Prince Far I / Prince Far I & The Arabs

Message from the King

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The gravel-voiced DJ Prince Far I recorded a number of albums for Virgin's Front Line imprint in the late 1970s, and though bad blood later developed between the artist and the label (as Prince Far I would explain in bitter detail on "Virgin," a 10" single recorded for On-U Sound in 1981), those Front Line recordings remain some of his best. When the first set of Front Line reissues hit the U.S. marketplace in the early 1990s, the Prince Far I material was represented by two collections, one of which (Black Man Land) included the entirety of his Livity album and seven of the ten tracks from Message From the King. Now that Message From the King is available separately, fans who snapped up the 1990 compilation will wonder whether those three cuts are sufficient to justify purchase of the original album. For fans, the answer is probably yes -- "Wisdom," "Concrete Column," and "Dry Bone" are as good as everything else on the program, which is to say very good indeed. For the merely curious, either of the previous compilations will do.

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