Hard Times
Pablo Gad
Rue Stendh
February 23, 2007

Pablo Gad Track list
  1. Hard Times
  2. Black Before Creation
  3. Crisis
  4. Reggae Music
  5. Sad Mistake
  6. Oh Jah
  7. Tougher Than The World
  8. Leaders Of The World
  9. Gun Fever
  10. Throw Your Dreams
  11. Lighter Shade Of Black
  12. Iration
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 5 Backing : 5 Production : Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 4
Pablo Gad is an artist so underrated that it would make Peter Broggs blush. "Hard Times" was released in the UK in 1980, but unlike contemporary sets from the likes of Steel Pulse that have been celebrated over the years, this has languished in obscurity. It's not a pity, it's a tragedy.

This is the rare album where everything comes together perfectly - starting with Pablo Gad's aching but crisp vocals, which are reminiscent of Wiss from Israel Vibration. Gad's lyrics are deep and unsparing, from the painful reality of the title track and "Crisis" to the heavy cultural themes of "Black Before Creation" and "Iration."

The backing band, consisting mostly (from what I can tell) of members of the under-celebrated Black Slate, lays down super-heavyweight riddims that are startlingly melodic, even while hitting with the force of a battering ram. It's a sound that brings to mind the best moments of Jah Shaka and Black Roots.

To top it off, the mixing and sound quality are astoundingly sharp, sounding fresher than albums that dropped last week, let alone the dawn of the Reagan years.

Full of boom shots from start to finish, this is a stunning album which truly deserves the sometimes overused "C" word. Chalwa? That too. A classic.