Black Roots, hailing originally from St Paul’s (Bristol) have been around for a long time now and, after a mid-career break, are still producing great roots reggae music. This new digital-release single with its strange but effective chord changes and classic reggae sound is very much in the tradition of this great band. The single is taken from the band’s forthcoming album ‘Take It’ (due for release in all formats on 2nd November 2018). The question ‘How Long’ is posed in relation to how long will mankind have to wait for its liberation and it implies references to both biblical prophecy and to the present-day troubles of the secular world in Africa and beyond. The band are touring in France in November, beginning with an album launch party in Paris. Good luck to them with this strong release.
This seminal UK band is back with a new 11-track album, with – as always – a strong political message at its core. With their origins in the Saint Paul’s area of Bristol, Black Roots began in 1979 and built up a formidable reputation for writing and performing firmly in the roots reggae genre until their peak in the 1980s. With their music steeped in the urban political fragmentation of the UK of the time, they played roots music in an uncompromising but melodic way and were a key reggae band of that era. Their last album – in their initial incarnation – was released in 1990. Various re-releases and dub makeovers were released subsequently but the band was not an active performing and recording outfit until they bounced back in 2012 with On the Ground (featuring most of the original members). Its dub counterpart was released in the following year. The French label, Soulbeats Records, released Ghetto Feel in 2014, and now the band is back with a brand new album, Son of Man.
Although the band no longer tour extensively they have played a series of selected live shows since they reformed, both in the UK and elsewhere in Europe including I’ll Be Your Mirror curated by Portishead at Alexandra Palace London UK, Glastonbury , the Lambeth Country Show , Garance Reggae Festival in France, Dour Festival in Belgium, the Polish Ostroda Reggae Festival and Reggae Sun Ska in France. So it is possible, if not easy, to catch them live: meantime, the title track from the new album (see above) is a good solid roots track in the fine Black Roots tradition.
Black Roots: Son of Man, release on Soulbeats Records, 22nd January 2016