“Cumbolo” by Culture - album review

features in: Album Chart of 1979Album Chart of the Decade: 1970s

TJR says

Culture have been terrifically consistent from the start, and “Cumbolo” leaves their 70s report card in rude health. That said, if the album had maintained the extra-magnificent levels of the first four tracks, it’d have been way up there in my Top 10 of the year. Blasphemous Babylonians get it tight on “They Never Love In This Time”. Talk to the hand Joseph. BLOODY great tune though, CLASSIC even! We get a Jamaican history lesson on “Innocent Blood” which laments the disgraceful execution of George William Gordon, one of the first political figures to bravely offer resistance to the colonial brutes back in the 19th century. I know Scotland is not innocent in the whole sorry British Empire thing, but it's a small crumb of comfort to me that GWG was half-Scottish. Speaking of the great “Cumbolo”, Joseph Hill says it’s about “A group of culprits which has no ambition, don't want to have an education, don't want to see anything good and progressive. Anywhere 2 or 3 of those gather we call them cumbolo.” Fly with the crows, get shot with the crows! “Poor Jah People” is the fourth of the four terrific openers. There’s a whole lot of weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth as Hill soulfully delivers a masterclass in sufferation-empathy: “Some on the street, drinking dirty water, some eating out of garbage pan, I say, Poor (Lord Jah Rastfari) Jah people, Only Jah I can tell all my problems, because I'm really my brother’s keeper, poor Jah people”. There’s a nice surprise on the flip side as Woody Guthrie’s “This Train” gets the Culture treatment – the only song on the LP not to come from the pen of the group’s leader. The group, with Sly and Robbie at the heart of the mega-tough riddim, are super-hot right here. No backbiters, no wrongdoers on this train. Well said Mr. Hill, I’ll toast to that.

The Jukebox Rebel

A1 [04:23] 9.3.png Culture - They Never Love In This Time (Joseph Hill) Reggae
A2 [05:37] 8.0.png Culture - Innocent Blood (Joseph Hill) Reggae
A3 [03:52] 7.6.png Culture - Cumbolo (Joseph Hill) Reggae
A4 [05:40] 8.7.png Culture - Poor Jah People (Joseph Hill) Reggae
A5 [03:52] 6.8.png Culture - Natty Never Get Weary (Joseph Hill) Reggae
B1 [03:51] 6.5.png Culture - Natty Dread Nah Run (Joseph Hill) Reggae
B2 [04:04] 6.3.png Culture - Down In Jamaica (Joseph Hill) Reggae
B3 [04:48] 7.1.png Culture - This Train (Woody Guthrie) Reggae
B4 [04:15] 6.2.png Culture - Pay Day (Joseph Hill) Reggae
B5 [05:03] 6.0.png Culture - Mind Who You Beg For Help (Joseph Hill) Reggae

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