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Black Sounds of Freedom

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Album Review

Formed in 1974, Black Uhuru had been recording singles exclusively when the trio joined forces with the highly regarded reggae producer Prince Jammy for their debut album, Black Sounds of Freedom (originally released in a different mix and with the title Love Crisis). Although not quite in a class with subsequent treasures like 1981's Red and 1982's Chill Out, this engaging date (which Shanachie reissued on CD in 1990) has all of Uhuru's trademarks: haunting themes, addictive grooves, and deeply spiritual lyrics based on the Rastafarian faith. Longtime followers of the group (whose 1977 lineup included Michael Rose, Errol Nelson, and original member Duckie Simpson) will be more than familiar with such heartfelt classics as "I Love King Selassie," "African Love," and "Satan Army Band." These songs point to the fact that in 1977, Uhuru were well on their way to becoming the reggae powerhouse they would be in the '80s. [In 2009 the Greensleeves label released a Deluxe Edition of Black Sounds of Freedom with Prince Jammy’s dub mix of the album added to the first disc along with an extra disc featuring the entire Love Crisis album. Raw and without any overdubs, the Love Crisis mixes of these songs will be a revelation for most fans but the set doesn’t stop there, as it adds some versions from DJ U Black plus remastered sound for the whole package.]


Formed: 1974 in Jamaica

Genre: Reggae

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

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 called "The most dynamic and progressive reggae act of the 1970s and early '80s." The band, whose name comes from the Swahili word meaning "freedom," was formed in the Waterhouse district of Kingston by Don Carlos, Rudolph "Garth" Dennis, and...
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Black Sounds of Freedom, Black Uhuru
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