Black Uhuru makes an Anthem

Friday, January 10, 2014

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BLACK Uhuru were arguably the biggest act in reggae when they won the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Recording (as it was known then) for Anthem.

It was a worthy victory for the trio of Duckie Simpson, Michael Rose and Puma Jones who had released a series of outstanding songs and albums since 1978.

Those recordings were produced by Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare for their Taxi label. With major support from Island Records, albums like Sinsemilla, Red and Chill Out made the trio superstars in Asia and Europe.

Anthem was not considered as potent as its predecessors, though it had strong moments in Bull In The Pen, Try It and What is Life.

Island 'resequenced and remixed' the album for the American and European markets as the company tried to broaden the group's fan base.

While the reviews for Anthem were mixed, it was one of five albums named by the National Academy of Recordings, Arts and Sciences for the first reggae Grammy.

Steel Pulse's Steppin' Out, King Yellowman by Yellowman, The Power and The Glory by Jimmy Cliff and Captured Live from Peter Tosh completed the list.

Anthem got the nod but celebrations were shortlived. Rose left Black Uhuru in 1985, reportedly due to differences with Simpson. He was replaced by Junior Reid.

Jones died from cancer in January 1990 at age 36.

-- Howard Campbell

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