Sylvan White

Africans Unite

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The first release on the Vermont-based reggae label Roots Foundation is an excellent compilation of singles by the criminally neglected roots singer Sylvan White, who recorded a number of singles in the late '70s and early '80s for the Freedom Sound and Cornerstone labels; this collection is his first album-length release. Fans of classic reggae will find listening to Africans Unite a bittersweet experience -- sweet because the songs are so consistently good, and bitter because White recorded so little and so little of what he did record is commercially available. The songs on Africans Unite are mostly presented in extended disco-mixes or followed by separate dub mixes; since the rhythm tracks are provided by the Soul Syndicate and High Times and were mixed at King Tubby's studio, the rhythms and dub mixes are of the highest caliber, but White's voice and his emotional delivery are just as good. Highlight tracks include the aching "Mountain Top" and a classic sufferer's anthem titled "Bucky Masa." Highly recommended.