Saturday, 29 November 2008

Got a light, Bud?

I've been listening to a fair bit of Black Uhuru lately, inspired in part by some recent posts from the Dust Devil over at YoungMossTongue; including an album I have wanted to replace for a long time: Black Sounds of Freedom. Fantastic.

So here is the procrastinator's anthem, Sinsemilla, and in my humble opinion, Black Uhuru's greatest release.

Black Uhuru began their career in Jamaica in the late seventies; they mainly sang civil rights' songs (Uhuru is Swahili for freedom), but soon broadened into more conventional reggae territory; however, with the addition of Puma Jones's voice, their sound was soon to become uniquely distinctive.

They created some fantastic music throughout their career, but their early albums are those that really shine.

And once Michael Rose had departed in 85, well, Duckie and co did go on, but the dynamic of sound was never the same.

Rose's voice on this album is quite phenomenal, the way he gargles those vowels - his delivery on 'There is Fire' is extraordinary - far superior to any stereotypical French rural accent.

The rhythm section here is the wonderful pairing of Robbie Shakespeare and Sly Dunbar, and their sound had evolved into the tightest of units; seamlessly woven into a single entity, really showcased well on this release.

Indeed, I believe Sinsemilla is Sly and Robbie's finest moment.

The bass and percussion just bubbles, boiling mud-like; creating a buoyant foundation for piano, guitar, voice and desk.

I say desk, because as with so many reggae cuts, the desk, the mix and the production is just as much an integral part of the band's identity in sound as the musicianship; and Sly and Robbie, with their hands on the knobs, were masters of the genre.

And let's face it, reggae isn't the easiest of genres to be entirely original; but Black Uhuru created a unique and identifiable sound.

It still sounds vital and timeless now.
For nothing has really followed it.

The Punky Reggae Party is dead.
Long live the Punky Reggae Party.

Black Uhuru - Sinsemilla (1980)

Happiness
World is Africa
Push Push
There is Fire
No Loafing (Sit and Wonder)
Sinsemilla
Endurance
Vampire

Nice cassette rip @ 256kbs
Score some Sinsemilla here

5 comments:

michaelDUSTdevil said...

nice, Nice, NICE!!!

Anonymous said...

yeah, this is a great neglected album and these tunes just don't get outta your head, an unheralded classic and certainly their best! thanx jahsoldier

roy rocket said...

It still sounds great, doesn't it.
I will post some more roots and reggae in the future.
So hopefully there will be something else I can tickle your fancy with.
Shanti, roy

Passer's by said...

Sadly all links are dead, a reupload anyone ? Thanks :-)

roy rocket said...

Fixed