“Across five seminal albums, Burning Spear would do more than just define roots; he would leave a fiery legacy that no other artist has equalled. Kicking off with the stunning Marcus Garvey in 1975 and encompassing the equally exceptional string of Man in the Hills, Dry & Heavy, Social Living, and Hail H.I.M., the final album in this series of masterpieces, Spear had undergone a continuous evolution. Over this five year period, Spear had truncated from a trio to Winston Rodney alone, grown to include the accompanying Black Disciples aggregate of elite sessionmen, then pared down to a smaller grouping, and had seen Rodney move into self-production. Along the way, Spear had developed a denser sound and mixed a variety of other genres into the deep roots atmosphere. By 1980, when work began on Hail H.I.M., Rodney had severed his ties to Island Records and most of the Black Disciples as well. However, Aston Barrett remained by his side as co-producer, bassist, and percussionist. So did saxophonists Bobby Ellis and Herman Marquis, now joined by Egbert Evans and keyboardist Earl Lindo, with fellow pianoman Tyrone Downie now also coming on board. There was a switch in sound as well; Social Living had been an almost anthemic album, while Hail H.I.M., in contrast, was transcendental. Much of the record has an almost proggy feel, as guitarist Junior Marvin jams across the heavy rhythms, the brass slices in jazzy passages, and lurking underneath, the tribal-flavored percussion and Rodney‘s congas. … It’s a stellar record, less a culmination of all that came before then a conclusion to a journey that had begun years before.”
W – Hail H.I.M.
YouTube: Hail H.I.M. 9 Video
“Winston Rodney OD (born 1 March 1945), better known by the stage name Burning Spear, is a Jamaican roots reggae vocalist and musician. Burning Spear is a Rastafarian and one of the most influential and long-standing roots artists to emerge from the 1970s. Winston Rodney was born in Saint Ann’s Bay, Saint Ann, Jamaica. As a young man he listened to the R&B, soul and jazz music transmitted by the US radio stations whose broadcasts reached Jamaica. Curtis Mayfield is cited by Rodney as a major US musical influence along with James Brown. Rodney was deeply influenced as a young man by the views of the political activist Marcus Garvey, especially with regard to the exploration of the themes of Pan-Africanism and self-determination. In 1969, Bob Marley, who was also from Saint Ann, advised Rodney to approach Coxsone Dodd‘s Studio One label after Rodney sought his advice during a casual conversation. Burning Spear was originally Rodney’s group, named after a military award given by Jomo Kenyatta, the first President of an independent Kenya, and included bass singer Rupert Willington. The duo auditioned for Dodd in 1969 which led to the release of their debut single ‘Door Peep’ (the session also included Cedric Brooks on saxophone). They were then joined by tenor Delroy Hinds. … His profile was raised further by an appearance in the film Rockers, performing ‘Jah no Dead’. …”
YouTube: Jah No Dead (12″, BS 001), Jah No Dead (Live)