Top critical review
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reggae on the slide
on 6 August 2008
it was around this time, the mid 70's, that reggae moved away from being the accesible, joyful music that could appeal to everyone, into the darker, more politicised platform for artists like burning spear. for lillywhite listeners like me, i couldnt relate at all to the black stuggle lyrics being sung with excessively heavy jamaican accents. i still dug the music, but the lyrics and whole vibe just left me cold.
most of this album is chock full of somewhat clumsy political messages lamenting the fate of the black man. ok, fine. but give me ken booth, bob marley or desmond dekker anyday. at least when they approached sensitive subjects they did it without too much of a large chip on their shoulder, unlike burning spear, who might as well have come out with a song called 'burn in hell white devils' i mean, tell it like it is man.
musically the album is pretty sweet. nice basslines and sax. but the patois and lyrical stance isloates me from it. thankfully toward the end of the 70's we moved into the era of lovers rock which gave a nice respite from the oppresive feel of albums like this, but then of course it all went into its death throes with the advent of 'ragga' and the likes of shaggy
its a shame cos for a while there reggae was a real nice musical style that produced some wonderful songs, especially between 69-74 - with the advent of this sort of approach within the music however, it just polarized itself