New turn for Black Uhuru

BY RICHARD JOHNSON
Observer senior reporter
johnsonr@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

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After a 15-year layoff, veteran roots-reggae group Black Uhuru dropped the 15-song album As The World Turns last Friday.

The album was actually recorded six years ago, but the master files got corrupted and the Grammy-winning outfit had to redo the project, with the exception of Spectrum featuring Prezident Brown.

“It is a really strong roots-reggae album,” Black Uhuru's founder Duckie Simpson told the Jamaica Observer. “We recorded in California and at Gibby's studio in Jamaica with some really great artistes and musicians. The album is produced by Black Uhuru and King Lion out of California; Mikey Genna is the executive producer.”

As The World Turns also has collaborations with younger artistes, which Simpson said is a way of introducing Black Uhuru to a new audience.

“There is a collaboration with Bugle on the track Jah Guide. This is a song originally recorded by Peter Tosh. Bugle is a young artiste that we have a lot of respect for so we definitely wanted him on the project once we decided to add a few fresh tracks to what we had on that first album,” he explained. “There is also Stronger which features (Agent) Sasco. This track was produced by Seanie B out of London. He sent us the track and we put lyrics to it and Sasco was added. Then there is the track Spectrum with Prezident Brown. This was the only one which survived from the original recording. What we have done is really a remix, so there are two versions of this on the album — the original and the other which has a sort of hip-hop flavour with some crossover appeal.”

Black Uhuru offered its take on Indian Rope Man, a classic 1969 recording by American folk singer Richie Havens. This song was covered by The Wailers as African Herbsman in 1971 for producer Lee “Scratch” Perry.

For As the World Turns, it has been given new life as Jamaican Herb Man.

Simpson and fellow singer Andrew Bees also put their spin on Marley's Crying Again. Other tracks include Home Alone, Betrayal and War Crime.

Meanwhile, Simpson disclosed that the legal battle over the right to the Black Uhuru name seems headed for arbitration.

Earlier this year, former Black Uhuru member Michael Rose registered the name of the group in the United Kingdom, rehashing a legal furor which Simpson won against former members Don Carlos and Garth Dennis in the 1990s.

“We have been given 40 days to get our documents together. The legal team is currently preparing that for submission. So they have a case on their hands, and we are confident,” said Simpson.

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