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Chant Down Babylon: The Island Anthology
     

Chant Down Babylon: The Island Anthology

by Burning Spear
 
Major label rivalry makes it unlikely that Burning Spear will ever receive a proper career retrospective set. Burning Spear signed to Island Records in 1976, debuting with the legendary Marcus Garvey album, accompanied by its dub companion Garvey's Ghost. Four new albums followed before Spear departing Island for the U.K. EMI label in 1980. A decade

Overview

Major label rivalry makes it unlikely that Burning Spear will ever receive a proper career retrospective set. Burning Spear signed to Island Records in 1976, debuting with the legendary Marcus Garvey album, accompanied by its dub companion Garvey's Ghost. Four new albums followed before Spear departing Island for the U.K. EMI label in 1980. A decade later, Burning Spear returned to Island for two new albums before their relationship again soured. (The situation is even more complex in the U.S., where Spear releases have been split among the Island, Heartbeat, and Slash labels.) The result of all these label relocations makes for a rather odd anthology indeed, which inevitably omits Spears' entire 1980s output, five albums in all, including the Grammy-nominated trio of Resistance, People of the World, and Mistress Music. Obviously, post-1992 material is also missing, including anything from the Grammy-winning Calling Rastafari. That's what you don't get. What you do get is a double album of some of Spear's most seminal work. The five albums released between 1975 and 1980 are all considered masterpieces, comprising a roots series that remains unparalleled. Of course, the fifth, Hail H.I.M., was not an Island release, but you do get selections from the other four. Of Babylon's 35 tracks, 20 are culled from Marcus Garvey, Man in the Hills, Dry & Heavy, and Social Living, the first four albums in this seminal set. Others also date from this period: a track from Garvey's Ghost; "Man in the Hill"'s B-side, "Cultivation"; "Jah No Dead," Spear's contribution to the Rockers soundtrack; "The Lion," taken from 1977's Live album; a previously unreleased "Jordan River," recorded live around the same time; and a non-album track culled from 1979's Harder Than the Rest compilation. The remainder are pulled from Spear's early-'90s albums, the Grammy-nominated Mek We Dweet and Jah Kingdom. The latter album included Spear's contribution to the Grateful Dead tribute album, Dedicated, a simmering "Estimated Prophet," which also appears here. Only the most persnickety fan could complain about Babylon's selections, which boast all of these albums' strongest songs. However, the musical leap between tracks five and six on disc two, which chronologically jumps a decade, remains disconcerting, but there's no avoiding it, bar squeezing the early material onto disc one. So, while not a definitive career compilation, this anthology is probably the best fans can hope for.

Product Details

Release Date:
06/18/1996
Label:
Polygram Uk
UPC:
0731452419026
catalogNumber:
524190

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Burning Spear   Primary Artist
Aston Barrett   Bass
Paul Beckford   Bass
Chico Chin   Trumpet
Tony Chin   Rhythm Guitar
Dick Cuthell   Trumpet
Charles Dickey   Trombone
Tyrone Downie   Keyboards
Sly Dunbar   Drums
Bobby Ellis   Trumpet
Dean Fraser   Saxophone
Brinsley Forde   Rhythm Guitar
Philip Fullwood   Conga
Angus Gaye   Drums
Donald Griffiths   Guitar
Dirty Harry Hall   Tenor Saxophone
Bernard Touter Harvey   Keyboards
Alvin Haughton   Percussion
Courtney Hemmings   Keyboards
Delroy Hines   Background Vocals
Linvall Jarrett   Rhythm Guitar
Donald Kinsey   Guitar
George Lee   Saxophone
Earl Lindo   Keyboards
Robert Lyn   Synthesizer,Piano
Nelson Miller   Drums
Herman Marquis   Alto Saxophone
Jay Noel   Keyboards
George Oban   Bass
Lenford Richards   Guitar,Keyboards
Nambo Robinson   Trombone
Carlton Samuels   Flute
Robbie Shakespeare   Bass
Earl "Chinna" Smith   Guitar
Uziah "Sticky" Thompson   Percussion
Leroy "Horsemouth" Wallace   Drums
Rupert Willington   Background Vocals
Mark Wilson   Saxophone
James Smith   Trumpet
Rico Rodriguez   Trombone
Vincent "Trommie" Gordon   Trombone
Bertram "Ranchie" McLean   Guitar,Rhythm Guitar

Technical Credits

Benji Armbrister   Engineer
Terry Barham   Engineer
Tony Kelly   Engineer
Bill Levenson   Executive Producer
Godwin Logie   Engineer
Nelson Miller   Producer
Sylvan Morris   Engineer
Barry O'Hare   Engineer
Karl Pitterson   Producer,Engineer
George Philpott   Engineer
Matt Robinson   Remixing
Gary Sutherland   Engineer
Dennis Thompson   Engineer
Errol Thompson   Engineer
Mervyn Williams   Engineer
Trevor Wyatt   Executive Producer
Lloyd Coxone   Contributor
Amy Wachtel   Contributor,Essay
Lawrence "Jack Ruby" Lindo   Producer
Denise Mills   Contributor

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