Max Romeo – Words From The Brave
Max Romeo – Words From The Brave
- The World Is on Fire
- Have You Ever Hit Rock Bottom?
- Words from the Brave
- Eve of Destruction
- Penguin ft. Azizzi Romeo
- Too Many
- The Farmer’s Story
- Say Yes
- Thank God
Max Romeo, born Maxwell ‘Maxie’ Smith, 1947 Jamaica, started his career in the mid sixties, forming a band called The Emotions with Lloyd Shakespeare and Kenneth Knoght. The group recorded some sides, but Max initially achieved recognition in the late sixties when he recorded the sexually suggestive Wet Dream for producer Bunny ‘Striker’ Lee. Soon the album A Dream on the UK Pama Records followed.
Gradually he changed his style and started recording more conscious songs for several producers. He stormed the reggae charts in the first half of the 1970s with tracks such as Let The Power Fall On I, Three Blind Mice, Jordan River, Macabee Version and The Coming Of Jah. He also had a soundsystem called Ro Max Hi Fi and produced his own records on his Romax label. In 1975 he released a strong album entitled Revelation Time, soon followed by the classic War Ina Babylon set. This 1976 album was produced by Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry and got rave reviews. The album included the track I Chase The Devil which would later become Max’s most commercially successful single and one of the most sampled reggae tracks of all time. After Perry and Romeo split up he teamed up with the New York based Wackies label. In the eighties he more or less faded into obscurity.
Max resurfaced in the 90s with two heavy roots albums for Jah Shaka – Ta Fari Captain Of My Ship and Our Rights. The Mafia & Fluxy produced album Selassie I Forever was a sparkling showcase of contemporary roots music. The new millennium saw releases on the French Mediacom label and an album for the Mad Professor. In 2016 he teamed up with UK producer Daniel Boyle for the double album Horror Zone, one vocal set and one dub set, on which he confirmed his roots reggae style.
Words From The Brave
His current release Words From The Brave is a 10 track set, presented by French record label Baco Records. On seven tracks he is backed by the French band Roots Heritage, the band that accompanied him on his 2016 tour. They sure know how to lay down a riddim, rooted in reggae’s Golden Age but with sufficient contemporary influences.
The single The Farmer’s Story marks the very first time in Max Romeo’s music career that he serves his many fans with an official video of a new single. With this excellent tune, Max comes to defend exploited Jamaican farmers. It has been produced by his multi-talented son Azizzi. The opening tune, with it’s blazing dubbed horns intro sets the pace for this set. The World Is On Fire is an urgent track. Max hits the heavy riddim inna crucial manner, definitely not a bad way to start an album!
Have You Ever Hit Rock Bottom is underpinned by a beautifully laden riddim with a surprising arrangement that is strong on all levels, and lyrically on par with The World Is On Fire. Skanking vibes galore with the track Heaven: “Heaven is only six feet under…and we all gonna make it there..”, a universal theme. The title track is Roots Reggae in its purest form. In combination with the superb riddim this one’s a standout selection fi sure!
Eve of Destruction was a mid 1960s protest song performed by Barry McGuire with lyrics still relevant today. The reggae version by Max uses the original lyrics and the Roots Heritage band lays down an exceptional fresh riddim. A track for instant rewind! Azizzi, the son of Max steps up for the dancing tune Penguin. It’s obvious that Max still finds much to lament, as not much progress has been made. Check out Too Many and we’re sure you’ll agree. Finally Max raises the tempo and delivers a ska driven tune called Thank God. It’s his way of praising the Almighty, a positive and joyful track, that closes the album in a fine way.