Black Uhuru

Black Uhuru

Profile:
Formed: 1974 in Kingston, Jamaica
One of the most popular reggae acts ever and the first one to win a Grammy. They were the most successful act from Jamaica besides Bob Marley and had an enormous cross-over success during the early to mid 80s, mainly because of two facts: first: the fantastic rhythm section - consisting of the ever present drum & bass twins Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare, who were actually a part of Black Uhuru during their most successful period; second: their sound was different - more accessible to Rock fans with uncompromising lyrics and their militant appearance. Their live shows were especially enigmatic.
Black Uhuru was founded in the late 70s by the then already established singers Rudolph "Garth" Dennis, Don Carlos and Duckie Simpson. After a while Michael Rose, who sang in hotels on the north coast of Jamaica for tourists, joined the group and the trio was complete. It was Michael Rose's rock stone gruff voice and his phrasing of syllables and consonants that made the sound of this vocal trio so eminently different from the multitude of other reggae trios. They had a local hit with the Prince Jammy produced ‘I Love King Selassie’. ‘Puma’ Jones, who was raised in New York, heard this song and fell in love with it immediately. So she joined the group in time for their first internationally distributed album ‘Sinsemillia’ (Island Records 1980) on TAXI - Productions/Jamaica. This album was a huge success already and some of these songs are still played in bars, coffee shops and Hippie hang-outs worldwide. The strength of songs like ‘World Is Africa’, ‘Push Push’, ‘Every Dreadlocks’, ‘Sinsemillia’ and ‘Fire’ make them timeless anthems. They toured and recorded with Michael Rose as Lead vocalist and further released the powerful ‘Red’ album with more militant songs like ‘Youth Of Eglington’ or ‘Sponjie Reggae’ (maybe their best song); a live album from 1981 called ‘Tear It Up’; the still solid ‘Chill Out’; and their 1983 album ‘Anthem’, that was repackaged and re-mixed for the international market with a different cover in 1984 (for no apparent reason). Quarrels about the status of Duckie Simpson (the Founder) and Michael Rose (the voice of Black Uhuru) lead to internal problems and Michael Rose left. Junior Reid, another singer from the Waterhouse neighbourhood in Kingston, replaced him. This lead to a rejuvenated sound and another highlight in the career of Black Uhuru. They even had a top ten hit with ‘The Great Train Robbery’ in the UK and other European countries, their first song written and sung by Junior Reid. The albums ‘Brutal’ and ‘Positive’ with good, advanced dub albums to follow were both very successful and their tours were (nearly) as successful as before. The same problem occurred again. Junior Reid was the voice and wrote the hit songs, while Duckie Simpson stayed out of focus, his songs were no hits - but he was the head of Black Uhuru. So Junior Reid left as well to pursue a successful solo career. To make matters worse ‘Puma’ Jones died of cancer in 1990. So Duckie Simpson contacted his old buddy Don Carlos, who was still a respected and always recording and releasing Solo artist with a nice voice and talent for song writing. Still this duo didn't have the potential to perform the anthems that made Black Uhuru the giants they were, so they recruited young singers who looked good and had the ability to reproduce the songs from both Michael Rose and even Junior Reid for the bread & butter earning live tours. This was a little bit ridiculous. Still - they got paid, released albums every few years and toured regularly. In recent years, Sly & Robbie reunited with them as Black Uhuru and toured the big Reggae Festivals with Don Carlos, Duckie Simpson and numerous young lead singers and female backing vocalists. On some festivals they even performed with Michael Rose as one act (while he sang some of his penned Black Uhuru anthems and some of his solo works) and as Black Uhuru! Michael Rose and Duckie Simpson finally found an agreement..............
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Black Uhuru Discography

Albums

none The Original Black Uhuru* Love Crisis (Album) Third World none Jamaica 1977 Sell This Version
none Black Uhuru Showcase (Album) Taxi none Jamaica 1979 Sell This Version
ILPS 9593 Black Uhuru Sinsemilla (Album) Island Records ILPS 9593 UK 1980 Sell This Version
ILPS 9625, MSC 305325 Black Uhuru Red (Album) Island Records, Sonic Sounds Rec. Mfg. Co. Ltd. ILPS 9625, MSC 305325 Jamaica 1981 Sell This Version
200 281 Black Uhuru Black Sounds Of Freedom (Album) Greensleeves Records 200 281 France 1981 Sell This Version
CSLP 2 Prince Jammy With Sly & Robbie / Black Uhuru Prince Jammy With Sly & Robbie / Black Uhuru - Uhuru In Dub (Album) CSA Records CSLP 2 UK 1982 Sell This Version
204 367 Black Uhuru Tear It Up - Live (Album) Mango 204 367 Europe 1982 Sell This Version
ILPS 9701 Black Uhuru Chill Out (Album) Island Records ILPS 9701 UK 1982 Sell This Version
ILPS 9769 Black Uhuru Anthem (Album) Island Records ILPS 9769 Greece 1983 Sell This Version
MLPS 9756 Black Uhuru The Dub Factor (Album) Mango MLPS 9756 Scandinavia 1983 Sell This Version
25AP 2618 Prince Jammy with Sly & Robbie / Black Uhuru Prince Jammy with Sly & Robbie / Black Uhuru - Uhuru In Dub(LP, Promo) CBS 25AP 2618 Japan 1983 Sell This Version
MR 119 Black Uhuru Brutal (Album, Comp) Real Authentic Sound MR 119 Netherlands 1986 Sell This Version
RASC 3020 Black Uhuru Brutal Dub (Album) Real Authentic Sound RASC 3020 UK 1986 Sell This Version
CN 4831/S The Wailers And Black Uhuru The Wailers And Black Uhuru - In Concert - 391(LP) BBC Transcription Services CN 4831/S UK 1986 Sell This Version
RAS4025 Black Uhuru Positive Dub (Album) Real Authentic Sound RAS4025 UK 1987 Sell This Version
RAS 3025C Black Uhuru Positive (Album) Real Authentic Sound RAS 3025C US 1987 Sell This Version
CSA CD 100 Prince Jammy Meet Osbourne* And Uhuru* Featuring Sly & Robbie Prince Jammy Meet Osbourne* And Uhuru* Featuring Sly & Robbie - Prince Jammy Presents A Dub Extravaganza "Uhuru In Dub" & "Osbourne In Dub" (Comp) CSA Records CSA CD 100 Germany 1987 Sell This Version
RBUCD 88000 Black Uhuru Live In New York City (Album) Rohit International Records RBUCD 88000 Canada 1988 Sell This Version
R4 79021 Black Uhuru Now (Album) Rhino Records (2) R4 79021 US 1990 Sell This Version
R1 79022 Black Uhuru Now Dub (Album) Mesa Recordings R1 79022 US 1990 Sell This Version
RRTG 7761 Black Uhuru Love Dub (Album) Rohit International Records RRTG 7761 US 1990 Sell This Version
R1 79035 Black Uhuru Iron Storm (Album) Mesa Recordings R1 79035 US 1991 Sell This Version
R4 79044 Black Uhuru Mystical Truth (Album) Mesa Recordings R4 79044 US 1992 Sell This Version
R2 79037 Black Uhuru Iron Storm Dub(CD, Album) Mesa Recordings R2 79037 US 1992 Sell This Version
R2 79059 Black Uhuru Mystical Truth Dub(CD, Album) Mesa Recordings R2 79059 US 1993 Sell This Version