Album review
Train To Zion
U Brown
Blood & Fire

Tracking list

  1. Watch this people
  2. The big licking stick
  3. Natty hold the handle
  4. Let love shine along the way
  5. Watch what is going on
  6. News to the nation
  7. Stop them Jah
  8. Live as one
  9. Too much
  10. Satta dread style
  11. Jah give me strength
  12. Train to Zion discomix with Linval Thompson
  13. Bits of paper discomix
  14. Nuh kill fi dunza extended
  15. Hard times extended
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

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

Since their first release in 1994 Blood & Fire records can clearly be credited for some of the best-sounding and most intense reissues, many containing previously unreleased alternate takes, almost-impossible-to-get 7" dub versions and "lost" works to please even the most critical ears. This recent addition to their by now impressive catalogue contains mostly Bunny Lee produced long-unavailable material from U Brown, recorded between 1975-1978. The great U Roy already was a veteran of sound systems, who had come to prominence in 1969 on the Home Town Hi-Fi operated by Osbourne Ruddock - better known as King Tubby - as U Brown began his deejaying career in that same year at the tender age of almost thirteen, with his stage name from his love of U Roy and his light skin. He started deejaying for several small soundsystems thus gaining more experience over the next couple of years. In 1975 he began working with Greenwich Farm based producer Bunny Lee with whom he recorded his first album called "Satta Dread". Seven tracks from that debut album are included on this "Train To Zion" album, which includes some strong and familiar riddims with U Brown coming through with uplifting lyrics. The music is thoroughly enchanting and the vibe and feel soulful and inspiring throughout. On top of that these recordings were unavailable for such a long time making this an essential addition to collector's of the first wave of deejays and roots music lovers in general. Much respect to the originators and progenitors of a style that has been much maligned and indeed degenerated, but still has life when delivered by those who don't stray from its original intent. If you want a taste of what "dancehall" sounded like some 20 years ago, this disc will deliver.

Click here for the Reggae Vibes' interview with U Brown at the RUNN Recording Studio, Dec. 22, 1996.

Teacher & Mr. T.