In Session
Black Roots
November 25, 2007

Track list
  1. Tribal War
  2. Confusion
  3. Survival
  4. Juvenile Delinquent
  5. What Dem A Do
  6. Move On
  7. Opportunity
  8. Africa
  9. The Father
  10. Chanting For Freedom
  11. Bristol Rock
  12. Confusion (12" Mix)
  13. Chanting For Freedom (12" Mix)
  14. The System
  15. The Father (12" Mix)
  16. Tribal War (12" Mix)
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Essential -Votes: 4-
Very Good -Votes: 2-
Good -Votes: 1-
Average -Votes: 1-
Disappointing -Votes: 0-
A Waste Of Time -Votes: 0-

Total votes : 8
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4 Backing : 4/5 Production : 4/5 Sound quality : 4/5 Sleeve : 3
Three and a half years after the release of Black Roots' excellent compilation set "On The Frontline" the French reissue label Makasound unleashes another very fine compilation album from this reggae band, which was founded in the late 1970's in Bristol's Jamaican neighbourhood and then went on to become one of the most promising UK reggae outfits in the early 1980s. The band left a legacy of no less than ten albums and more than eight singles before bowing out of the public eye in the mid-1990's.

Two live studio sessions recorded at BBC Radio One by the late John Peel, David "Kid" Jensen and Peter Powell for their radio shows -- recorded and broadcasted in 1982 and both put together on the 1986 released "In Session" album -- form the core of this "In Session" cd. Apart from the ten original tracks this set features six additional tracks including Black Roots' first singles ("Bristol Rock" and "The System"), and alternative 12" versions of "Confusion", "Chanting For Freedom", "The Father" and "Tribal War".

Most of the tunes gathered here you'll also find on on the "On The Frontline" compilation. Not really surprising because eight songs played at the BBC Radio One sessions were later released on the band's debut set, "Black Roots" (1983). The latter's tracks are all featured on "On The Frontline".

It's truly remarkable to witness that the live played tracks come very close to the songs on the band's official album release. Also the sound is of such quality that there's no noticeable difference when you compare them with the additional tracks. Each song on this album has a classic roots reggae structure, and is based on an always tightly controlled riddim. Besides that it's a joy to listen to the excellent vocal delivery and experience the tasteful and refined edge to the band's musical arrangements.

On this set you'll find enough good tunes including our personal favourites which are the outstanding "Juvenile Delinquent", the militantly uplifting "Opportunity", the majestic What Dem A Do and the gorgeous "Move On", which utilises horns -- played by Rico Rodriguez (trombone), Dick Cuthell (flugel) and Rudi Hymes (sax) -- beautifully.

Perhaps not an album that will be purchased by the avarage reggae fan who already invested his money in "On The Frontline" (although the few tracks not included on that compilation might be worth the purchase anyway), but surely a welcome addition to the cd collection of any Black Roots fan.