CRUCIAL! ROOTS CLASSICS
This originally ran in the St. Louis Post Dispatch in 1994.
"Crucial! Roots Classics" is a wicked release, and for obvious reasons. Take a
bona-fide reggae legend (Bunny Wailer) and fourteen of his classic recordings (a
collection of mostly rare singles primarily from 1979-1982) and the result is indeed a
crucial collection of roots classics.
Wailer, born Neville Livingston, wrote the majority of these tracks during intensely
political times in Jamaica. From the opening track, "Boderation," through "Here In
Jamaica," the lyrics deal directly with his situation. A small example is from "Peace Talks"
(later covered in blistering punk form by Stiff Little Fingers) when, after pleading for
peace, Wailer slowly preaches "remember that reggae is the music which sends a message,
tells of history, the truth and the rights..."
While Wailer's lyrics are inspiring, the music behind them is captivating. Using
some of Jamaica's best session musicians - and recorded at landmark studios Harry J and
Channel One - this is over one hour of serious reggae at its finest. Bunny Wailer rules and
"Crucial" shows why.
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