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20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Burning Spear

Burning Spear

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Album Review

While many of these tracks are, in fact, Burning Spear's best, this 12-cut selection of his Island/Mango years only scratches the surface of Winston Rodney's voluminous catalog. Although 1996's Chant Down Babylon: The Island Anthology double set might be too much for the casual listener, nearly all these tunes are also available on Hip-O's single Ultimate Collection. Still, this disc's budget price is a consideration, since ten of its dozen songs represent Spear's classic years from 1975-1980. Additionally, the 12" versions of "Social Living" and an extended mix of "The Invasion/Black Wa-Da-Da" infuse depth to the listing, making this slightly more than just an abbreviated version of Chant Down Babylon. There's no denying the power of these songs, which, apart from Bob Marley's, are the most political and riveting statements to emerge from this period in reggae. The sound is excellent, both dry and heavy, to quote Spear's own song title. If you're just looking to experience the music that made Winston Rodney a legend, this is a practical place to start. It's likely that after getting a taste of the man's hypnotic, horn-accentuated approach, you'll want to explore his history more thoroughly.

Customer Reviews

the best one so far

this is a one and a half album at least its better than the ones that were in the lion king im not a reggae fan by the way i my favorite one is leaving! Goodby

Nothing Special

There's really nothing special about him or his music. As far as reggae goes, guys like him are a dime a dozen. Outside of Bob, Ziggy, and Toots, it's really all the same. And this is supposed to be the best of his stuff?? That doesn't bode well. The song The Sun is really the only halfway decent song.
Almost every song felt like brainwashing of some of the basic rasta concepts and ideals or something. Background singers just kept repeating the chorus or central theme, often involving the title, ad infinitum, to the point that my head ached. In a genre marked by a VERY low level of creativity all around, Burning Spear is on the lower end of the spectrum.

Biography

Born: March 1, 1948 in St. Ann's Bay, Jamaica

Genre: Reggae

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

One of the most brilliant and respected roots artists in Jamaica's history, Burning Spear (aka Winston Rodney) has unleashed a host of classic dread records over the years. Part Rastafarian preacher, part black historian, more than any other roots artist, Burning...
Full Bio