Stumbling Block
September 29, 2014

Track list
  1. Africa
  2. Fire Burn
  3. Move Stumbling Block
  4. History
  5. Congo Man
  6. Jah Cares
  7. Chant Rasta Man
  8. Borrowed Time
  9. Oppression
  10. Wall Of Babylon
  11. Mr. Greedy
  12. Na Buy Apartheid
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4/5 Backing : 4/5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 4 Sleeve : 4
For the vocal group Knowledge, then consisting of Anthony "Turn Knowledge" Doyley, Michael "Mikey Beard Knowledge" Smith, Earl "Rockman" McFarlane, Michael "I Lux" Samuels and Delroy "Bronco" Fawlan, it all began when they met legendary producer and toaster Tappa Zukie, who at the time was involved in setting up a community centre in Trenchtown. Tappa Zukie produced Knowledge's first album "Hail Dread", which was originally released in 1978 in the United States only by the international A&M label, who unsuccessfully marketed it to the new white audience for reggae. Tappa Zukie sensibly re-released the album in Jamaica in 1990 on his own Stars label as "Word, Sound & Power". Knowledge's debut album was followed by the sophomore set "Judgement" and a third album called "Strive For The Highest", released in 1987 by Tuff Gong. This third album, however, didn't feature all the original members of the group since Earl "Rockman" McFarlane and Michael "I Lux" Samuels had died respectively in 1981 and 1987, both of them shot by gunmen in Trenchtown.

The group split up in 1988, when Anthony Doyley moved to England and settled in London. In the first half of the '90s he linked up with Roy Cousins for whom he started to record on old riddim tracks from the producer's vaults. Although being reluctant to voice over old riddims instead of fresh originals, Roy Cousins convinced him that it would be a brilliant way to introduce back the group after being absent from the scene for a long time. And thus, after the release of a few hit singles including "Na Buy Apartheid", "Chant Rasta Man", and "Fire Burn", the album "Stumbling Block" (a compilation of 7" singles) was put out in 1995. Although credited to Knowledge, the recordings on this album feature only founding member Anthony Doyley on lead vocals, while harmonies are sung by Dennis "Struggle" Hamilton and Roy Cousins (of The Royals). Compared to the majority of Knowledge's works for Tappa Zukie, Anthony Doley's vocal delivery incorporates more maturity and strength. "Stumbling Block" is an above avarage roots album with almost every track worthwhile hearing. Best tracks are the killer "Fire Burn" (on The Royals' "If You Want Good" riddim), "Jah Cares", "Chant Rasta Man", "Wall Of Babylon", "Mr. Greedy" and "Na Buy Apartheid".

"Stumbling Block" is a solid collection of roots tunes, worth checking out.