Black Uhuru: As the World Turns (digital outlets)

 |   |  1 min read

Slaughter
Black Uhuru: As the World Turns (digital outlets)

In the late Seventies and early Eighties Black Uhuru out of Jamaica were one of the most important and convincing reggae outfits on the planet, delivering righteous albums on Island Records and spoken of in the same breadth as Bob Marley while bringing an edge of electronics into the genre with Sly'n'Robbie.

The classic line-up was Michael Rose, Puma Jones and the band's founder Duckie Simpson. Their four albums Sinsemilla, Red, Chill Out and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner between '81 and '83 would be in any serious reggae collection.

From the mid Eighties only Simpson remained with a revolving door of others which included Junior Reid, Don Carlos and session players.

As The World Turns is the first studio album under the Black Uhuru name in over 15 years although versions of them with Simpson have remained a live act, and it is Simpson here who takes on lead vocals.

While little of this reaches as deep and dark as they frequently did at their peak there is some strong stuff here (War Crime which is lyrically more serious than the light musical touch brought to it) and they still know their way around a memorable pop-reggae connection (Stand Alone, the easy skank of Betrayal, Ganga Baby).

They also continue their engagement with technology (this sounds very crisp), bring in Agent Sasco for some gruff dancehall toasting, and nod to the masters courtesy of Peter Tosh's Jah Guide, Marley's Stand Alone and African Herbsman (as the variant Jamaican Herbsman), and Junior Murvin's Police and Thieves pitched somewhere between Murvin's soulful version and the Clash's more aggressive stance.

It is mostly softer than hardcore fans would like but that was then and this, thirtysomething years on, is now. 

Most of these songs are of re-recordings of material laid down five years ago but which went unreleased and while this doesn't command the same sense of awe which their earlier work did it is a very respectable outing from a name with a heritage, and an understanding of what consciousness reggae can be when it acknowledges that history.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Reggae articles index

JUDY MOWATT INTERVIEWED (1990): The black queen arises

JUDY MOWATT INTERVIEWED (1990): The black queen arises

Judy Mowatt wears her unofficial title “the queen of reggae" easily. A striking figure of regal bearing, she holds her head high, and, as a member of The Twelve Tribes of Israel,... > Read more

THE DREAM GOES ON: Bob Marley's enduring influence, in jazz and elsewhere

THE DREAM GOES ON: Bob Marley's enduring influence, in jazz and elsewhere

Twenty years after the death of its high priest, reggae still informed the vocabulary of music. Reggae had so thoroughly infiltrated pop, rock, hip hop and electronica, we hardly noticed it any... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Scotty's salmon'n'scallop filo gateau with a capsicum dill buerre blanc

Scotty's salmon'n'scallop filo gateau with a capsicum dill buerre blanc

This superb and astonishingly easy recipe comes courtesy of Scotty Newcombe, chef at Lake Brunner Lodge in the South Island of New Zealand. Lake Brunner Lodge is one of those ideal retreats... > Read more

James Carr: Dark End of the Street (1967)

James Carr: Dark End of the Street (1967)

One of the greatest, most pain-filled soul songs, Dark End of the Street was written by producer Chips Moman (Elvis, Aretha, Waylon and many more) and Dan Penn (whose writing credits are so legion... > Read more