Burning Spear

Marcus Garvey/Garvey's Ghost

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This disc brings together Marcus Garvey, Burning Spear's debut album, with its dub counterpart, entitled Garvey's Ghost. The resulting package is one of the pillars of roots reggae, an album packed with thick, heavy grooves and uncompromising religious and political messages. Although this Mango reissue has been criticized as sonically weaker than the Jamaican original, it will sound plenty dread to all but the most critical ears. Songs like the title track, "Slavery Days" and "Give Me" (with its remarkably well-integrated flute part) all tremble with the intensity of Winston Rodney's dark voice, and some of the dub versions (in particular "Black Wa-Da-Da," based on "The Invasion") number among the most frightening ever created. There are no sing-along melodies here; Burning Spear has always been more about setting up a relentless groove and using it to get the words across. But that groove is glorious, and it's more than sufficient to support the significant weight of the lyrics.

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