Black Uhuru: Tear It Up (1991)

Black Uhuru: Tear It Up (1991)
Genre: Documentary | Music
Release: July 01, 1991
Directors: N/A
Stars: N/A
IMDB | Views: 1202
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  Ratings: 5 votes: 1


With reggae's fabled "riddim twins," drummer Sly Dunbar and bassist Robbie Shakespeare, laying down the solid grooves for this second of the many Black Uhuru incarnations, the group was firmly set on the fast track to international pop stardom. This recording from London's Rainbow theater captures the group in 1981, at their most intimidating and exhilarating peak--rock & roll flash coupled with Rasta-reggae militancy--without stooping to distracting camera angles or edits. Front man Michael Rose, a "Uhuru" snarl pasted on his face as he tears up the stage, is still one of the finest exponents of Kingston's fabled Waterhouse school of roots yodeling-singing. Tall, lanky, and poker-faced, group founder Ducky Simpson maintains his tight military skank dance throughout as he blends his bass choruses with soprano wails from the late and beauteous African American Puma Jones, whose training in classical African dance gave a special twist to the spectacle of individual talents that was Black Uhuru at the time. The songs--all anthems of Rasta reasoning such as "Shine Eye Gal," "Plastic Smile," "Youth of Eglington," "General Penitentiary," "Happiness," "Sponji Reggae," and "Sinsemilla"--are as fresh today as the day Uhuru first sang them. Thankfully, this video captures a reggae moment that ended far too soon. --Elena Oumano

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