Burning Spear was originally the project of Rastafarian visionary
Winston Rodney. After his first single (Door Peep), it expanded to
a trio and went on to become one of Jamaica's most successful acts with hits
such as Joe Frazier (1972).
Burning Spear's early albums Studio One Presents Burning Spear (1973) and
Rocking Time (1974) were full of references to Ethiopia and Zion.
The hits Marcus Garvey and Slavery Days opened the golden age,
crowned with one of reggae's all-time masterpieces,
Marcus Garvey (1976), on which he was backed
by the Black Disciples. The power and the passion of that album,
that relied on hypnotic polyrhythms and sinister vocals,
was watered down on the dub remix Garvey's Ghost (1976).
Rodney matured with the sermon of Travelling, Spear Burning, The Youth.
Then he simply cruised into the international jetset with
Man in the Hills (1977), containing The Lion,
Dry and Heavy (1977), basically a solo Rodney project,
Social Living (1978), backed by British combo Aswad,
the "lost" album Hail HIM (1980), backed by the Wailers.
A living icon, he adopted a new backing group, the Burning Band, and
embarked in a new series of impeccable (if somewhat inconclusive)
Farover (1982), with Jah Is My Driver,
The Fittest of the Fittest (1983), with the title-track,
Resistance (1984), one of his strongest sets although still a far
cry from his most innovative work,
People of the World (1986),
Mistress Music (1988), the last two being also the most densely
arranged, highlighted by virtuoso playing.
Burning Spear continued to release predictable collections of pop-jazz-reggae
muzak, rarely creative but always professional:
Mek We Dweet (1990),
Jah Kingdom (1991),
The World Should Know (1993),
Rasta Business (1995),
Appointment With His Majesty,
Calling Rastafari (1999),
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