The fact is: reggae visionary and pioneer Augustus Pablo was instrumental in the emergence of the burgeoning band with his unique sound Dub-Reggae scene involved. Augustus Pablo is said not to have been enthusiastic about an early album. It was released in England in 1975 on the Nationwide label and the cover read: “Thriller featuring Augustus Pablo“, produced by Enos McLeod. There have been several questionable releases of the album over the years. For all of them the “featuring” disappeared and it became “Augustus Pablo: Thriller” or “Augustus Pablo: Pablo Nuh Jester”, with a changed track order and five additional titles – which I will briefly discuss at the end. When re-released by Canadian label Abraham/Clocktower, both the album's original title and all tracks were renamed. So pay attention: “Augustus Pablo: Dubbing In A Africa” is “Thriller”.
The vinyl re-release on Black Friday (25.11.2022/1.400/25,99), made possible by ORG Music on Record Store Day (RSD), sold out XNUMX copies in the United States in a very short time, priced at $XNUMX each. With this long overdue new edition, Augustus Pablo posthumously made it into the Billboard Reggae Album Charts for the first time.
Even if Augustus Pablo had a different opinion: “Thriller” is an outstanding album that contains some of the best work by the exceptional musician and producer who died far too early outside of his joint projects with King Tubby. A work that Enos McLeod can be proud of as a producer. It is still unclear what he actually produced. In any case, he didn't produce “Last Of The Jestering”, which is clearly Leonard Chin's fault. The same goes for “Pablo Nuh Jester”, another piece with the same rhythm. Of the remaining eight tracks, “Fat Girl Jean” can definitely be marked off as Pablo’s work. The sound of the piano makes me think so, because only Pablo seems to be able to make a piano produce that sound. The melodica tracks leave no doubt about it anyway.
The A-side of the vinyl begins with the title track “Thriller,” which features a great trombone part while a super-slow bassline floats over cymbal-heavy drums.
On "Pablo in Red" Augustus' melodica takes center stage and a rock-solid bass makes its way through the speakers.
“Pablo Style” is a slow, melodica-led instrumental version of the Ken Boothe classic “Everything I Own.”
“Last of the Jestering” is a difficult one Dubversion with clanging drums, and Augustus plays the main melody just great on his melodica. Patti Smith liked to play a slightly stripped down version of the song at her concerts.
My personal favorite has always been the B-side of this collector's item. It begins with “Pablo Nuh Jester,” a much more straightforward version of “No Jestering,” a 1973 song by Carl Malcolm.
“Fat Girl Jean” follows, a booming bass and slow drums are caressed by a gentle melodica.
“Marcus Garvey” turns the old Burning Spear classic into a real treat with its much faster rhythm and Augustus Pablo inspires me every time I listen to this piano-led instrumental version.
In "Rocky Road" Augustus shows what wonderful sounds he can elicit from his melodica, while the guitar is occasionally used. Two other versions of the Burning Spear Studio One classic “Foggy Road” are called “Rocky Road” and “Skibo Rock”. In my opinion, both pieces can also be attributed to Pablo. This time due to the very pronounced clavinet/keyboard work in “Skibo Rock”. The faster, almost dancefloor-friendly “Skibo Rock” is the culmination of a long-forgotten killer album.
Like many albums from this time, the sound is a bit dull, but the bass booms and the drums rattle so incredibly beautifully. To my ears, the warm, almost gentle sound of the album creates an airy and at the same time hypnotic listening pleasure.
Note: The last five Dubs on the CD have nothing to do with “Thriller” and are credited to Lloyd Parks & We The People Band.