rhythm to run without the intrusion of too many special effects.

Cool Shade Dub - Rockers All Stars
Ras Menilik Congo (Harp) - Augustus Pablo
Roots Dub -Rockers All Stars
A melodica cut and two completely different dub pieces to Paul Whiteman's awesome 'Earth, Wind And Fire', itself a rereading of Hugh Mundell's 'Run Revolution A Come', that is both inspired and inspiring. The ponderous rhythm was chilling in the hands of a youthful Hugh Mundell but on this 1979 release the entire raison d'etre of twelve-inch releases was made manifestly clear. The rhythm drops and seems to stretch out for ever as the music explodes and the silences implode. The mix is genuinely frightening and the advert at the time of its UK release advised that buying a copy would be sufficient to guarantee your safety! Paul Whiteman's volatile vocal musing on the elemental forces has been excluded here in order to give unfettered access to the melodica and the rhythm although it is available on the 'Classic Rockers' album. This particular recording encapsulates everything that Pablo was trying to do on his twelve-inch releases and stands alongside 'King Tubby's Meets Rockers Uptown' as a near perfect summation of the work of Augustus Pablo. Quintessential music of the highest order where already popular and well known rhythms are used to open up any amount of different possibilies.

False Rumour - Jah Levi
Zambian Style- Rockers All Stars
Rockers Rock (Version) - Jah Iny
Three takes to Pablo's cut of The Sound Dimension's 'Real Rock' beginning with Hugh Mundell deejaying as Jah Levi on a 1970 twelve-inch release (that came backed with 'That Little Short Man' his paean of praise to Haile Selassie) laying down some lyrical seriousness and quoting from the Book of Proverbs in a way that was every bit as portentous and ominous as his sung lyrics: "Wise men seeketh knowledge but mouths of fools pour nothing but foolishness in this ya time" followed with a heavyweight dub work out. Jah Iny introduces the next cut as the fourth chapter to this classic rhythm and two further cuts can be found on the 'El Rocker's' album. It's an extreme and experimental dub taken from the original 1974 Rockers seven-inch release where Pablo has subtly altered the 'Real Rock' bass line, added the melody of Jackie Mittoo's 'Hot Milk', overdubbed tape rewinds and then switched the echo tape speed from fast to slow all adding up to one of the most bizarre versions ever created.

Choc Full & Dub - Syntheses
Credited to Syntheses on its 1974 seven-inch release on Rockers but there is little doubt that this is Augustus Pablo on a strong melodica lead backed by some neatly plucked guitar. Also released on a Mart's seven-inch in New York but this has remained one of the hardest to find items in Pablo's catalogue.

Kid Ralph - Augustus Pablo
This is usually assumed by the cognoscenti to be Pablo's first self-production released on Dynamic's Panther subsidiary. The melodica meanders around the Beatles' 'Norwegian Wood' melody already immortalised in Jamaican music by the Soul Vendors as 'Darker Shade Of Black' and the seeds of all that was to follow were sown here.

It is always worth repeating just how important the music of Augustus Pablo actually is and that its strength lies in its apparent simplicity and its complete lack of artifice for nothing is contrived in this 'most misunderstood popular music'. Invariably made within the classic Jamaican tradition and built on and backed by a solid drum and bass foundation Pablo's music was never ambient or directionless but cutting and relentless in its exploration of just how far reggae music could go. He was a true pioneer of the heights, depths and hitherto unimagined places that could be reached when pure and joyful music was driven by the power of divine inspiration. How much more does it take to convince you of its greatness?

"This is the music of Augustus Pablo, created for its moment, and somehow, eternally right for each moment since". Ian McCann.

Harry Hawke - January 2003

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