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Something a Gwaan

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Album Review

The Gladiators started out in the late '60s as a harmony trio in the style of the early Wailers and the Mighty Diamonds, though with a slightly rougher edge. These days, the group's founder and chief songwriter, Albert Griffiths, is the only remaining member, and the years have taken something of a toll on his already smoky voice. But his songwriting skills remain undiminished, as is his ability to lead a band confidently into thickets of dense reggae and rocksteady rhythm. Something a Gwaan is a very fine album, one that stays primarily within the Gladiators' normal territory of sturdy mid-tempo roots and rockers reggae, but also strays occasionally (and refreshingly) into ska rhythms, as on "Hug Me Up" and the charming "Head to My Toe." Other highlights include the title track and "The Bull," which harks back explicitly to the Gladiators sound of the early '70s. Recommended.


Formed: 1967

Genre: Reggae

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

For over three decades, Albert Griffiths and his Gladiators have been a major force within Jamaican music. Born in 1946, in St. Elizabeth parish, he grew up in poverty in Trench Town, and trained as a mason. However, music beckoned, and linking with David Webber, brother of the popular Webber Sisters, the pair auditioned around the studios, but to no avail. Thus it was back to masonry, where Griffiths was now working alongside the Ethiopians' Leonard Dillon under a foreman, Leebert Robinson, also...
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Something a Gwaan, The Gladiators
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