It is fitting to share this rare gem now, considering we just posted the interview with Doctor Dread yesterday. Michael Rose left Black Uhuru in 1984 and the group was promptly dropped by Island Records just one year after winning the first ever reggae Grammy Award for ‘Anthem.’ Rose was promptly replaced by his good friend and fellow Waterhouse native Junior Reid. Doctor Dread, a longtime fan of the group, goes to NYC to ink the deal with Duckie Simpson’s lawyer and Black Uhuru, now a RAS Records act, get to work on the ‘Brutal’ album. ‘Brutal,’ produced by Doctor Dread, Black Uhuru, Steven Stanley, and Arthur Baker, is recorded by Steven Stanley at Music Mountain in Jamaica. The album is mixed by Jim Fox in Washington, DC, Arthur Baker in NYC (Great Train Robbery), and Steven Stanley back at Music Mountain in Jamaica. The album is released in 1986 and receives a Grammy nod, along with the ‘Brutal Dub’ album. Interesting note: The album contains the heavy, roots laden track “Dread In The Mountain,” which is voiced by Junior Reid. This same tune was a minor nhit for Reid in Jamaica several years earlier under the name “Chanting.”
So it’s 1985, the group has just signed with RAS, and they have not yet worked out the songs that will comprise the ‘Brutal’ album. This set of circumstances makes for a one-of-a-kind Black Uhuru show in Philadelphia, 1985. The show opens with Reid performing two of his solo hits “Shack A Lack” and “Original Foreign Mind” (mislabeled as “Worry Dem” in the archived setlist). The remainder of the show is comprised of songs from earlier Black Uhuru albums.
So here is a show that catches Black Uhuru in transition. Although the show is not labeled with respect to the date or venue, it occurred on August 13, 1985 at the Chestnut Theatre It is a true rarity because it showcases the talents of both Junior Reid and Puma Jones (who passed away in 1990). Great sound quality too for an audience recording.
1. Black Uhuru – Shack’a Lak Rock
2. Black Uhuru – Original Foreign Mind
3. Black Uhuru – What is Life?
4. Black Uhuru – Black Uhuru Anthem
5. Black Uhuru – Shine Eye Girl
6. Black Uhuru – Plastic Smile
7. Black Uhuru – General Penetentiary
8. Black Uhuru – Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?
9. Black Uhuru – Emotional Slaughter