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Old 06-10-2009, 08:16 AM   #4 (permalink)
Bulldog
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Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: UK
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Third World - 96 Degrees In the Shade (1978)

Next in line from my library is an album I gave a shout pretty early on in my top 100 thread, and couldn't really let it miss out on a spot here. This second album, featuring Third World's classic lineup, is the peak of their intriguing brand of roots, this being a kind of mixture of the said roots rhythmic backdrop with African atmospherics and soulful vocals. Despite songs like Tribal War, the frankly brilliant Human Marketplace (easily one of my favourite reggae songs of all time) and Jah Glory still having a kind of lyrical fire in their bellies, like the aforementioned Aswad album 96 Degrees In the Shade presents us with roots at its most easily accessible. Basically, it carries delicious bass rhythms and juicy guitar licks to give it more appeal to folk who don't exactly listen to a lot of reggae while staying true to the fundaments of the movement. To sum up, it's a lot like the Aswad album I mentioned before and the album I'll mention next, just with a lot more soul thrown into the mix. Another one of my all-time favs this - essential stuff.



Steel Pulse - Handsworth Revolution (1978)

Although Steel Pulse are one of those bands that boast a more notoriously polished sound than their contemporaries, as their debut Handsworth Revolution finds an interesting middle ground between the gritty, bare necessities approach to production of a lot of roots reggae and the cleaner, mass-oriented one. In their pursuit of mainstream success Steel Pulse would embrace a more chart-friendly sound, but that was some years down the line. With their debut, all that mattered was getting the message out there, which is exactly what this album does. Steel Pulse were (and who knows, maybe even still are) among the more politically militant of roots artists, coming from the same sort of place as Peter Tosh and Prince Far I. What makes this album an essential roots album though is that even if the music sounds a little too clean for some tastes, the songs underneath all that varnish are more than strong enough to stand up and be counted, with numbers such as Ku Klux Klan, Prediction and Soldiers boasting very strong messages to their name, made all the more blatant by singer David Hinds' wonderful voice. All in all, it's not my favourite by them, but giving you a list of essential roots albums and not including this is a bit like giving someone a lawnmower without the blades.

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