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4.8 out of 5 stars
25
4.8 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
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VINE VOICEon 2 February 2004
Surely one of the most satisfying of all reggae albums, as Bunny is, by turn, militant and tender but always intelligent. "Knock and it shall be opened/Seek and Ye Shall Find/Wisdom is Found in the Simplest of Places in the Nick of Time."
His voice is as expressive as ever - with the backing adding to the subtlety. Sounds as good, maybe better, now that when it came out over 20 years ago.
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By far the least prolific songwriter of the original Wailers trio (with Bob Marley and Peter Tosh), Bunny nevertheless began his solo career with an album that equalled any album by Marley or Tosh - it's a shame he never managed to make another one as good as this.

Blackheart Man is a gentle record and where Bunny has a militant message he makes his point far less stridently than Peter Tosh would have done. While it is steeped in Rastafarianism, it largely eschews the roots-by-numbers lyrics that are particularly prevalent both in modern roots reggae and to a lesser extent during the 1970s - he actually has something to say, and a gorgeous melody to sing it to.

It's hard to single out the best tracks as the overall standard is very consistent, but the upful Bide Up, the gently militant Fighting Against Conviction, the beautiful title track and the amazing adaptation of the old gospel song This Train are all superb and they're not the only ones.

If you like Bob Marley's more reflective and tuneful material, you'll like this, if you already have a lot of roots reggae and haven't heard this then I guarantee it's better than nearly anything else you'll hear in the genre.
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on 18 December 2006
This album has been criminally overlooked in virtually every 'classic regggae albums' type round-up that I've read, and that baffles me. This is Bunny Wailer, refreshed and revitalised, free from the constraints of international touring with The Wailers, and releasing the finest piece of roots reggae you'll probably ever hear. From the flute introduction of the title track, to Bunny's epic re-interpretation of the classic 'This Train' - it's miles better than anything Bob did after the original trio split up. If you are in any way interested in reggae, or just music with a groove, you can't go wrong here.
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VINE VOICEon 30 August 2001
Surely one of the most satisfying of all reggae albums, as Bunny is, by turn, militant and tender but always intelligent. "Knock and it shall be opened/Seek and Ye Shall Find/Wisdom is Found in the Simplest of Places in the Nick of Time." His voice is as expressive as ever - with the backing adding to the subtlety. Sounds as good, maybe better, now that when it came out over 20 years ago.
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on 12 December 2012
After making this album there was only one way for Bunny Wailer to go. This album is peerless in terms of concept, musicianship, clarity of mix, lyrics - it has and will continue to stand the test of time. Battering Down Sentence is a great piece of music biography and poetry. Other great songs like 'Bide Up', Fig Tree and 'Dreamland' illustrate Jah B's sense of melody - there isn't a dud track on this CD. There are also background inputs from Peter Tosh and Bob Marley. The only downside is that in CD format you lose the artistry of the cover as it was in vinyl. The artwork on the originally jacket was worthy of display in an art gallery.
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on 28 April 2007
this is an album of great subtlety, reggae is in the background in this music in favour of Bunny the poet yet the musical tones and nuances are so softly and delicately intertwined with the delicious evoctive vocal that at the end of the album you are left at equal times drained yet invigorated. Am I making sense? Don't die before you have listened to this.
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on 4 July 2000
this is essential to any half-decent collection of reggae from the classic period. Bunny Wailer's beautiful, yearning voice blends with classic drums/bass/horns rhythms, expressing the core beliefs and way of life of the rastaman in truly inspiring fashion. Recorded for the Island label, but no compromise, no sell-out in evidence here. Instead Island's involvement facilitated a thoroughly well-crafted and thoughtfully-conceived album, wholly satisfying.
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on 14 May 2009
This is Bunny's best offering to the field of reggae. The voicals on this album are simply beautiful. In many ways Bunny had the best voice of all the wailers. Although Tosh and Marley had distinctive tones rarely could they reach the subtlety of Bunny's voice. Although its difficult to pick one track that stands out from the others I recommend track two for this honour. Its not so much what is said, although that is powerful,its the background instumentals to the verses. Listen to the pipe, flute and other instrunments that form the main background of the sung verses and the softness of how they are played, you will then understand why I pick this track. Considering that Tosh and Marley both worked on this album as singers as musicians its a fantastic buy.
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on 12 March 2015
I had the LP on its release in 1976 and was recently reminded how it good it was when hearing some (inferior) Wailers tracks. Got the cd and it's as good as ever. Like all great albums, it's timeless. Could have been recorded yesterday. Still a big reggae fan, I rate this as surely the best reggae album ever made.
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Not only was Bunny Livington a Wailer, but he has one of the loveliest voices in all reggae, with the lyricism of Jimmy Cliff, a hint of Marley's huskiness, and something of the haunting quality of Burning Spear, with a deceptive lightness all his own.
This was his first solo album post-Wailers, made in '76, and it's a stunningly good, beautifully relaxed debut, with a set of ten strong songs by Bunny himself. His band is illustrious indeed, with Robbie Shakespeare, fellow ex-Wailer Peter Tosh, Carlton & Aston Barrett, Tyrone Downie, and others, including some very tasty flute by Tommy McCook.
Not a dud song here, and some of them are unforgettable, such as the opening title track, the nostalgic Dream Land, and the long hypnotic Armagideon. The final eight-minute This Train is a languid, harmonica-haunted version of the old gospel number, and is a glorious way to bring matters to a close.
I love this record ~ even more than the later, joyous 'Sings the Wailers' album. This one has more substance and more of a cohesive feel to it. Bunny Wailer is the real deal.

Gorgeous.
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