Dreader Dread 1976-1978
Johnny Clarke
Blood & Fire

Track list
  1. Top Ranking (I'm The Toughest)
  2. In The Roots Of The Ghetto
  3. Live Up Jah Man
  4. Love Up Your Brothers And Sisters (Extended)
  5. African People
  6. Dread A Dread
  7. Fire And Brimstone A Go Burn The Wicked
  8. African Roots (Extended)
  9. Roots Natty
  10. Every Knee Shall Bow (Extended)
  11. Play Fool Fe Get Wise (Extended)
  12. Age Is Growing
  13. Time Will Tell
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 5 Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 4/5 Sleeve : 5
This CD brings together some excellent sides recorded between 1976 and 1978. Just before this period producer Bunny Lee had dominated reggae music with the flying cymball sound. Johnny Clarke had his run of hits with tunes like 'Enter Into His Gates With Praise', 'Move Out Of Babylon', 'Joshua's Word', 'Rock With Me Baby', and 'Jah Jah Bless Joshua'. In 1975 he released his first album -None Shall Escape The Judgement- on the Total Sounds label, soon followed by another Bunny Lee set entitled 'Moving Out'. The following year he signed up with Virgin and the result was the release of two albums, 'Authorised Version' and 'Rockers Time Now', both produced by Bunny Lee. The album 'Put It On' was released on the Vulcan imprint. Johnny Clarke enjoyed his most creative spell with producer Bunny Lee, and the album Dreader Dread contains a lot of Bunny lee produced songs new on cd.
The album opens with the cover track Top Ranking (I'm The Toughest). The flying cymbal sound takes over on the next track, In The Roots Of The Ghetto, a typical Johnny Clarke tune. In Live Up Man he tackles themes like 'the rat race', 'babylon' and 'blood a go run'.
The extended cut of Live Up Your Brothers And Sisters is an impressive reality song, which is followed by the well known track African people. Fire And Brimstone A Go Burn The Wicked was recorded at Joe Gibbs recording studio, while the 'homeland anthem' African Roots -the extended version-, was recorded at Channel One studio.
One of Johhny Clarke's best songs -Roots Natty- tackles the same theme, but one of the highlights of this album has to be Every Knee Shall Bow, featured here in the extended version.
All of the tracks were mixed by the great King Tubby, except for Age Is Growing that was mixed by King Tubby's apprentice Prince Jammy. Finally Johnny Clarke delivers a stunning version of the Bob Marley song Time Will Tell.
As ever the presentation of the package lives up the the high Blood And Fire standards, with excellent liner notes, pictures and artwork. Dreader Dread shows Johnny Clarke at his best, with topnotch backing to top with the roots'n'culture lyrics. Classic stuff !