Rocking with spear
February is Reggae Month and The Jamaica Observer continues its coverage with related stories.
REGGAE pundits usually identify the 1975 album Marcus Garvey as the jewel in Burning Spear's crown.
But one year before he unleashed that powerful statement, Burning Spear confirmed his rising status with Rocking Time,
his second album for Studio One.
Released 40 years ago, Rocking Time is a collection of potent message songs the St Ann-born singer-songwriter recorded for producer Clement Dodd.
Spear had been with Dodd since 1969, cutting a series of hard-hitting tunes including Door Peep, Ethiopians Live it Out and Joe Frazier (He Prayed).
Backed by musicians such as bass player Leroy Sibbles and drummer Leroy 'Horsemouth' Wallace, Spear maintained his militance on Rocking Time which included songs like Call on You, Foggy Road, Swell Headed, Weeping and Wailing and the title track.
Rocking Time won Spear even more underground fans who considered him worthy of the lofty moniker — first given to Kenyan freedom fighter Jomo Kenyatta.
But he yearned for a wider audience. He got that in just over one year when he hooked up with producer Lawrence 'Jack Ruby' Lindo to record the Marcus Garvey album.