Burning Spear: Winston Rodney (vocals, percussion); Earl "Chinna" Smith , Valentine "Tony" Chin (guitar); Carlton Samuels (flute); Herman Marquis (alto saxophone); Richard Hall (tenor saxophone); Bobby Ellis (trumpet); Vincent Gordon (trombone); Bernard Touter Harvey (piano, Clavinet, organ); Robbie Shakespeare, Aston Barrett (bass guitar); Leroy "Horsemouth" Wallace (drums); Delroy Hines, Rupert Willington (background vocals).
One of the most original and compelling artists in reggae history, Burning Spear (AKA Winston Rodney) started making hard-hitting roots music in the early 1970s. Upon the release of 1975's MARCUS GARVEY, Rodney established himself as a devoutly committed Rastafarian and a spokesperson for the rights, history, and identity of African descendents. This outstanding two-disc GOLD compilation begins, appropriately enough, with cuts from MARCUS GARVEY (Rodney's defining statement and a genre essential) and continues, over the course of two discs, to survey Burning Spear's Island Records output to the end of the 1970s.
Unlike a lot of collections, GOLD does not attempt to serve as a retrospective (Rodney was prolific well into the 2000s). This is a welcome relief, especially as the '70s were, arguably, Rodney's finest decade. Edgy, soulful, and charged with a deep sense of righteousness, Burning Spear's '70s recordings move, agitate, and inspire. That Rodney continually surrounded himself with the finest roots musicians--who add deep dread beats, dubby bass, fluid guitar fills, sharp horns, and call-and-response vocals to his inspired singing--is evident on all 28 tracks here. This is a superior compilation of Burning Spear's best work, and an ideal place to start exploring this seminal reggae artist.