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True Democracy

Steel Pulse

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Album Review

Although the group's first three albums are generally considered their finest, there is a very strong case to be made for including Steel Pulse's Elektra debut in their core collection as well. Where Reggae Fever had found the band moving from hardcore Rasta politics into lover's rock and party anthems, True Democracy marks a return to more ideological subject matter; the cover art, which shows singer David Hinds reading the Bible to his rapt bandmates, is a dead giveaway. Their sound might be a little bit slicker than before, but it's also harder and the lyrics less compromising — "Leggo Beast" denounces adultery over a stripped-down one-drop beat; "Man No Sober" inveighs against drunkenness; "A Who Responsible?" uses a dour trombone line to call down judgment on Babylon. But the mood is lightened somewhat by "Your House," a gorgeous love song, and by the exalted "Chant a Psalm." This is one of Steel Pulse's most satisfying and fully realized albums.

Customer Reviews

A life long fan

Christmas of 1984 at 16 years old I received a walkman and two cassetts from my Dad, my very first personal music experience, and to hear it through earphones, wow, I don't just hear the words, but my brain is awaken by every instrument as I listen to the incredible voice of David Hinds...the music just seemed to seep into my soul. The cassetts were Steel Pulse's Earth Crisis & True Democracy and I've been a fan ever since. I still thank my Dad.

Great Reggae!

If you're thinking of getting a steel pulse album, get this. Is has good songs all the way through, and real reggae songs. Songs from their later albums seem to be more pop-driven (listen to taxi driver or dem a wolf). These songs have a message and good reggae roots, unlike later albums where steel pulse seem to be trying too hard to get a #1 hit. Get True Democracy if you want catchy, melodic reggae, without the mainstream crowd-pleasing junk.

5 stars for a true classic

The best reggae album ever recorded, with the possible exception of a number of Bob Marley's. This is certainly the best outside of Bob Marley. It's the most perfect. It's recorded and mixed and mastered so perfectly and beautifully. The songwriting, singing, and performance is also tops. Every song is awesome, but everyone's favorites seem to be "Your House" (a gorgeous ballad), "Chant a Psalm" (rhythmically intricate, cool, poetic), and "Rally Round" (the warrior call to African unity). It's really hard to dismiss the other tracks as any less fantastic. There's really no good reason not to buy this whole album.

Biography

Formed: 1975 in Birmingham, England

Genre: Reggae

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

Steel Pulse were one of Britain's greatest reggae bands, rivaled only by Aswad in terms of creative and commercial success. Generally a protest-minded Rastafarian outfit, Steel Pulse started out playing authentic roots reggae with touches of jazz and Latin music, and earned a substantial audience among white U.K. punks as well. Their 1978 debut, Handsworth Revolution, is still regarded by many critics as a landmark and a high point of British reggae. As the '80s wore on, slick synthesizers and elements...
Full Bio
True Democracy, Steel Pulse
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