Black Uhuru ‎– Hard Ground

£9.99

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Jah Fingers

Available from 30th June 2017

The story of the great roots reggae harmony trio Black Uhuru is one defined
by many unexpected twists and turns. In its best known form, led by Michael Rose
and with founding member Duckie Simpson and the black American female vocalist,
Puma Jones, the group would enjoy the greatest popularity of any act in the wake of
Bob Marley’s untimely death in 1981, but the origins of the group lay in the turbulent
Waterhouse district during the mid-1970s. Duckie first formed the group as Uhuru,
the Swahili word for unity, with Garth Dennis as lead singer and Don Carlos to join
him in harmony; after cutting an adaptation of the Impressions’ “Romancing To The
Folk Song” at Dynamics, “Time Is On Our Side” at Randy’s for Clive Chin, and
“Slow Coach” for Raymond “Benno” Anderson, Dennis drifted into the Wailing
Souls and Don Carlos went solo, leading Duckie to recruit rising Waterhouse vocalist
Michael “Tony” Rose as lead singer, and Errol Nelson from the Jays for harmony.
Their debut album, Love Crisis, was produced, voiced and mixed at King Tubby’s
studio by Prince Jammy and remains and outstanding example of Jammy’s roots
reggae production phase. The song “Hard Ground” vamps on a similar theme to
Marley’s “Talking Blues”: Rose sings of a life of everyday hardship, with destitution
and homelessness the pervading factors. On the extended dub portion and dub the
instrumental cuts that follow the alternate vocal take of this enthralling 12-inch EP,
you can hear the non-standard instrumentation that helps make the work so
innovative, with Winston Wright’s harpsichord melody emphasising the hopelessness
of Rose’s emotive lyrics, the commanding rhythm and understated bass and guitar
from Robbie Shakespeare and Chinna Smith completing the picture.

a1. Hard Ground

a2. Hard Ground (Alt.Vocal Mix)

b1. Hard Ground Dub

b2. Hard Ground Instrumental