Blogaroo: Day 24: Black Uhuru

16 May

Black Uhuru is one of the world’s best and most well-known reggae groups. The group got together in Jamaica in 1972 and was originally known as Uhuru, which is Swahili for “freedom.” While Garth Dennis, Don Carlos and Derrick “Duckie” Simpson were among the band’s original members, the line up has changed many times in the four decades the group has been performing. Other members include Jenifah Nyah, Andrew Bees, Delroy “Junior” Reid, Olafunke, Sandra “Puma” Jones, Michael Rose, Sly Dunbar, Robbie Shakespeare and Errol “Tarzan” Nelson.

While the group has been around forever, they reached their height in 1985, when Anthem won a Grammy for Best Reggae Album, the first year the award was given.


As is true with most things in my life, I got into both reggae and Black Uhuru under Addam’s influence. We’ve never seen them live, but in our house they’re right up there with Bob.

After years and years of searching for a show, they were added to the Bonnaoo line up a few weeks ago. They weren’t officially announced until after the first round of artists were released so, to say the absolute least, Addam and I are both very excited to finally see them. The band is playing Saturday at 3:45 p.m. on Roo’s main stage, and you best believe that come June 11th I will be happily dancing in the midday sun to some of Jamaica’s finest.

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While there are not very many valid excuses for any true music lover to not know this band, if you’re still in the dark — try taking a few references from pop culture. They’re featured on both the Scarface and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas video game soundtracks.

But seriously — don’t even waste you time with that shiz. Get on iTunes, buy a (gasp) CD, a record, download some illegal music — I don’t care. Just make sure that before you die you check out some of the century’s best dub reggae. And if you need some help, check out the links I’ve posted below. It’s gritty and it’ll change your life, man. This is no Sean Kingston, I’m talking about. This music will make you feel like you’re smoking a spliff in a ’80s Jamaican ghetto. And if it doesn’t, well baby, just turn it up louder.

Discography:

  • Love Crisis’ (1977)
  • Showcase (1979)
  • Black Uhuru (1980)
  • Sinsemilla (1980)
  • Red (1981)
  • Black Sounds of Freedom (1981)
  • Uhuru in Dub (1982)
  • Tear It Up – Live (1982)
  • The Dub Factor (1983)
  • Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1983)
  • Anthem (1983)
  • Live (1984)
  • Reggae Greats (1985)
  • Brutal (1986)
  • Brutal Dub (1986)
  • Positive (1987)
  • Positive Dub (1987)
  • Live in New York City (1988)
  • Now (1990)
  • Now Dub (1990)
  • Love Dub (1990)
  • Iron Storm (1991)
  • Iron Storm Dub (1992)
  • Chill Out (1992)
  • Mystical Truth (1993)
  • Mystical Truth Dub (1993)
  • Strongg (1994)
  • Strongg Dub (1994)
  • Live (1994)
  • Unification (1998)
  • Live 1984 (2000)
  • Dynasty (2001)
  • In Dub (2001)
  • Dubbin’ It Live (2001)

Sounds Like:

Songs to Listen For:

  1. Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner
  2. What is Life?
  3. Stalk of Sinsemilla
  4. Mondays
  5. Happiness
  6. Push Push
  7. Chill Out
  8. Youth of Eglington
  9. Sponji Reggae
  10. Shine Eye Gal

Times at Roo: 0

Times I’ve Seen the Band: 0

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“She said, “Natty, turn off your light. Give me dreadlock when you give me first night.” — Black Uhuru, Shine Eye Gal (1981).

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