The Itals

Give Me Power!

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It was six long years between the Itals' formation and the release of their debut album, Brutal Out Deh, in 1981. In the interim, the group had unleashed a stream of seminal Jamaican singles, including the chart-topping "In a Dis Ya Time." Their first long-player continued down that road and in several instances doubled back, as the trio recut earlier singles, then introduced equally seminal new roots numbers, virtually all revolving around the group's deeply held Rastafarian beliefs. Which is what makes their follow-up, Give Me Power!, so surprising. Within, Keith Porter, the group's primary songwriter, penned a clutch of numbers themed around societal issues, albeit still seen through a Rastafarian prism. One of the most militant is the powerful cry of "Me Waan Justice," with the warning of "Physical Pollution" and the dangers of "Material Gain," a theme echoed in "Kill Crime," almost as strong. Of course, all these songs still reverberate with Jah's power and might, while such purely religious numbers as the potent "Jah Calling," the coursing "Roll River Jordan," and the thick-with-gorgeous-harmonies and festooned-with-breezy-brass title track are all equally memorable. So, whether one prefers the cozy and evocative "Love Affair," the chirpy "Make Merry," steppers styling, upbeat reggae, or deeper roots, the Itals weave them all into this impressive set. Porter's pen seems only to sharpen with time, and with musical backing by God's Children and the Roots Radics, Give Me Power! is indeed a powerful set.

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