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

Dub Inc : So What (dub-inc.com)

Dub Inc : So What (dub-inc.com)

This French outfit – who do exactly what their band name claims – appeared in New Zealand at the 2014 Womad and were rightly acclaimed . . . although selling reggae to a Kiwi... > Read more

The Heptones: Sweet Talking (Studio One)

The Heptones: Sweet Talking (Studio One)

Produced by the legendary Clement Dodd and fronted by the sweet voice of Leroy Sibbles, the Heptones were one of the great Jamaican vocal trios who brought in soulful harmonies borrowed from 50s... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . THE KIPPER KIDS: The theatre of cruelty and farting

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . THE KIPPER KIDS: The theatre of cruelty and farting

The fair-enough question might be “Who the hell are the Kipper Kids?”. But for those who know of them it's more likely, “Do we really have to talk about the Kipper Kids?”... > Read more

Joe Lovano: Symphonica (EMI)

Joe Lovano: Symphonica (EMI)

Those who were witness to the outstanding Auckland concert fronted by saxophonist Lovano and guitarist John Scofield might be right now looking for Joe albums: if so this maybe ain't the one you... > Read more