Johnny Clarke

Authorised Rockers

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Johnny Clarke is one of the greatest of the roots reggae singers, a sweet-voiced crooner who delivers messages of cultural awareness, prophetic warning, and romantic devotion with equal aplomb. Authorised Rockers actually compiles two of his finest albums, Rockers Time Now and Authorized Version. Both were recorded at Channel One and feature backing by the Revolutionaries; the former was mixed by King Tubby, and the latter by Bunny Lee. The combination of Clarke's exalted voice, the fierce, stripped-down rhythms of the Revolutionaries, and the production wizardry of Bunny and Tubby makes for one of the most consistently rewarding reggae discs available. Clarke moves from strength to strength, from the gently imploring "Be Holy My Brothers and Sisters" to the stern "Declaration of Rights," from the chilling "Marcus Garvey" to the romantic "I Wish It Would Go on Forever." Most of these songs were made famous by other singers -- you'll recognize tracks originally recorded by Bob Marley, Culture, the Mighty Diamonds, and others -- but in no case do Clarke's versions seem redundant. This is a must-own disc.

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