Count Ossie is a legendary Jamaican percussionist and a pivotal figure in the development of Rastafarian roots music, and in January this year Soul Jazz Records reissued Count Ossie & The Mystic Revelation of Rastafari’s second album – the ground-breaking and progressive Tales of Mozambique, originally released in 1975.
That particular release is now followed by another Count Ossie set – Man From Higher Heights, an album originally put out in 1983, seven years after Count Ossie died in a car crash. And it remains unclear whether this set includes original recordings with overdubs or if Count Ossie’s post-Mystic Revelation of Rastafari players recorded it without the Count himself.
Compared to his other two albums this one is more traditional reggae, especially the first five cuts, but with a large amount of percussion and free-minded horn arrangements. The last two tracks are intensely psychedelic with tripped-out fuzz guitar and a flute on acid.
It’s a fascinating set that comes with a few surprises. The heavy fuzz guitar is one such, and the version of Pat Boone’s Speedy Gonzales is another.