Pablo Meets Mr. Bassie: Original Rockers, Vol. 2

Augustus Pablo

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Pablo Meets Mr. Bassie: Original Rockers, Vol. 2 Review

by Nathan Bush

For Pablo Meets Mr. Bassie: Original Rockers, Vol. 2, melodica king Horace Swaby (aka Augustus Pablo) hand selected instrumental classics from his 1970s catalog of 45s. Besides being the pinnacle of the roots era, the decade also witnessed the genesis of dub and the finest releases of Pablo's career. Producing singers like Jacob Miller, Dillinger, and Hugh Mundell, Pablo brought the results to King Tubby's tiny, Waterhouse studio for reconsideration. The latter applied the fresh sonic touches he was pioneering; the former delivered his distinct, sublime melodica. There is much talk of how Pablo transformed this children's toy into a veritable instrument and these tracks make a convincing argument. The sound instantly conjures the spirit of dub. Pablo's in fine form on "Rockers Rock," leading the band and punctuating the sound with his own piano runs. His lines are stark yet oddly forceful. The sound seems to demand your attention, like teachings from a wise leader. Any question about the melodica's ability to rival the more standard horn is easily dismissed with the likes of "Pablo Satta." Concerning King Tubby's mixes, Pablo's productions have clearly brought out the best in the great dub organizer. On "Burial Dub," explosions of echo resonate from the drum kit as Pablo delivers a bittersweet melody. The sturdy rhythms of "Havendale Rock" shudder under Tubby's touch, creating a strange, halting sensation. Though Pablo's melodica is absent, the clipped rhythms emitting from his keyboard are perfectly in tune with the music. The collection also features Pablo's collaborations with Lee "Scratch" Perry. While '70s album's like King Tubby Meets the Rockers Uptown and East of the River Nile still remain his obvious benchmarks, Pablo Meets Mr. Bassie is further proof that virtually any Pablo product from the period ranks with the finest of '70s roots reggae.

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