Prince Far I – Under Heavy Manners (1976)

“A fairly obscure figure even by reggae standards, Prince Far I was one of the sternest of the ‘cultural’ DJs that proliferated on the Jamaican scene in the late ’70s; he rarely toasted (or, as he preferred, ‘chanted’) about the joys of dancing or romantic love; his message was always focused on matters spiritual and political. This didn’t mean he couldn’t be whimsical at times: He once used his musical pulpit make fun of neo-Nazis for the clothes they wore and sometimes (as on this album’s title track) lectured the youth on matters of etiquette, and he once recorded an entire album of Old Testament psalms. Under Heavy Manners, which he recorded for the great producer Joe Gibbs, is one of his finest albums, but until the Rocky One label was revived in the late ’90s as Joe Gibbs Music, it was almost impossible to find. Now it’s back, and the original ten-track program is augmented by several new songs with their dub versions. It’s a bonanza for Prince Far I fans; one of the bonus tracks is a dub version of the title song, and other highlights include the very dread ‘Young Generation’ (‘Let us stand in formation and let us build up foundation/For the young generation’) and ‘Show Me Mine Enemy.’ This set stands with his Front Line recordings and the spectacular Trojan collection Voice of Thunder as one of the best documents of Prince Far I’s unique talent.”

“Little is known, or little has been revealed, about Prince Far I’s time with Joe Gibbs Music in 1976 and 1977, but the legacy of Far I’s essential ‘Under Heavy Manners’ album is secure nearly 25 years after its release. Prince Far I started in the late 1960s in the deejay business under the name King Cry Cry for the sound Sir Mike The Musical Dragon. Although he has always been referred to as a deejay, Prince Far I preferred to be called a ‘chanter’, and his unmistakably deep, gravelly tone, the ‘voice of thunder’, helped identify his style from the beginning. His first recording, ‘The Great Booga Wooga’, was made for Bunny ‘Striker’ Lee in the early 1970s. He also recorded for Coxson Dodd and then Enos McCleod, who gave him the name Prince Far I. After a handful of singles, he recorded his first full length, the essential ‘Psalms For I’, for Lloydie Slim in 1975. Reggae enthusiasts widely regard Far I’s ‘Under Heavy Manners’ as a crucial work of the rockers era, both for the artist and the production team. While it was only the second Prince Far I album recorded, and the first to be released, ‘Under Heavy Manners’ showed Far I’s craft in full bloom on some of the best rockers rhythms ever put on tape. In addition, the album provides a great example of reggae’s role in Jamaican sociopolitical commentary.”
Prince Far I

YouTube: Under Heavy Manners – Full Album 33:16


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