Burning Spear

Burning Spear - Presenting (Original mix) - Studio One. Winston Rodney better known as Burning Spear, also called 'The Spear'. Yet the 'Burning' part of his title is just as fitting. For this album and 'Rocking Time' recorded in the early seventies and released around 1974 are at the very center of the cultural revolution which took place in Jamaica in the early to mid seventies. Although deeply rooted in Rastafari - they make strong connections to other ideas which have enable people to survive oppression over many centuries.

 

Burning Spear - Rocking Time (Original Mix) - Studio One. This is really 'Presenting' Part Two. The same mix of cultural/reality lyrics. Produced in exactly the same way by Coxsone Dodd with the same set of excellent musicians. With the twelve tracks on this album and the twelve tracks on 'Presenting' it almost looks too easy to make music like this. Nothing could be further form the truth. Although all of his songs are connected in some undescribable way, the wonderful melodies and bass lines found on these albums require the highest creativity from a lot of people.

 

Burning Spear - Marcus Garvey - Island - 1975

When the cultural revoultion finally swept out of Jamaica in the mid-seventies - Burning Spear was there at the front. Now working with sound system owner Jack Ruby and a new set of musicians - which included Leroy 'Horsemouth' Wallace on drums and Robbie Shakespeare and Family Man on bass - they created yet another sound. It was a harsher more powerful sound, and it suited the Spear perfectly. Even though Island released a speeded up mix of the album it still sounded great.

 

Burning Spear - Man In The Hills - Island - 1976

Yet another step forward. The same basic harsh sound, now made even more harsher by extensive keyboard work. With no credits, its only possible to guess to whose work it is. Like 'Marcus Garvey' it was produced by Jack Ruby and recorded at Randy's, a studio with a sound that really was reggae music at it's best. The songs on the album go from the new works like 'Man In The Hills' and 'Lion', to recuts like 'Door Peer', although they are more like recreations.

 

Burning Spear - Dry And Heavy - Island - 1977

And it was Dry And Heavy. The emphasis on this album is entirely on the keyboards. The Bass and Drum are left to fill in the gaps. They were still there but only in a very minimal sort of way. Truly roots rocks without any compromise or apology. Lyrically once again a mix of old and new. 'Throw Down Your Arms' one of the new tracks is a stunning piece of work, containing some amazing horn arrangements. The recuts are also totally rearranged in much the same way. This is also the Spear's, first self produced album.

 

Burning Spear - Marcus Children - Burning Spear - 1978

Another milestone album in Burning Spear's career. His second self produced album, but the first for his own label - Burning Spear. Island at the time couldn't decide if they wanted to release this album or not. In the end they did, but on a label called One Stop. They also gave it a different title 'Social Living'. Which is really the best track on a album full of them. The chant of "Don't You Know Social Living Is The Best" remains one of the memorable in the history of the music.

 

Burning Spear - Hail H.I.M. - Burning Spear/EMI - 1980

His first album for EMI, and also one of strongest. The production is crisp with Family Man on Bass and a new name Nelson Miller on drums. The last album ended in a unfamilar way with Spear singing the praises of 'Civilized Reggae'. 'Hail H.I.M.' begins in a more traditional way with the title track. A tribute to Haile Selassie one of two central character who dominate Spears music, the other being Marcus Garvey. 'Hail H.I.M.' presents itself as a upholder of all what Spear stands for.

 

Burning Spear - Far Over - Burning Spear/EMI

Truth is what Spear seeks. He's called for it time and time again. "Truth through Education". "Youth, manners you must have, behaviour, approach, intellegence, go to school, don't loaf." And so it goes on track after track. All set to crisp Tuff Gong rhythms. It's a sound that suits the Spear perfectly, the clarity of the vocal. The seperation in the music is something Spear's music needs. Spears sings from his heart, and will continue to do so until his message is clearly understood by all who should know.

 

Burning Spear - Fittest Of The Fittest - Burning Spear - 1983. The progress of Burning Spear in recent years as taken him outside of the mainstream of current reggae music. Yet at the same time he still remains at very deepest roots of the music. And it's a music that's proud and strong. Now working with a band named The Burning Band. They are essentially the same group of musicians who appear on certain tracks from the Spear's last albums. Lyrically this album maintains the Spear's interest in Africa, Rastafari and Black Nationalism.

 

Burning Spear - Resistance - Heartbeat - 1985

You can only praise Burning Spear. While some look anxiously for someone to make reggae popular again, the Spear, just gets on with the task at hand. Every month or so you hear of the Spear taking reggae or should that be roots reggae where's it's never been before. For this is what the Spear is doing. This LP 'Resistance' has been described as been over produced. Well that true, but then that's also true of 'Marcus Garvey' 'Man In The Hills' etc. It's what makes them sound as fresh today as they did ten years ago.

 

Burning Spear - Mek We Dweet - Mango - 1990

After two very disappointing albums 'People Of The World' and 'Mistress Music'. Burning Spear returned to Island/Mango. This album needed to be a serious return to form, and thankfully it was. For an artist like Burning Spear to be taken seriously, the lyrics need to be about things that he actually cares about. And even then they should be saying something. The themes on this album are more or less traditional, and are just as relevent, as when Spear first sung them. Here they are updated musically for the early nineties.

 

Burning Spear - Jah Kingdom - Mango - 1991

Another very important album. The status of Burning Spear now basically an album artist, means that one good album out of the last three, would still be thought of as bad form. This album needed to be good as well. In fact it's even better. The melodies are very strong and so are the rhythms. Recorded in Ocho Rios, at the Grove Recording Studios - the album seems very relaxed. Once again the Burning Band are added too by veterans like Robbie Lyn, Nambo, Chico Chin and Nambo, who fill the album out very well.

Presenting

Door Peep Shall Not Enter

Pick Up The Pieces

Get Ready

Journey

Them A Come

He Prayed

Ethiopians Live It Out

We Are Free

Fire Down Below

Creation Rebel

Don't Mess With Jill

Down By The Riverside

Rocking Time

Call On You

Foggy Road

Swell Headed

Girls Like You

Old Time Saying

Bad To Worst

What A Happy Day

This Race

Walla Walla

Rocking Time

Weeping and Wailing

Mamie