Black Roots – With Friends

by Apr 26, 2019Artist, Reviews

Black Roots - With Friends
Black Roots 40 Years

Release Info

Black Roots – With Friends

Label: Nubian Records | Format: DR | Street date: April 26, 2019 | Website band

  1. Juvenile Delinquent
  2. What Them A Do feat. Dub Judah
  3. Jah Jah Dub
  4. Survival
  5. Confusion feat. Mikey Forbes
  6. Move On feat. Trevor Dixon
  7. Release The Food feat. BB Seaton
  8. Opportunity feat. BB Seaton
  9. Mash Them Dub
  10. Africa
  11. The Father
  12. Tribal War feat. Dub Judah
  13. Chanting For Freedom feat. Delroy Ogilvie
  14. Let It Be Me feat. Trevor Dixon
With Friends

Black Roots’ debut album entitled simply “Black Roots” was released in 1983 on the Kick label. With their first full length album Black Roots, Bristol’s finest reggae exponents, immediately made their mark on the UK music scene. Exactly ten years later, they came up with their eighth album called “With Friends”, for which they revived twelve of the songs they had made their own during the past 10 years. “With Friends”, the last full album recorded by the band before activity ceased in the mid-’90s for almost 20 years, has now been reissued as part of the programme by Nubian Records to make available all of Black Roots’ back catalogue on digital platforms.

Guest Singers

The tracks for “With Friends” were recorded at the Coach House Studios in Bristol under the direction of Dub Judah, a very respected vocalist, musician, live performer and producer working through his own Dub Jockey record label. Black Roots had slimmed down to the Ngozi brothers, Errol Brown and Cordell Francis, and due to the circumstances of the band at this time, the recordings for the album were done with London based guest singers Trevor Dixon, BB Seaton and Mikey Forbes, along with Senouci Hardy on bass and Dub Judah on drums, percussion and keyboards, in the absence of Carlton Smith, who had left the band.

Dub Judah & BB Seaton

Dub Judah breathed new life into the songs that were selected and used his versatile musical skills to good effect changing the feel of the rhythm section. The recordings play and feel different even though they are all classic Black Roots songs. Dub Judah’s vocals can be heard on a new interpretation of two great songs: “Tribal War” and “What Them A Do”. The lyrical content of these two songs blend with Dub Judah’s personal beliefs, reflecting where he was at spiritually. Listening to these tracks one can clearly hear that he sings them with heart. The great BB Seaton, the Jamaican reggae singer, songwriter, and record producer, who was a member of The Gaylads, The Astronauts, Conscious Minds, and The Messengers, took on the task of laying vocals on “Release The Food” and “Opportunity” and gave these new depth and insightfulness. Although both tunes are well worth hearing, it’s especially the huge roots piece “Release The Food” that stands out.

Other Vocalists

Trevor Dixon, a fine lovers rock singer best known for his vocals on “Woman Of Moods” that was first released in 1988 on Groove & a Quarter Records, lent his vocal skills and talent to “Move On” and “Let It Be Me”, two lovers tunes that perfectly suits his smooth and silky vocal style. Mikey Forbes, another guest reggae singer, does a great version of “Confusion”, while Charles Bryan aka Delroy Ogilvie, one of the original front men with Black Roots, does a cameo performance on “Chanting For Freedom” across a do-over of The Royals’ original “Pick Up The Pieces” riddim, punching out the lyrics in his own inimitable style. The other songs featured on this album were voiced by Kondwani Ngozi and Errol Brown, the remaining vocalists with Black Roots back then. They include the fabulous “Juvenile Delinquent”, an anthemic song that so many people can connect to and empathise with as it describes so well the experience of ghetto youth back in the 1980s, and furthermore the massive “Africa”, “The Father”, and the excellent “Survival”. Included are also fine dub versions of “What Them A Do” (“Jah Jah Dub”) and “Opportunity” (“Mash Them Dub”).

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