Prince Alla

Only Love Can Conquer (1976-1979)

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This collection of singles by the relatively obscure roots-reggae singer Prince Alla (backed by the Soul Syndicate, the preeminent reggae studio band of the seventies) is a revelation. Imagine someone with the tone of a young Johnnie Clarke and the expressiveness of Sugar Minott at his best, and then take away the lover's rock and you've got Prince Alla: an angel's voice with an apocalyptic edge. If you want a good distillation of the Rastafarian message, look no further. It's all here, from the condemnation of materialism ("They Never Love," complete with a dub version) to the unapologetic sexism ("Lot's Wife," "Lady Deceiver") and the political rabble-rousing ("Youthman in the Ghetto"). Through it all, the Soul Syndicate burns with a thick, slow one-drop groove that never lets up the pressure. If you don't own this disc, repent now.

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