Title
Artist
Label
Format
Date

Roots Of Black People
Eric 'Rebel Lion' Bubbles
Progressive Records International
CD / Digital Release
June 10, 2014

Track list
  1. Roots Of Black People
  2. Power Seekers
  3. Evil Deeds
  4. Calm
  5. Death Before Dishonor
  6. Rebel Lion
  7. Better Tomorrow
  8. Younger Generation
  9. Jah Bless I
  10. Love And Unity
  11. Behold I Live
  12. Forward Jah People
  13. Roots Of Black People feat. Ranking Joe
  14. Ask Not What Your Country Can Do
  15. Issachar Special
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 5 Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 4/5
The Foundation of Reggae Music was skillfully built by countless singers, players of instruments, producers and engineers. How good and pleasant it is to see Foundation artists thriving in 2014 and not forgotten. Eric Bubbles (Derrick Howard) has endured as founder of the legendary AFRICAN BROTHERS, a prolific solo career and solid success in production and discovering incredible talent. He has just released "ROOTS OF BLACK PEOPLE", a fantastic collection of solo material new and old. Those that have paved the way continue to trod the King's Highway...

Derrick Howard has been active since the early 1960's and really shaped early Reggae sounds with The African Brothers. The earliest incarnation was Derrick, Desi Young and Cornell Campbell. Two classics emerged "Behold I Live" and "Good Samaritan" (In Crowd replacing Campbell on harmony). Around the dawn of the 1970's, Howard "discovered" a youthful Lincoln "Sugar" Minott and Winston "Tony Tuff" Morris. As bandleader, Derrick held the youths musically tight and disciplined. Their first song "Mysterious Nature" (1970) was recorded for Rupie Edwards. The trio continued with a slew of classics - "No Cup No Broke" (C.S Dodd) "Party Nite" (1973, Decadence) "Hold Tight" (1974, Impact) and "Practice What You Preach" (1975). Derrick forayed into production and produced their biggest selling hit "Torturing" (Deltot). The trio disbanded in the late 70's but all went on to enjoy massive success. Rest In Zion, Sugar Minott.

Derrick's solo career took off in 1979 with "Roots Of Black People", "Fe Me Gypsy" and his huge hit "Rebel Lion". His Progressive International label has been a great platform for his productions. He released Anthony Johnson's killer "We Want More Loving" set (1984) "Luciano And Friends" and many more. He produced Nitty Gritty's massive "Morning Train" and "Got To Make It" (1985) and has discovered the likes of Lady Ann, Johnny P, Everton Blender, Foxy Brown, Color Man, Errol Scorpion and was the man responsible for giving Ranking Joe his name (from Little Joe). He has been so instrumental in the continuation of King's Musik.

"Roots Of Black People" features some of the best musicians and engineers in the business. Soul Syndicate, We The People Band, Flabba and Bingy Bunny, Sly & Robbie, Carlton Barrett, Bubbler Waul. The horn section of Nambo, Dean Fraser and Briggs and the percussion magic of Scully and Bongo Herman. The cream of New York based musicians are represented by Nasty (drums), Sidney Mills (keys), Val Douglas and Raff (bass), Jr. Jazz (guitar) and Larry McDonald (percussion). Great harmonies from Tristan Palma (on 2004's "Mysterious Nature" set), Derrick Lara, Jr. Jazz, Valerie Kelly, Kim Miller and JD Smoothe. Great engineering by Dave Kelly, Phillip Smart (Rest In Zion), Sylvan Morris and Sidney Mills at studios like Tuff Gong, Dynamic, Channel One, HC&F and Studio 13.

The set blazes with an newer recording of "Roots Of Black People". A proud anthem of Mother Africa that shows Derrick's flowing and sincere manner. Raff, Nasty and Sidney Mills provide an apt riddim fe real. "Power Seekers" is an earlier masterpiece with great falsetto delivery with a touch of golden soul. Rootical riddim with great chord structure and harmony. "Evil Deeds" is one powerful song! Observing the evilous ways of Babylon, Eric soars above the mighty riddim with great guitar work from Chinna Smith. This singer can hold a tune. "Calm" is a thoughtful piece through and through. "Wages of sin is death, my friend" will resonate. A great falsetto aided by bubbling keys and Bingy Bunny's riddim licks. Boomshot!! "Death Before Dishonor" was an international hit across the board. Giving tribute to Marcus Garvey, Derrick gives us poignant lyrics like, "never be an informer, must have code of honor". Great riddim. Dennis Brown did a loose interpretation of this classic for Tappa Zukie (1989), but this one is the ruler. "Rebel Lion" is a defining song in Reggae history. A hit from Japan to Europe, Derrick Harriot kept his Twin Gates Plaza record store stocked to the gills with this masterpiece. Over a Rockers riddim, Eric is heartfelt and defiant like a stepping razor. Ranks as one of his finest tracks of his long career. The magic continues with "Better Tomorrow", a song rich with hope and riddim

"Younger Generation" is a newer track with a nice riddim from the New York posse. Derrick sings joyfully over an engaging digital riddim that stands on it's own. Nice! "Jah Bless I" is a look into his earlier work. Over a riddim with Carlton Barrett on drums and Nambo/Dean Fraser on horns, Derrick is spiritually heartfelt and the Dubby atmosphere is clear. "Love And Unity" is a recent offering and rolls like gentle thunder. Great harmonies from Tristan Palma and Derrick Lara (Tamlins). Derrick Lara is another artist who has benefitted from Eric's production skill. "Behold I Live" was originally recorded back in the early 1970's and we are treated to a modernized treatment here. A Gospel tinged ode that is Niyabinghi driven to pure ites. Great harmonies and all around atmosphere. We are treated to the original "Roots Of Black People" with Ranking Joe adding some serious chant! There's an Abyssinian touch here with great harmony and wicked keys and guitar. Sensational track. This set closes with "Issachar Special". A wicked instrumental featuring the mastery of Earl "Wya" Lindo and Carlton Barrett. This is real music!

"Roots Of Black People" is a great balance on all levels. It has the right level of old and new material from one of Reggae Music's most defining figures. Derrick Howard has always expected the best of himself and those around him and it shows here. This multi-talent has a heap of unreleased material and this is a great glimpse into the genius that he exudes. If you want a musical history lesson or are seeking real Reggae sound; grap a copy of this enduring release. No disappointment here. Highly recommended. GO DEH!!!