Proverbial Reggae

The Gladiators

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Proverbial Reggae Review

by Rick Anderson

The Gladiators were not only one of the two or three finest reggae harmony groups of the 1970s; they were also, somewhat unusually, an almost self-sufficient instrumental ensemble as well. Lead singer Albert Griffiths was an accomplished lead guitarist, and harmony singers Clinton Fearon and Gallimore Sutherland played bass and rhythm guitar, respectively. Although they always seemed to operate somewhat in the shadow of the sweeter-voiced Mighty Diamonds and were not quite as prolific, the Gladiators nevertheless made about as many really fine records as their closest competition, and the ones that they made for Virgin's Front Line imprint are among their best. Proverbial Reggae finds them augmented instrumentally by members of the legendary Revolutionaries studio band, and includes such classic Griffiths compositions as "Best Things in Life," "Jah Works," and the strangely catchy "Stick a Bush," a song whose inscrutable chorus has been parsed nearly to death on reggae discussion lists worldwide. This album was out of print and unavailable for over 20 years; three of its tracks were included on the collection Dreadlocks, the Time Is Now, which was released as part of an initial Front Line reissue push in 1990. In 2002, the original album was reissued on CD with the original cover art. Highly recommended.

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