Burning Spear Calling Rastafari

This is the 34th album for Mr. Winston Rodney since 1970! No reggae artist has produced such a huge catalogue of consistently good music. He is also assured in his place as reggae's number one touring artist. He's back with his voice still in fine shape, and an all new Burning Band. As his career as reggae's elder statesman progresses, Rodney finds himself in a reflective mood, lyrically. Rodney sings about subjects of which a younger musician might not even be aware. The opening song, "As It Is," is his autobiographical saga of his arrival at Studio One in 1970 to take his place in the struggle of "earlier musicians" in blues, jazz and reggae. How many other reggae musicians would compare their own struggle to that of those in parallel forms in Black diasporic music? Elsewhere, the album is full of references to specific aspects of Rasta life, old Jamaican folklore and stories of how black people fare worldwide in modern society. Heavy topics indeed! Rodney has accrued great wisdom from his non-stop touring, and is at a mature age in which to be able to write about it effectively. And of course, the rhythms are still there. Calling Rastafari is a little glossier than other recent albums, but they're still great grooves when boiled down to their dub versions, as on "Sons of He" and "Holy Man." Another solid outing made all the more interesting for the thoughtful lyrics. (Heartbeat)