BLACK SOUNDS OF FREEDOM was originally released on LP in 1977 under the title LOVE CRISIS.
Black Uhuru: Duckie Simpson, Michael Rose, Errol Nelson.
Additional personnel: Earl "Chinna" Smith, Bo Peep, Bingy Bunny (guitar); Earl "Wire" Lindo (strings); Johnny Osbourne (harmonica); Bob, Headly, Cedric (horns); Keith Sterling, Gladstone Anderson (piano); Winston Wright (Clavinet, organ); Robbie Shakespeare, Mikey (bass); Sly Dunbar, Santa (drums); Scully (percussion).
This record is Black Uhuru's first album (though a few very rare singles appeared prior) and is produced by the often-overlooked Prince Jammy. Founder Duckie Simpson was seemingly at a loss when Black Uhuru's first incarnation broke up in the early '70s; however, he was subsequently able to convince Michael Rose (aka Mykal Rose) to join the group, which is where the magic began.
BLACK SOUNDS OF FREEDOM has a lush intensity rivaled by few roots LPs. With a strong dub slant to the rhythm tracks, Michael Rose's voice floats effortlessly on emotional tracks such as "Satan Army Band," and the classic "I Love King Selassie." Rose was and continues to be a master of infusing rhythm tracks with a haunting charm that consumes the listener, and is one of the few singers to tackle a Marley tune ("Natural Mystic") without disgracing the original. Sly & Robbie, Earl Lindo and a host of other greats (including the popular roots singer Johnny Osbourne on harmonica) provide the foundation for this classic release. While not as breathtaking as the band's early '80s material, the raw talent and skill are nevertheless obvious. BLACK SOUNDS OF FREEDOM is certainly a worthwhile addition to any collection.
Uncut (p.99) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "The harmonies are lustrous, the songs sparkle and Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare's drum and bass licks remain ruggedly propulsive..."
The Wire (p.63) - "[T]heir finest roots effort before their sound became more palatable to an international audience....[With] a magnificently unexpected of Jah Bob's 'Natural Mystic'..."
Record Collector (magazine) (p.100) - 5 stars out of 5 -- "With Michael Rose on lead vocal and as principal songwriter, the music is mesmerising, standing as a benchmark for all 70s roots vocal albums..."