Old school meets new school on New Sounds of Freedom

unnamedAfter the Roots, Reality & Sleng Teng anthology and the Alborosie combination album Dub of Thrones come a new King Jammy album on reggae powerhouse VP. New Sounds of Freedom is a re-working of Black Uhuru’s seminal debut album Love Crisis aka Black Sounds of Freedom, a set produced by King Jammy and originally released in 1977 and reissued four years later.

This ten track set features an array of vintage and contemporary singers and deejays. It’s something like a crème de la crème. Alborosie, Dre Island, Chronixx, Tony Rebel, Bounty Killer, Gentleman, Kabaka Pyramid, U Roy, Shaggy, Beenie Man and Louie Culture all wanted to work with this game-changing producer, whose career spans something like a half-century.

The first single off the album – Chronixx’ version of I Love King Selassie – was actually released several years ago and was for a while only available on 7”. Not sure if an album was intended, but obviously King Jammy felt something special and recorded new vocals and new lyrics over the vintage riddims, often keeping parts of the original vocals from Michael Rose on the new cuts.

The original set is a timeless masterpiece and as noted in a review a few months ago it’s hard to mess with perfection. But even though none of the new versions outshine the originals, New Sounds of Freedom can hopefully help a new generation of reggae aficionados to discover a bona-fide classic.

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