Rocking Rebel Volumes 1 & 2
Kiddus I
MVD Audio
December 7, 2009

Track list
Disc One - Volume 1
  1. Graduation In Zion (Original Version)
  2. Time
  3. Harder
  4. Saying A Prayer
  5. Rocking Rebel
  6. Little Ones
  7. Cross Over
  8. Come Give Yourself Over
  9. Sweet Lady
  10. Flying At Knots
Disc Two - Volume 2
  1. To Toil
  2. Jah Jah Love
  3. Love Child
  4. To Survive
  5. There's A Way
  6. Love Child Dub
  7. Harder (Pure Version)
  8. Balance
  9. Harder Dub 2
  10. Time Dub
  11. Harder Dub 1
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4/5 Backing : 4/5 Production : 3 Sound quality : 3 Sleeve : 4
Just before the closing of 2009 fans of the alluring and compelling reggae singer and cult figure Kiddus I (until recently best known from his appearance in the classic movie "Rockers") are treated to the unexpected and thus utterly surprising release of the dbl cd "Rocking Rebel", which actually happens to be the once believed lost cassette tape of Kiddus I's music from the late 1970s.

In June of 1981 Michael Santoro, his brother Tom, Jimmy McShane and Frank Dowding (aka Kiddus I, which is Amharic for "blessed one") listened to a cassette tape that contained tracks recorded by Kiddus I at Tom's apartment in NYC. Later that summer Kiddus I lost the tape, but fortunately Michael had made a copy. In December 2007 Michael Santoro and Kiddus I again sat down and listened to the "lost" tape. Now the tape is being released on cd, with Vol. 1 being the A side of the cassette and Vol. 2 the B side.

The set opens with the original version of his signature tune "Graduation In Zion", including all of Chinna's amazing guitar riffs that were cut out by Chris Blackwell as he didn't want Kiddus I to take up too much space on the LP of the "Rockers" soundtrack. This classic anthem once again underlines that he has one of the most distinctive and greatest voices in reggae music. And furthermore this release also showcases Kiddus I's great songwriting skills that enable him to write inspirational and thought-provoking lyrics. Besides being released as 7" single on Kiddus I's own "Shepherd" imprint, the cut out version of "Graduation In Zion" previously appeared on the already mentioned "Rockers" soundtrack and the 2007 Dub Store Records release "Rockers: Graduation In Zion (1978-1980)". The latter also included the tracks "Time" and "Harder" and on Volume 2, "Love Child", "Love Child Dub", "Time Dub" and "Harder Dub".

Furthermore featured on these two discs are "Rocking Rebel", actually the song that was written for the theme of the "Rockers" movie, but for some unknown reason was never used, and the never before issued excellent "To Toil" and the matching "Jah Jah Love", which were mentioned by Kiddus I in the interview he did with Peter I (featured on this site). Also worth hearing are unknown tunes such as "Little Ones", "Cross Over", the outrageous extended version of "Flying At Knots", and the angry sounding "To Survive" with its screaming guitar parts.

To complement Kiddus I, featured on "Rocking Rebel" are stellar reggae musicians like Leroy "Horsemouth" Wallace, Carl "Santa" Davis, Haile Maskel, Pablove Black, Jackie Mittoo, Winston Wright, Glen Da Costa, Cedric 'Im' Brooks, Earl "Chinna" Smith, Earl "Wire" Lindo, Robbie Shakespeare, Tyrone Downie, and Bernard "Touter" Harvey.

Despite the fact that the sound quality of most of the tracks leaves a lot to desire (remember that these were dubbed from cassette tape), this dbl cd is a worthy addition to the collection of every Kiddus I fan as well as every vintage reggae addict.