BLACK ROOTS / Includes: BLACK ROOTS (1983) and THE FRONTLINE (1984)
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1983-1984 - Makasound - studio - discs: 1
Black Roots from Bristol (UK) were: Errol Brown (vocals), Delroy Ogilvie (vocals), Cordell Francis (lead guitar), Jabulani Ngozi (rhythm guitar), Kondwani Ngozi (vocals and congas), Derrick King (bass) and Trevor Seivwright (drums). Their musical partnership lasted only for a brief amount of time but thanks to the French based Makasound label we have the opportunity to hear them shine. "Black Roots" was their 1983 debut album. The songs presented here (as with the following "The Frontline" set) were written, composed, arranged and produced by them. All of them were born in Jamaica but raised in Bristol as sons of immigrants. They formed in 1979 and in 1980 they were able to release a four tracks EP presenting "Bristol Rock", "The Father" (included here), "Tribal War" (also included here) and "The System". The debut set was produced by Black Roots and Denny Vidal. The personnel includes Erroll Brown and Delroy Ogilvie (vocals), Kondwani Ngozi (backing vocals), T.L. Seiwright (drums), D.L. King (bass), Jabulani Ngozi (rhythm guitar), Cornell Francis (lead guitar), Carlton Roots (keyboards), Rudy Hymes (saxophone), Rico Rodriguez (trombone), Kondwani Ngozi (congas), Erroll Brown (percussions) and Dick Cuthell (flugel horn). The album was recorded and mixed at Satril Studios in London. Something must be taken for granted: they are (were) not an imitation of the two leading Reggae bands in the UK, Steel Pulse and Aswad! If at the first listening there could be a slight sensation that there is some kind of resemblance to these bands, keeping on playing them will result in a totally clear consideration about their music. Black Roots do not imitate nobody, they did not need it. Their eight tracks debut is strong enough to be considered as part of the British Reggae history. Roots, that is what they play. Anything less than their cousins in Jamaica. In 1984 "The Frontline" set followed the great debut of "Black Roots" from the previous year. This time things get thinner (talking about time ) with six songs only. And on six tracks only it is difficult to express an opinion that tries to make sense. But here is what we have, so listen carefully. The set opens with "War", just to introduce a mood: melodic and deeply Roots, a perfect recipe indeed. Not to speak about the perfect off tune singing and the surreal keyboards on closing. The rocking ""Signs & Wonders" comes to call the lazy listeners: not too much fast, not commercial. Its aim is to awake you a little bit. Serious things happen around with "Frontline", a first class Roots song. Again it is time to shake the bones with "Far Over", jerk time. Straight back inna Roots style with the deep "Blackheart Man". The set coles with "Struggling": joyfull only in the music, not at all in the lyrics. Both sets includes some very good Roots with few unmissable peaks.
Note: "Black Roots" and "The Frontline" are presented together as one CD with the sequence of the original tracks changed.
"Black Roots" set:
1. The Father
3. Juvenile Delinquent
4. What Them A Do
6. Tribal War
8. Move On
"The Frontline" set:
2. Signs & Wonders
4. Far Over
5. Blackheart Man
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1979-1982 - Makasound - studio - discs: 1
"In Session" was originally a Studio live album containing ten tracks recorded during two different sessions at the British BBC Radio One in 1982. This very strong set was released in 1986. This rerelease contains the original ten tracks (here in a different order) plus six other songs. The songs recorded at the BBC are: "Confusion", "Survival", "Juvenile Delinquent", "What Dem A Do", "Move On", "Opportunity", "Tribal War", "Africa", "The Father" and "Chanting For Freedom". The added material was recorded prior to the BBC sessions between 1979 and 1980 at The Facility Studio in Bristol, UK. We have the first band singles "Bristol Rock" and "The System". The remaining four songs are alternative 12" versions of other songs: "Confusion", "Chanting For Freedom", "The Father" and "Tribal War". The strong Roots sound of the BBC sessions amazes for its resemblance with the original studio versions. All demonstrates the total confidence of the artists and clearly states that playing live do not stop them from being very professional. But what counts at the end is the final strong Roots vibe delivered through an enlighting bunch of beautiful songs. There is a lot of heavy British Roots here. Yes I!