Lawrence "Jack Ruby" Lindo

Jack Ruby Presents The Black Foundation

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This is an hour-plus compilation of tracks Ruby oversaw for Burning Spear, Big Youth, the Heptones, the Gaylads, Justin Hinds, the Eagles (no, not the Californian Eagles), and a few other less renowned reggae artists. No dates and sources are given in the otherwise informative liner notes; presumably, all or most of the music dates from the 1970s. One of Ruby's distinguishing marks was his ability at recording horn sections, though not at the expense of the vocals, harmonies, and the message (on those cuts that had lyrics). Burning Spear's "Slavery Days," one of the most famous 1970s reggae tracks of all, is here, as is the title track of that band's Marcus Garvey LP. As those are relatively common in the collections of reggae enthusiasts, listeners will probably value this more for the less common work by the other artists, about half of which is either previously unreleased or presented in previously unreleased versions. Highlights are the Black Survivors' "Come Away Jah-Jah Children," whose haunting backup vocals echo reggae's roots in Nyabhingi music, and the eight-minute "Free Rhodesia" by Jack Ruby and the Black Disciples, which has fluttering guitars and jazzy horns not too far removed from some of Miles Davis' early electric recordings. Incidentally, another Heartbeat release, Black Foundation in Dub, collects dub versions (mixed by King Tubby, Errol Thompson, Sylvan Morris, and Chris Wilson) of material by acts that Ruby produced.

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