The Gladiators

Bongo Red

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This superb collection, which consists primarily of rare tracks, shows Albert Griffiths and his band at the height of their powers in the early to mid-'70s. The core of the album is fifteen tracks recorded at Clement Dodd's Studio One, and there's a surprising variety of sound in evidence, from the drum machine-driven version of "Roots Natty" to the dark and reverb-drenched setting of "Bongo Red." While the Gladiators were a harmony trio along the same general lines as the Mighty Diamonds and Culture, they distinguished themselves from their peers by being accomplished instrumentalists as well; they play with a tight assurance that underscores their vocals nicely. As a special bonus, this album is appended by two songs ("Time" and "Ungrateful Girl") recorded with Lee Perry at his legendary Black Ark studio. "Ungrateful Girl," in particular, shows a powerful synergy between the Gladiators and the Upsetter; the singing is top-rate and Perry achieves a guitar sound that is both perfect and slightly bizarre. This is an unusual but essential reggae document.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 2:42
2 2:45 Amazon
3 5:04 Amazon
4 3:09 Amazon
5 2:44 Amazon
6 2:21 Amazon
7 2:58 Amazon
8 3:59 Amazon
9 2:56 Amazon
10 3:26 Amazon
11 3:03 Amazon
12 2:52 Amazon
13 2:28 Amazon
14 2:27 Amazon
15 3:44 Amazon
16 2:21
blue highlight denotes track pick