This is the second of two Augustus Pablo records I picked up the other day from my local haunt Vortex. Vortex’s reggae section is small – probably no more than 20 records. But then again, given where I live and the store is located, I probably shouldn’t be surprised that there isn’t much reggae music coming in the door for them to buy. Out here in these suburbs you’ll get way more classic rock, pop, and heavy metal than you will hip hop or reggae, but someone out there obviously had some broader musical tastes.
Mind you, I’m a reggae/dub neophyte and I’d never heard of Augustus Pablo before. My interest was piqued initially by King Tubby’s name appearing on King Tubbys Meets Rockers Uptown, thinking of it more in terms of a King Tubby record than one from Augustus Pablo. But right behind that in the box was Dub, Reggae & Roots From The Melodica King, so these seemed like a good one-two punch.
This solid double album was released in 2000, a year after Pablo’s death at the all-too-young age of 40. His career had its ebbs and flows, but he was known for both his standard reggae hits as well as his dub mixes, and that broad range of music is shown across the 21 songs included on this record. That is it’s greatest strength – while it’s in essence a greatest hits collection, the mixing of the styles makes it a very entertaining listen for the casual fan like me. It has traditional reggae tracks, slightly dubbed stuff, and other purely instrumental dub tracks, which keeps it interesting and fresh all the way through.