augustus pablo swaby paints

kingston, 1976, photographer unknown.

Overtaken by a weakness to bludgeon the house senseless with a royal flush of dubs, the bleachers echo with the whisper of melodica.

From 10PM to 5AM, its disinfected concrete steps slump tiredly. A stomach emptied. Hosed down with cobalt blue. 

Tubular rails faintly thrumming. 

A late August cough nudging silver wrappers. A polystyrene cup impaled on a straw.

By 1AM, the sirens falter. Subside to a wheeze. The hammers to the south bed down in a pulse.

Pablo never sleeps. Not really. The quiet he inhabits are those spaces between sinew and joint. The dials twitch. The tape rolls. Spooling behind eyelids, the fluttering of moths. East of the Nile. A mile upstream.

The engineering is not so critical as the end result. Chin to midrift. Thickening to a river.


Augustus Pablo started out as an anonymous outpouring, a splash from a carafe, a water bearer.

As with Miles, the climate is tertiary. Around it. Through it. To it.

Written and produced by Horace Swaby.

Mixed by King Tubby.

 ▼ AUGUSTUS PABLO: CHAPTER 2 from \”East Of The River Nile\” LP (Message) 1977 (Jamaica)


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