Toppa Top 10: Ten Classic Songs with a Melodica

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1. Augustus Pablo— “East of the River Nile”/”Java” (1971)east-of-the-river-nile-augustus-pablo

We couldn’t pick just one Augustus Pablo tune. But since Addis Pablo chose “Java,” Pablo’s biggest and most enduring hit, to top his countdown of favorite Rockers International cuts, which you can read right here, we’re going to use this space to illuminate “East of the River Nile,” Augustus’ other signature tune. Personally speaking here, this was the first Augustus Pablo tune I ever heard, and it’s still my favorite. It’s everything: reggae, funk, Ethiopian jazz, and stacked with loops that lend themselves to further remixes and sampling. The melodica isn’t as prominent as on later Pablo material, but his breakthrough track literally blew new life into the reggae instrumental. Listen to “East of the River Nile” in its entirety here, and watch a live medley of “Java” and “East of the River Nile,” from 1986’s Japan Sunsplash concert. —Jesse Serwer