Augustus Pablo

Rockers Meet King Tubby in a Fire House

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As is often the case with albums that come from deep within the insular world of 1970s Kingston, the title of this one bears a little bit of explanation. "Rockers" was the nickname given to melodica player and producer Augustus Pablo; on this album, as on several other classics of the genre, he is teamed up with dub wizard Osbourne Ruddock (better known as King Tubby) to deliver a set of dub mixes derived from singles by Hugh Mundell, Delroy Williams, and others. (King Jammy, one of King Tubby's protégés, also contributes a few mixes here, but is uncredited.) "Fire House" is an ironic reference to the Waterhouse section of Kingston, where King Tubby's studio was located. On this collection, Pablo's sound predominates: his eerie melodica lines snake in and out of the mix, and the gentle-but-firm grooves that always typify a Rockers production are in full force. King Tubby contributes the special element of dubwise alchemy that was his own trademark, administering echo and delay at judicious intervals and keeping the general atmosphere mysterious and seductive. Because of the nature of the music and its consistently high quality, highlights are a bit difficult to pick out, but they include the very dread "Zion Is a Home" and the equally fine "Dub in a Matthews Lane Area," which could be used as a master class in dub technique.

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