Augustus Pablo

Earth's Rightful Ruler

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This is one of the more satisfying Augustus Pablo albums, for several reasons. For one thing -- and this must be said -- his sound is remarkably, er, consistent, even by reggae standards. Most of his records are completely instrumental, and all tend to focus on his melodica playing; while all of his albums reward any attention you pay to them, their more natural effect is soothing, not to say soporific. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but that general tendency in Pablo's solo work just makes Earth's Rightful Ruler stand out that much more from the rest. It opens with the title track, which features an unidentified singer (who sounds a lot like Hugh Mundell, but don't quote that) and a great, rootsy groove. Typical instrumentals follow, but there's some nice chatting on "Rastafari Liveth" and on "Java," the album's high point, which also features haunting background vocals and some very nice interplay between guitarist Earl "Chinna" Smith and Pablo's melodica.

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