Burning Spear
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Burning Spear was originally the project of Rastafarian visionary Winston Rodney. After his first single (Door Peep), it expanded to a trio and went on to become one of Jamaica's most successful acts with hits such as Joe Frazier (1972). Burning Spear's early albums Studio One Presents Burning Spear (1973) and Rocking Time (1974) were full of references to Ethiopia and Zion. The hits Marcus Garvey and Slavery Days opened the golden age, crowned with one of reggae's all-time masterpieces, Marcus Garvey (1976), on which he was backed by the Black Disciples. The power and the passion of that album, that relied on hypnotic polyrhythms and sinister vocals, was watered down on the dub remix Garvey's Ghost (1976). Rodney matured with the sermon of Travelling, Spear Burning, The Youth. Then he simply cruised into the international jetset with Man in the Hills (1977), containing The Lion, Dry and Heavy (1977), basically a solo Rodney project, Social Living (1978), backed by British combo Aswad, the "lost" album Hail HIM (1980), backed by the Wailers.

A living icon, he adopted a new backing group, the Burning Band, and embarked in a new series of impeccable (if somewhat inconclusive) recordings: Farover (1982), with Jah Is My Driver, The Fittest of the Fittest (1983), with the title-track, Resistance (1984), one of his strongest sets although still a far cry from his most innovative work, People of the World (1986), and Mistress Music (1988), the last two being also the most densely arranged, highlighted by virtuoso playing.

Burning Spear continued to release predictable collections of pop-jazz-reggae muzak, rarely creative but always professional: Mek We Dweet (1990), Jah Kingdom (1991), The World Should Know (1993), Rasta Business (1995), Appointment With His Majesty, Calling Rastafari (1999), Freeman, etc.

(Copyright © 2003 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
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