Between 1980 and 1983, Black Uhuru became one of Jamaica's most successful reggae groups. In addition to such solid albums as Sinsemilla, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, Red, and Chill Out, the combo also released the Grammy-winning Anthem. The golden formula can be credited not only to the arrival of prolific writer/lead singer Michael Rose and the American-born vocalist Puma Jones, but also to the slick and accessible production provided by Sly & Robbie. Far from just watered-down reggae for the masses, though, the mix the Taxi Gang duo created was full of brutally shimmering rhythm tracks, which perfectly framed the vocal trio's (original member Ducky Simpson rounded out the front line) fluid harmonies and rootsy lyrical concerns. This generous roundup on the Sonic Sounds label brings together the highlights from the group's prime stretch, including such Uhuru classics as "Shine Eye Gal," "Spongie Reggae," and "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner." And while Mango's Liberation anthology gets higher marks for the addition of a few crucial tracks left out here, including some stunning cuts from the Dub Factor album, 20 Greatest Hits can still be recommended as a quality highlights package for the Black Uhuru newcomer.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Stephen Cook