Album review
Open The Iron Gate 1973 - 1977
Max Romeo
Blood & Fire

Tracking list

  1. Every Man Ought To Know
  2. Revelation Time / Hammer And Sickle
  3. No Peace
  4. Tacko
  5. Blood Of The Prophet ~ Parts 1 & 2
  6. Warning Warning / Version
  7. A Quarter Pound Of I'cense
  8. Three Blind Mice
  9. Open The Iron gate ~ Parts 1 & 2
  10. Valley Of Jehosaphat / Version
  11. Fire Fe The Vatican
  12. Melt Away ~ 12" Version
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

Vocals : 5 Backing : 4/5 Production : 4/5 Sound quality : 4/5 Sleeve : 5

"Open The Iron Gate 1973-1977" - Blood & Fire's latest offering - is a solid Max Romeo set built around the core of "Revelation Time", truly one of the best albums of 1975. Max Romeo, the former frontman of The Emotions and The Hippy Boys, drew some notable attention in the late sixties with "Wet Dream", which despite a total radio ban, reached the number 10 in the UK charts. In the first half of the seventies Max Romeo recorded several impressive tunes with Lee "Scratch" Perry and achieved international attention and approval with the 1976 issued "War Ina Babylon" set, his best-selling album to date. Producer Lee 'Scratch' Perry played an important role in the artistic success of Romeo's records and after the split of the pair Max Romeo couldn't deliver the kind of records requested by the mainstream reggae market. No wonder, Romeo's name was forgotten by the late eighties. In the nineties he made his comeback with strong albums for London-based producers Jah Shaka (Far I Captain Of My Ship"", 1992) and Mafia & Fluxy ("Selassie I Forever", 1998).
This reissue of material drawn from the years in which Max Romeo managed to make a serious impact makes unmistakably clear why this fine singer/songwriter reached star status in Jamaica during the mid-seventies. "Revelation Time" was a crucial album in Max Romeo's development and furthermore it was a concept album as the whole album tells a story. Many of its songs were recorded at Lee Perry's Black Ark studio, during that period the home of many high quality tunes. Not included on the "Revelation Time" album were the next lyric to his Perry classic "War Ina Babylon" entitled Fire Fe The Vatican and the rootsmans favourite Melt Away, the latter being the cut that only appeared on 12" single in 1977.
"Open The Iron Gate 1973-1977" is a solid album which contains strong roots music, still sounding great twenty-five years after it was recorded. One to savour !!

Teacher & Mr. T.