Black Sounds Of Freedom
Black Uhuru
September 12, 2006

Black Uhuru - Black Sounds of Freedom Track list
  1. I Love King Selassie
  2. Satan Army Band
  3. Time To Unite
  4. Natural Mystic
  5. Eden Out Deh
  6. Love Crisis
  7. African Love
  8. Hard Ground
  9. Willow Tree
  10. Sorry For The Man
  11. U-Black - King Of All Time
  12. U-Black - Crocodile Style
  13. U-Black - Love You Girl
  14. Crisis For Love
  15. Satan Army Band
  16. Tonight Is The Night To Unite
  17. Eden Out Deh
  18. Sorry For The Man
  19. I Love King Selassie
  20. Natural Mystic
  21. Hard Ground
  22. African Love
  23. Willow Tree
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4/5 Backing : 4/5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 3
It was the third incarnation of Black Uhuru, consisting of founder Derek "Duckie" Simpson, Michael Rose and the visually arresting, American Born Puma Jones, that started to create real excitement on an international level and managed to become a successful crossover reggae act in the early 1980s, not least because they came under the hands of the riddim twins Sly & Robbie.

The vocal trio Black Uhuru (Uhuru is Swahili for "freedom") was formed in 1974 and comprised of Derek "Duckie" Simpson, Don Carlos and Rudolph "Garth" Dennis. When Don Carlos decided to work on a solo career and Garth Dennis joined the Wailing Souls, Duckie Simpson was joined by Errol Nelson from the Jayes and new lead singer Michael Rose, who already had recorded for Winston "Niney" Holness (notably on "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner") and Ken "The Mighty Fatman" Gordon (the epochal "Born Free") as a solo artist.

Ever true to their Waterhouse roots, the reformed group went directly to Prince Jammy who was still working at King Tubby's Dromilly Avenue studio as resident engineer, but was also looking to establish his own record label. Together they decided to record an entire album's worth of material. Jammy took the controls and arranged and produced the material, together with a back up band consisting of Kingston's leading session musicians including Earl "Chinna" Smith, Bo Peep, Bingy Bunny, Earl "Wire" Lindo, Cedric 'Im' Brooks, Keith Sterling, Gladstone Anderson, Winston Wright, Robbie Shakespeare, Sly Dunbar, Santa Davis, and Scully.

The tracks were recorded at Harry J's state-of-the-art recording studio with Sylvan Morris at the controls. Prince Jammy himself performed the final mix of the tracks at King Tubby's. The resulting 10 track album entitled "Love Crisis" was released in 1977 on Jammy's own label in Jamaica and in the U.K. on Count Shelley's Third World label.

Initially the "Love Crisis" album met with limited success, but when Greensleeves released a remixed version of the album -- retitled "Black Sounds Of Freedom" -- at the height of the group's international success in 1981 it reached a far wider audience.

Since 2000 -- when Greensleeves celebrated its 25th Anniversary -- the label has re-released many classic titles from its catalogue, remastered, re-packaged and at an attractive price. In case of "Black Sounds Of Freedom" they have collected together the "Black Sounds Of Freedom" remix, "Love Crisis" in its original form, and three notable tracks from Kingston 11 deejay U-Black -- a great deejay from that era -- across the rugged riddims of "I Love King Selassie", "Hard Ground", and "Sorry For The Man".

Overall this cd -- more roots oriented than its successors -- contains beautiful tracks with Michael Rose's voice floating effortlessly on outstanding tunes such as the reggae scorcher "I Love King Selassie", the wicked "Satan Army Band" and the stunning version of Bob Marley's "Natural Mystic". Also the other tracks featured on this disc are strong efforts, all of them truly worth of hearing.

You can't go wrong with this re-issued "Black Sounds Of Freedom" album, because it is certainly a worthwhile addition to any vintage roots collection.