Aug 16, 2011

RhoDeo 1133 Roots

Hello, we're still on that island with a huge place in the global music catalogue, Jamaica. A production hothouse and they say the Weed makes you slow and lazy-go figure. Without the ganja driven reggae music Jamaica would have remained a Caribbean backwater and dare i say would never have given us Bolt, the fastest man in the world.

In the spotlight today Black Uhuru(freedom in Swahili) for a time it looked as if they would takeover the international reggae-crown after the death of Bob Marley. Internal struggles twice over left Black Uhuru all but it's name with which original member Duckie Thompson still tours This when it started so great in the early eighties with the powerbacking of upcoming stars Sly & Robbie the road laid open for global success, it didn't last long until strife ended their first experience with global demand.

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Black Uhuru was founded in the late seventies by the then already established singer Don Carlos and Duckie Simpson ; after a while Michael Rose , who sang in hotels on the north coast of jamaica for tourists joined the group and the trio was complete. It was Michael Rose's rockstone gruff voice and his phrasing of syllables and consonants that made the sound of this vocal trio so distinguishly different from the multitude of other Reggae Trios . Their debut album, Love Crisis, released in 1977, included the anthemic hit "I Love King Selassie." Three years later, the album was remixed and released as Black Sounds of Freedom. With the addition of harmony singer Sandra "Puma" Jones, an Afro-American woman who held a master's degree from Columbia University (former Mama Africa) in 1981, She joined the group in time for their first international distributed album 'Sinsemillia' (Island Records 1980) on TAXI - Productions/Jamaica . This album was a huge success already and some of these songs are still played in bars , coffeeshops and Hippie hang-outs worldwide . They toured and recorded with Michael Rose as Lead vocalist and further releasing the powerful RED album with more militant songs like 'Youth Of Eglington' or 'Sponjie Reggae' (maybe their best song) , A Live album from 1981 called "Tear It Up" , the still solid "Chill Out" the spacy "Dub Factor" and their 1983 album "anthem".

Quarrels about the status of Duckie Simpson (the Founder) and Michael Rose (the voice of Black Uhuru) lead to internal problems and Michael Rose left and Junior Reid replaced him . This lead to a rejuvinated sound and another highlight in the career of Black Uhuru . 'Brutal' and 'Positive' were good and advanced dub albums and both very successfull, and their tours were (nearly) as successful as before . The same problem occurred again . Junior Reid was the voice and wrote the hit songs , while Duckie Simpson stayed out of focus, his songs were no hits - but he was the head of Black Uhuru . So Junior Reid left as well to pursue a sucessful solo carreer, to make matters worse 'Puma' Jones died of cancer in 1990 .

So Duckie Simpson contacted his old buddy Don Carlos , but this duo didn't have the potential to perform the anthems , that made Black Uhuru the giants they were , so they recruted young singers , who looked good and had the ability to reproduce the songs from both Michael Rose and even Junior Reid for the bread & butter earning live tours . Sad. In recent years Sly & Robbie toured with them as Black Uhuru and at the big Reggae Festivals .

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Released in July 1980, Sinsemilla, named after a type of marijuana, was Black Uhuru's first album to be issued internationally, their third overall. Although the group was nominally a trio at this point -- consisting of Derrick "Duckie" Simpson, Michael Rose, and Sandra "Puma" Jones -- in effect, Sinsemilla was a solo album by Rose, who wrote all the songs and sang lead vocals. In addition to his writing and singing duties, Rose can be credited for bringing in the production team and rhythm section of Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare, whose Taxi Gang provides the distinctive musical tracks. Rose's lyrical vision is revolutionary and radical, extolling the primacy of Africa, opposing apartheid, and praising the virtues of marijuana. But his sweet tenor and Simpson's harmonies soothe the message, and the music has a spare, rhythmic appeal that is distinctive and forward-looking, suggesting a hard, stripped-down direction for reggae.

Black Uhuru - Sinsemilla ( 80    206mb)

01 Happiness 4:21
02 World Is Africa 5:17
03 Push Push 4:12
04 There Is Fire 5:02
05 No Loafing (Sit And Wonder) 3:59
06 Sinsemilla 5:11
07 Endurance 4:01
08 Vampire 4:34

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Backed by the tight and dancehall-era defining Sly & Robbie band, the Uhuru reels off eight quality cuts here, including classics like "Youth of Eglington" and "Sponji Reggae." Filled with Rose's astute lyrics, the album provides an engaging blend of steppers rhythms and social commentary. Sly & Robbie's ingenious mix of sophisticated roots reggae and a variety of modern touches (synthesizers, electronic drums) not only brought Black Uhuru widespread fame but, also helped define the slicked-up last stand of roots rhythms in the first half of the '80s, foreshadowing reggae's coming digital age.

Black Uhuru - Red (81  366mb)

01 Youth Of Eglington 5:00
02 Sponji Reggae 4:56
03 Sistren 4:34
04 Journey 5:21
05 Utterance 3:47
06 Puff She Puff 5:08
07 Rockstone 4:38
08 Carbine 6:05
09 Sponji Reggae (Discomix)10:30
10 Trodding 5:30

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During the period when Black Uhuru featured both Michael Rose and Puma Jones, the group increasingly incorporated elements from outside of reggae tradition into their roots-based music. Thanks to Sly & Robbie's rhythmic presence and studio wizardry, though, the band was successful at pushing the envelope without losing their reggae credibility. Unfortunately, the line was crossed during the production of Anthem. For one thing, the crossover musical strategies deployed on the album are blatant. Since Anthem won the first reggae Grammy in 1984, this strategy served its purpose, but the mix on Anthem pales in comparison to the mix on the short-lived import version. By foregrounding the bass sound and emphasizing more time-honored instrumentation, the import's mix makes reggae powerhouses out of "Try It" and "Botanical Roots" and infuses the import single, "Party Next Door," with a truly infectious and danceable spirit. In this mix, the album's pop innovations do not overpower the music's roots connection.

Black Uhuru - Anthem (UK mix) (84   366mb)

01 What Is Life 4:21
02 Solidarity 4:22
03 Black Uhuru Anthem 5:17
04 Try It 4:59
05 Botanical Roots 4:14
06 Somebody's Watching You 4:32
07 Bull In The Pen 4:08
08 Elements 4:36
09 What Is Life (12" Kevorkian Remix) 6:42
10 Solidarity (12" Remix) 4:11
11 Party Next Door (12" Remix) 5:27

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elsewhere and now in flac

Black Uhuru - The Dub Factor ( 83 ^ 227mb)

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Anonymous said...

Wow - no re-up requests for these so far? Well I'm making one now, mon! Copious thanks in advance! (Wouldn't have any others besides The Dub Factor also laying around, would you?)

AliBoingo said...

Many thanks for these, especially the Paul "Groucho" Smykle version of Anthem.

Anonymous said...

Hi Rho, could you please re-up Sinsemilla + Red
Thanks a lot and keep on jammin'