January 15, 2006
|Artist & tune|
|Overall rating : (1 to 5 stars)|
"The Seventies was a time like no other in the history of the world. It was a time of upheaval and unrest all over the world. Capitalism, Communism, Dictatorship and all kinds of Ism Schism, corruption, greed and injustice was the order of the day in every country. There were revolutions, counter-revolutions, coups and counter-coups, riots, protests and demonstrations somewhere every day. In the middle of all this, the poor people suffer. As a voice rise up and speak for equal rights and justice it was silenced. They often ban this new voice of the people from the radio stations, but they could not ban the sound system and people's stereo from playing the music. Reggae music became the voice of the downpressed people in Jamaica and all over the world." (Dudley 'Manzie' Swaby, November 2002.)
So, fresh on the market -- a repress of six long lost 45ís in their full splendour, with vocal and dubwise accompaniment.
"Blood Dunza" by the aptly named Blazing Fire Singers and Players is not the Johnny Clarke tune, but instead has a rhythm very similar to Junior Byles & Rupert Reid's "Chant Down Babylon" but faster, rawer. The lyric centres on the vanity of a worldly life and the emptiness of a violent life.
Rod Taylor's "Love Jah Jah Always" has an outrageous shimmering and dissolving syn drum pulsating under the rhythm track. One for those of you who love that Studio One style syn drum, albeit updated by Sly Dunbar at Channel One! It is worth noting that Bim Sherman cut a version of this tune on a Hit Run Discomix in 1979 backed by the Cry Tuff All Stars.
Hortense Ellis' beautifully voiced "Super Star" has a militant, thunderous drum pattern supporting it with a Sonya Spence style vocal chant. This is very strident and heavy roots -- but the impact is lessened considerably by the somewhat corny lyrics which simply don't match the relentless pounding power of the rhythm track. Still, you can not ignore a Rockers drum assault like this, so don't miss it -- but perhaps just ignore the lyrics.
The best of the bunch, head and shoulders above the rest, is the version to Pablo Moses' spiritual epic, "One People" -- this is indeed, similar to the Blood & Fire version -- but fleshed out, made more aggressive and driven by a funky raw keyboard pattern and scraping percussion, pushing the seriousness of the message forward.
"What A Shame" is righteous anger and sadness from the much under rated and poetic Still Cool, with a raw aggression in the vocal, scything guitar and hammering bass. Again, you'd be advised to get hold of a copy of the Jah Shaka / Still Cool 12" Discomix, "To Be Poor Is A Crime" ,another great tune from this much underrated group.
It's a pleasure to have these spiritual gems repressed and available once more after decades of deletion -- If you loved the Blood & Fire Junior Byles/Pablo Moses/Bim Sherman set, you would be advised to snap up these crisp and heavy rarities before they delete.