Culture – Too Long in Slavery (1989)

culture_toolonginslavery
“This 13-track compilation is culled from Culture’s three Front Line releases — Harder Than the Rest, Cumbolo, and International Herb. All three date from 1978-79, and were overseen by producer Sonia Pottinger. Pottinger had risen in the rocksteady age and was famed for her straightforward, almost gentle, productions, which placed the focus on the singers, not the rhythms or studio effects. She remained a force into the roots age, even while she eschewed the dread sound so popular in the day. Thus, although thematically Culture was a deeply dread band, and were accompanied in the studio by some of the island’s heaviest hitting roots musicians, all bolstered by the rhythms of Sly & Robbie, these albums had a much lighter musical feel than most cultural offerings from this time. But the lightness nicely counterpoints Joseph Hill’s deeply dread lyrics and Albert Walker and Kenneth Paley’s sublime harmonies, as the trio offered up cultural and sufferer’s songs, fueled by their deeply held Rastafarian beliefs. … The rest of this is set is equally strong, and includes the highlights from this trio of high-quality albums.”
allmusic

“… Despite backing from the rhythmic powerhouse that is Sly & Robbie the bulk of these trackseschew the heavy productions so prevalent of the era. Dub influence is conspicuous by its absence, save for the closing ‘Citizen As A Peaceful Dub.’ Indeed, Culture were very much about the dread lyrics of Joseph Hill and here, above all else, the message is king. Equal rights and cultural emancipation for Rastafarians is the order of the day in Hill’s strictly narrative flow. Such narrow themes could make for a fairly dense listen but repeated plays reveal hidden subtleties – not least the broad scope of the production where all varieties of instrumentation weave into the mix. …”
BBC

YouTube: Too Long in Slavery FULL LONGPLAY (1977-1979)

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