Want Some Freedom
The African Brothers
Easy Star Records
October 22, 2001

Track list
  1. Lead Us Father
  2. Torturing
  3. Torturing Dub
  4. Mystery Of Nature
  5. Want Some Freedom
  6. Practice What You Preach
  7. Things And Time
  8. Hold Tight
  9. Just Can't Please
  10. Righteous Kingdom
  11. Party Night
  12. A Still Tongue
  13. A Still Dub
  14. Youths Of Today
  15. King Son
  16. Lead Us Dub
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 5 Backing : 4/5 Production : 4/5 Sound quality : 4 Sleeve : 4
The New York based label Easy Star Records has established itself as a major independent record label with it's quality releases on several 7" singles and a batch of excellent albums. From their first release, the excellent compilation set "Easy Star Volume 1" to the awesome Sugar Minott vintage set "Rare Gems", they have set a standard with highlights being the two Black Roots "Hidden Treasures" compilations and the 1979 Sugar Minott classic "Ghetto-ology + Dub".

For the past two years, the label has exposed the reggae massive to the wonderful musical world of Sugar Minott. Its latest release is a top-notch collection of rare songs recorded by Sugar Minott's first group, The African Brothers. The group was formed in 1969 by three Kingston teenagers, Lincoln 'Sugar' Minott, Winston 'Tony Tuff' Morris and Derrick 'Bubbles' Howard. The harmony trio was influenced by groups such as The Abyssinians, The Heptones, The Gaylads and vocalists like Burning Spear. Tony Tuff was the most accomplished musician and writer of the three, so he was often the one to come up with the basic foundations of their songs, whilst Sugar and Bubbles contributed harmonies and ideas for arrangements. Their first chance came when producer Rupie Edwards became interested in the three youths and in 1970 he cut the majestic tune Mystery Of Nature. Other producers like Coxsone Dodd and Winston Blake followed and the band enjoyed notable successes with the hits Righteous Kingdom, Lead Us Father, Party Night and Hold Tight. By the early to mid seventies, the group decided to pool their monies and start producing records for themselves. During this period they recorded some of their best tunes, including Torturing, Want Some Freedom and Practice What You Preach. By the end of the decade each of the three had decided to pursue solo work and stopped recording together. Sugar Minott became one of reggae's most beloved vocalists, Tony Tuff, while less prolific, continued to release quality music and Derrick Howard concentrated his efforts as a producer.

Thirty-two years after the group's inception, "Want Some Freedom" becomes the first African Brothers full-length release, collecting 13 vocal tracks and three dubs. The result is a beautiful album filled with scorchers from beginning to end, ranging from roots and culture tunes to sweet lovers tunes. The awesome roots tune Lead Us Father opens the album, followed by our favorite track Torturing, a yearning lovers song with exquisite harmonies by Sugar and Eric. The excellent dub is added as a fitting bonus track. The title track Want Some Freedom shows the trio in topform as they cry out "I and I want some freedom". The tune Things And Time is one of those rare songs which instantly grabs you and evokes a strong familiar feeling as if the song has always been in your mind! After the hit Hold Tight comes Just Can't Please, a vibrant song that speaks from the heart. Tommy McCook's flute plays a dominant role in Righteous Kingdom, a song that captures the ethereal spirit of the roots reggae days of that period. The dancefloor killer Party Night is pure niceness and evokes just the right vibes for a reggae party. The track A Still Tongue comes up complete with a pumping dub. Before the last tune - Lead Us Dub - starts spinning you'll get treated to a rousingly devout performance called King Son.

"Want Some Freedom" is beyond criticism and, yes, it's another essential Easy Star Records purchase!