Various artists album review
Trojan Rastafari Box Set ~ Limited Edition
Triple CD box set
10 - 09 - 2000
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 4||Backing : 4||Production : 4/5||Sound quality : 4||Sleeve : 3/4|
Many of Jamaica's singers and players profess a belief in Rastafari, and the faith's influence on the island's music over the years has been phenomenal. Without doubt, the most famous Rasta musician was Bob Marley., and it was partly through the latter's patronage that the Twelve Tribes achieved a high profile in the late seventies. Currently, largely due to the activities of Capleton 'The Prophet', it's the Bobo Dreads who are at the forefront, although is has to be said that their 'Fire Burn' policies have proved controversial. At the same time, artists like Beenie Man and Luciano still hold true to a more traditional set of beliefs based on the the Old Testament. Whilst others identify themselves with the Nyah Bingi sect. Despite being spread across a number of factions, Rastafarians have resisted becoming marginalised through their diversity. If anything, the reverse is true and they have steadily grown in influence over the last decade.|
All tunes on this Rastafari Box Set date from between the late seventies and mid-eighties, with majority being recorded at Channel One studio on Maxfield Avenue in Kingston.
The first disc opens with a trio of social commentary, starting with a stinging criticism of society's leaders by Ronnie Davis. Formerly a member of the Tennors vocal group, Davis also features on the compelling Got To Go Home, and on a rootsy update of the Melodians hit tune Rivers Of Babylon. Winston Jarrett attacks the Jamaican establishment on Tired Of The System, whilst Don Carlos uses Back Weh With Your Mix Up to warn against division in the ghetto. The latter, one of several recuts, uses an updated riddim track to Johnny Clarke's 'Cold I Up'. Others include Al Campbell' Free Up Rasta and Hold On To Jah by Reggae George. Collectively, the sequence of cuts on disc one highglights the many trials and tribulations faced by Rastafarians, mostly brought about by society's ignorance, prejudice and injustice.
The second disc concentrates more on the spiritual wealth gained from worshipping Jah and living an upright life. Starting off with Sugar Minott's superb The People Ought To Know, on which he outlines creation and man's fall from grace. Recorded in 1979 and taken from the album 'Ghetto-Ology' it captures the singer at his youthful best. Johnny Clarke follows with the complimentary Give Thanks over a Bunny Lee update on the riddim to Ken Boothe's 'Freedom Street'. Further riddims updates include Don Carlos Praise Jah With Love And Affection which uses Slim Smith's 'Love And Affection', and Barry Brown's Natty Roots Man which rewinds Johnny Clarke's classic tune 'Enter Into His Gates With Praise'. The Royals continue the central theme with their own If I Were You, the second of three cuts from the group in this collection.
The tunes on disc three are bound together by a central theme of Armageddon. Al Campbell sets the scene with The Moment Of Truth, warning that a day will come when everyone must stand up and face his judgement. Jimmy Riley complements with Hard Headed Isrealites as does Michael Prophet on Evil Doers across a heavy Glen Brown riddim. Other tracks noteworthy mentioning include Cornell Campbell's Fight Against Corruption across the riddim of Junior Byles' 'Beat Down Babylon', the two tunes by Barrington Levy : Revelation and Captivity, Winston jarrett's Mash Down Babylon and Barry Brown's Lead Us Jah Jah.
This collection of songs is a beautiful showcase of the influence of Rastafari on reggae music and the messages heard here have lost nothing of their relevance. Burning Stuff !