Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Black Uhuru "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner" (1983) [iTunes Link]

This collection of mid-to-late-'70s singles has been issued under a couple of other names (SHOWCASE and BLACK UHURU), but under any title, it's simply essential. This early material is prime '70s reggae. Unlike a lot of Jamaican reggae artists, Black Uhuru were able to integrate an upfront AmericanR&B element--thanks largely due to the Al Green-style lead vocals of Michael Rose, supported by South Carolina-born backing vocalist Sheila "Puma" Jones--into their music, which makes the group more accessible to rock and pop fans new to reggae. Tracks like "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner" and thewide-eyed "Shine Eye Gal" are immediately appealing to the reggae novice, which makes tougher-sounding and more challenging material like the plainspoken "Abortion" and "General Penitentiary" easier to get a handle on. This seven-track setis brief, but it's a perfect introduction to one of reggae's best bands.

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