Our Music
Burning Spear
Burning Music/I Sound/Nocturne-Munich
November 24, 2005

Track list
  1. Our Music
  2. Try Again
  3. Down In Jamaica
  4. Together
  5. Friends
  6. O Rastaman
  7. Fix Me
  8. Walk
  9. One Marcus
  10. My Duty
  11. Little Garvey
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 3 Backing : 4 Production : 4 Sound quality : 4 Sleeve : 3
Winston Rodney, born in St Ann's Bay, Jamaica in 1948, has been recording his own brand of Garvey-inspired and socially conscious reggae since the late sixties. Known throughout his career as Burning Spear, a name derived from the former Mau Mau leader and eventual president of Kenya, Jomo Kenyatta, his latest material is released in the bright form of 'Our Music'. Following on from 1999's Grammy winning 'Calling Rastafari' on the Heartbeat label, 'Our Music' is the second release from Rodney's own Burning Music label after 2003's 'Freeman'. The eleven tracks that make up 'Our Music' deliver the preacher- like, near chanted vocals as well as guitar grooves and horns that have been Burning Spear's hallmark for a celebrated recording career getting close to forty years.

Three of the tracks are extended mixes and top the six minute mark so although eleven tracks might not seem that much there is virtually an hour's worth of music on the set. There is a good standard of quality throughout the album and so it is hard to choose a highlight, although one of the stand-out tracks is the funky yet laid-back "Down In Jamaica". Other highpoints include the upbeat attitude retained in the face of potentially heavy subject matter - as characterized by "Together" in which themes of slavery and hope co-exist harmoniously to maintain the track's message that "We can show the world!" This optimistic approach is also successful in "Friends" in which Rodney simply asks "Are you my friend, my neighbour or my enemy?" all with an uplifting backing track and a positive outlook.

If there is a criticism to be levelled at the album then it is simply that it offers no surprises - although if you are a Burning Spear fan then you will know exactly what to expect and so this shouldn't be an issue. Whilst undoubtedly not an unfamiliar or cutting edge release, 'Our Music' offers a consistent level of quality, a distinct approach, permanent themes as well as all the other elements which make Burning Spear an enduring exponent of socially conscious reggae music. It certainly makes a somewhat refreshing change to hear heavyweight issues tackled with a positive attitude and it is this which gives the album just enough of an edge to make it a solid acquisition for most roots fans.