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Jah Is Real

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Album Review

The reggae record business has been a snakepit for decades, and few have been as cruelly used by it as the legendary Winston Rodney (aka Burning Spear), a man whose recordings have helped build the foundation of roots reggae music and one who has struggled to survive financially for most of his career. Now living in Queens and running his own label, Rodney is not only finally reaping the just rewards of his hard work but also singing and writing at the peak of his powers. Jah Is Real is one of the strongest entries in his monumental catalog. It uses modern technology and recording techniques to deepen and strengthen his signature sound: a dry, heavy blend of horns, chanted melodies, two-ton basslines, and devotional lyrics. On this album he's helped out by what might seem at first like an unlikely duo: bassist Bootsy Collins and keyboardist Bernie Worrell, both charter members of Parliament Funkadelic. But the disconnect is only superficial: funk and reggae have deep roots in common, and both Bootsy and Bernie fit into the band with seamless ease. Highlight tracks include the resolutely rocking "People in High Places," the contemplative "Step It," the calypso-inflected "One Africa," and especially, the simple and moving title track. As with most Burning Spear albums, though, this one isn't characterized by sharp high and low points; it's a slow and steady journey through the soul and mind of one of reggae music's most beloved figures, and it moves with all the irresistible momentum of an elephant herd. Very highly recommended.

Customer Reviews

Always Great!

I love Burning Spear. As soon as I found out about this new album I went to their website and checked it out. The sound, the messages in the songs,everything about Burning Spear is wonderful. Only a fan for a couple of years, but now forever. Listen to them every day. They lift my spirit and make me feel empowered.

A must Have for any serious reggae fan

This is one of Burning Spears best albums in years. I heard about the album on National Public Radio and decided to check it out, now I can't take it out of my car stereo. The music is serious and all the songs are sweet and infectious. I have most of Burning Spear's albums and will safely rank this amongst his best works. Buy it, and you won't regret. A must have for any serious reggae fan. While you are at it check out music by Culture

Irie jammin

I can totally see myself jammin to this on the beach somewhere.


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 Spear has illuminated Rastafarianism in song, sharing his beliefs with an avid public. Born in St. Ann's Bay, Jamaica, in 1948, it was another St. Ann's native, Bob Marley, who set Rodney off to Kingston and a fateful meeting with Studio...
Full Bio