In the past couple of months two well-known reggae veterans have released albums – Horace Andy with Serious Times and Clinton Fearon with Mi Deh Ya. But in the shadows one of the more unsung heroes of reggae music has released a showcase album with classic 70s roots.
In late March came the release of Earl Zero’s And God Said to Man album. A piece of heavenly roots music with a sound reminiscent of the mid and late 70s.
The album consists of twelve tunes – six vocal cuts and six dub versions – signed Spanish producer, label owner and musician Roberto Sánchez, who has previously worked with artists such as Rod Taylor, Kenny Knotts and Glen Washington.
Roberto Sánchez’ work aims to keep the style and sound of the 70s roots reggae music alive in terms of recording techniques, instruments used and artists to record. And he really succeeds with his vision. This album sounds like it could’ve been recorded in Jamaica 35 years ago.
And God Said to Man is as much deep conscious roots as the material Earl Zero recorded with, among others, Bertram Brown and Earl “Chinna” Smith in the 70s. Listen to You Are Gonna Fall with its intense drums or the mighty version of the classic None Shall Escape the Judgement. It’s close to Earl Zero’s own 70s version and the sound is more 70s steppers than flying cymbals and the version that made Johnny Clarke known.
The dub versions lie close to King Tubby and have few sound effects. Instead they’re stripped down and intimate.
Earl Zero and Roberto Sánchez began collaborating in 2007 with the tune Root of David. Hopefully they will continue to make music together. And God Said to Man shows that Earl Zero has a lot more to give and Roberto Sánchez has interesting ideas that I want to hear more about. Much more in fact.