Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Burning Spear - 100th Anniversary (Marcus Garvey + Garvey's Ghost)

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

1975 to 1976
Rodney retires to St. Ann’s Bay to contemplate his next move. He is approached by local sound system operator Jack Ruby, who offers a 50/50 partnership. The first single the pair produces, “Marcus Garvey," provides a new template for Burning Spear, now a trio with the addition of Delroy Hinds (brother of ska vocalist Justin Hinds). The partnership between Ruby and Spear produces one of the all-time great reggae records, Marcus Garvey. Whereas the Studio One sound is increasingly stuck in the past, Marcus Garvey is the sound of the present, blending the early ‘70s Wailers sound (best captured on Burnin’ and Talking Blues) with plaintive horns, chanted lyrics and jazz-tinged guitar work from veteran session player Earl "Chinna" Smith. Always intended as an album-length statement, each song iterates different aspects of Garveyism and Rasta teaching. The title tune single-handedly revives interest in Garvey's life and teachings, which had been overshadowed by the more radical black leaders of the ‘60s.

Ruby, in an interview with Carl Gayle in the liner notes of 2001 Spear Records compilation Spear Burning, recounts: “The first evening Burning Spear album come out, two thousand album come in [the office] and I couldn’t get a copy to carry home. People line up; two thousand record come without jacket and I, the producer, couldn’t get a copy.”

Internationally, the album is released on Island. As had been done with Marley's Island releases, the mix of the album is lightened, lessening the bass and speeding up tracks. Rodney’s take on this, from Spear Burning’s liner notes, is less furious than philosophical: “Island never notify the artists but try to adjust and fit in with the vibes that were going on at the time. Changed up everything. Better they left the album the way it was created.” Many fans castigate Island to this day for messing with this masterpiece and subsequent recordings. Rodney starts Spear Records as an outlet for his own productions without the interference of other parties; the label would last until 1979. Despite his lack of hands-on studio experience or musical training, Spear is able to achieve his own sound without Jack Ruby’s production expertise. In 1976, the first of his many dub albums is released: Garvey’s Ghost.

Burning Spear - 100th Anniversary (Marcus Garvey + Garvey's Ghost)
Label: Island
Record date: 1976
Album style: Dub, Lee Library, Reggae, Roots

1. Marcus Garvey
2. Slavery Days
3. The Invasion
4. Live Good
5. Give Me
6. Old Marcus Garvey
7. Tradition
8. Jordan River
9. Red, Gold & Green
10. Resting Place
11. The Ghost
12. I And I Survive
13. Black Wa-Da-Da
14. John Burns Skank
15. Brain Food
16. Farther East Of Jack
17. 2000 Years
18. Dread River
19. Workshop
20. Reggaelation

Producer and Dubbing Producer: L. Lindo (Jack Ruby)
Engineers: George Philpott and Errol Thompson
Dubbing Engineers: John Burns and Dick Cuthell
Mixed at Joe Gibbs Recording Studio, Retirement Crescent, Kingston, Jamaica, (W.I.)
Recorded at Randy's Studio
Dub Mix at Island Studios, Hammersmith
Special Thanks to LLoyd Coxone
The Black Disciples:
Bass - Robert (Rabbi) Shakespeare, Aston (Family Man) Barrett
Lead Guitar - Earl (Chinna) Smith
Rhythm Guitar - Valentine (Tony) Chin
Drums - Leroy (Horse) Wallace
Organ-Piano - Tyrone (Organ 'D') Downie, Bernard (Touter) Harvey
Clavinet - Bernard (Touter) Harvey
Trombone - Vincent (Trommie) Gordon
Tenor Sax - Richard (Dirty Harry) Hall
Alto Sax - Herman Marquis
Trumpet - Bobby Ellis
Flute - Carlton (Sam) Samuels



yesyesyes said...

Very nice double CD.I play it muchly.

Newk said...

Hey There
I just stumbled upon your blog looking for something completely different. I do have a question involving this release: Does the original Jamaican version without the remixes still exist? I've been looking for some time, and have found no good answers.