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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Black Uhuru : Red


The most successful of the second-generation reggae bands, Black Uhuru maintained their high quality despite numerous personnel changes in their 40-plus-year history. The first reggae band to win a Grammy award, for their 1983 album Anthem, Black Uhuru was, according to Reggae: The Rough Guide, "The most dynamic and progressive reggae act of the 1970s and early '80s."


The group formed in the Waterhouse district of Kingston in 1972, initially called simply "Uhuru" (the Swahili word for freedom), with a line-up of Garth Dennis, Don Carlos, and Derrick "Duckie" Simpson. Their first release was a cover version of Curtis Mayfield's "Romancing to the Folk Song", which was followed by "Time is on Our Side"; Neither song was a success and they split up, with Carlos pursuing a solo career, as did Dennis, before joining The Wailing Souls.[2] Simpson also briefly worked with the Wailing Souls, before

With the addition of harmony singer Sandra "Puma" Jones, an Afro-American woman who held a master's degree from Columbia University and was a former member of the female group Mama Africa in 1981, Black Uhuru entered their most commercially successful period. In addition to recording a memorable studio album, Red, and an exciting live album, Tear It Up, the group reached its peak with the release of Anthem in 1983.

Red is an 1981 album by the Jamaican reggae band Black Uhuru. The line-up of the band changed many
forming a new version of Uhuru with Errol Nelson (of The Jayes) and Michael Rose, the group now taking the name Black Sounds Uhuru. Their Prince Jammy-produced debut album, Love Crisis, was released in 1977.
 They had their most successful period in the 1980s, with their album Anthem winning the first ever Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album in 1985.
times during its 16 years and this is the second release for the lineup of Michael Rose, Sandra "Puma" Jones and Derek "Duckie" Simpson. Sly & Robbie were again in the production seat after having previously working with the band on the 1980 album Sinsemilla.

( The sophomore release from the third and most successful incarnation of Black Uhuru (singers Don Carlos, Erroll "Jay" Wilson, and Rudolph "Garth" Dennis had come before), Red spotlights the singing talents of then rising star Michael Rose, American-born Sandra "Puma" Jones, and original member Derrick "Duckie" Simpson. Backed by the tight and dancehall-era defining Sly & Robbie band, the trio reels off eight high-quality reggae 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, along with Henry "Junjo" Lawes and Prince Jammy's contemporary productions, also helped define the slicked-up last stand of roots rhythms in the first half of the '80s, while foreshadowing reggae's coming digital age. A very enjoyable listen, recommended along with other fine offerings by the band like Chill Out and the Grammy-winning Anthem.    Review by Stephen Cook )



    Michael Rose - vocals
    Derrick "Duckie" Simpson - harmony vocals
    Puma Jones - harmony vocals
    Sly Dunbar - drums, syndrums
    Robbie Shakespeare - bass, piano
    Ranchie McLean - rhythm guitar, lead guitar
    Mikey Chung - rhythm guitar, lead guitar
    Radcliff "Dougie" Bryan - lead guitar
    Barry Reynolds - lead guitar
    Robert Lynn - piano
    Keith Sterling - piano
    Uziah "Sticky" Thompson - percussion


TRACKS

1.Youth of Eglington   5:00
2.Sponji Reggae        4:56
3.Sistren   Rose, Derrick "Duckie" Simpson 4:34
4.Journey       Simpson 5:21
5.Utterance         3:42
6.Puff She Puff   5:08
7.Rockstone  Rose, Simpson 4:38
8.Carbine       6:05

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