Natty Universal Dread 1973-1979
Blood & Fire
Three CD Box
Disc 1 : Hot Stock 1973
Disc 2 : Reggae Phenomenon 1973-1975
Disc 3 : Hotter Fire 1975-1979
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 4||Backing : 4/5||Production : 4/5||Sound quality : 5||Sleeve : 5|
Due to production problems followed by a packaging design fault (which actually forced Blood & Fire Records to withdraw stocks of the "Natty Cultural Dread" set) most fans of classic roots reggae had to wait quite some time for the release of this highly anticipated three CD box set. The wait was worth while as this exciting 51-track set brings together the majority of the great Manley Augustus Buchanan aka Big Youth's ground breaking self-productions in one package, most of which appeared on the man's own labels "Negusa Nagast", "Augustus Buchanan" and "Tanasha" between 1973-1979. With "Natty Cultural Dread 1973-1979" UK's foremost re-issue label Blood & Fire continues the grand tradition they have set with the release of the definitive "Jesus Dread" and "Heart Of The Congos" sets.|
Although U Roy deservedly gets the credits and honour for being the one who started the deejay ball rolling it is Big Youth who can be regarded as the artist who changed up the fledgling deejay scene in Jamaica in the early seventies as he brought to the form an overt Rasta consciousness and innovative techniques of delivery that literally transcended its dancehall origins. While listening to Big Youth records from that particular period in Jamaica's musical history, one of the most striking aspects is the spontaneity and looseness in the man's delivery while dropping his radical stream of consciousness jive talk atop the toughest riddims of the day. In this aspect he truly exceeds the old school of for example U Roy and Dennis Alcapone.
Divided over three compact discs "Natty Universal Dread" mainly collects Big Youth tunes that first appeared as highly collectable singles on his own Jamaican pressed labels. This implies one will find such great classic singles like "Sky Juice" and its wicked version "Not Long Ago", "I Pray Thee Continually", "Streets In Africa", "Every Nigger Is A Star", "My Time", "Jim Screechy", "Keep Your Dread", "Hit The Road Jack," "Miss Lou Ring Ding", "Ten Against One" and the two versions of "Wolf In Sheep Clothing". But there's even more niceness to be found with such tracks like "Reggae Phenomenon", "I Light And I Salvation", "Jah Man Of Syreen" and the original 7" echo version of "Mosiah Garvey" including its awesome dub. Furthermore the set features "Chucky No Lucky" and "Waterhouse Rock", which actually are the both sides of the Youth's outrageous toast to Joe Gibbs' wicked cut of Studio One's classic "Rockfort Rock".
Also worth mentioning are the four pieces to "Love Me Forever", another reworked classic Studio One riddim, including "Hot Stock" (check out the intro by backing singers Gregory Isaacs and Leroy Sibbles), "Downtown Kingston Pollution", "Hell Is For Heroes" and "African Daughter". It's a good example of the fact that Big Youth often had more to say than one piece could contain.
"Natty Universal Dread 1973-1979" is one of the most exciting reggae re-issue packages, a must-have for all collector's of vintage reggae!