“Message From The King” by Prince Far I - album review

features in: Album Chart of 1978Album Chart of the Decade: 1970s

TJR says

The biggest story in the 1978 world of reggae music came as a result of Richard Branson and Johnny Rotten's visit to Jamaica early in the year, the label boss loaded with cash-at-hand and Rotten acting as chief talent scout and advisor! The music-loving entrepreneur, spurred on by the success of Bob Marley and Burning Spear, booked an entire floor at the Sheraton Hotel in Kingston, where deals were done with an astonishing number of artists and groups. The Front Line label was born. The image was to be heavy, tough and pucker. One look at the logo told a story; a clenched black fist, gripping a length of barbed wire with blood dripping down the wrist. This was not Red Red Wine for the tourists. In total, 33 roots reggae albums were released on the label in 1978.

“Message From The King” was the first of two long-players from the 34-year-old Prince Far I in 1978, both of which were delivered on the new label. The King, of course, is Haile Selassie I, Jah to the Rastafari. I put aside my atheist beliefs and enjoy it repectfully for what it is. “Hear what my good brother Culture's gotta say” pipes up Far I as the title-track gets underway. “Black reggae music is a message from the king” sings Joseph Hill backed by his Culture brederen. It's immediately apparent we're going to get a decent production, from the vocals to the drum n bass n horns. “Moses Moses” emerges as the killer cut: “She did not have one penny to buy a slice of bread, And she had sold her wedding gift to keep her young one fed, Friends she had were very poor, the rich man passed them by daily… If someone did not come to help the little one would die, Mankind look into yourself, And each and every one just help your bredren, y'know”. The message is strong. And so the parables roll on, at best on side two with “Wisdom”, re-enforcing the album's core message: “To love Jah is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge of the creator is understanding for his alone giveth wisdom, out of his mouth come knowledge and understanding, wisdom is the principle thing, therefore get wisdom and knowledge shall be added on to thee, so whether you are black or whether you may be white open up your eyes and you shall see Jah light.” Who's the excellent backing singer I'm wondering? Tough album with a good cast.

The Jukebox Rebel

A1 [03:32] 7.1.png Prince Far I and The Arabs - Message From The King (Michael Williams) Reggae
A2 [03:15] 6.4.png Prince Far I and The Arabs - The Dream (Michael Williams) Reggae
A3 [04:12] 5.8.png Prince Far I and The Arabs - Commandment Of Drugs (Michael Williams) Reggae
A4 [03:34] 8.8.png Prince Far I and The Arabs - Moses, Moses (Michael Williams) Reggae
A5 [03:29] 6.6.png Prince Far I and The Arabs - Black Man Land (Michael Williams) Reggae
B1 [03:01] 6.2.png Prince Far I and The Arabs - Concrete Column (Michael Williams) Reggae
B2 [03:03] 6.5.png Prince Far I and The Arabs - Dry Bone (Michael Williams) Reggae
B3 [04:15] 6.2.png Prince Far I and The Arabs - Foggy Road (Michael Williams) Reggae
B4 [03:01] 6.6.png Prince Far I and The Arabs - Wisdom (Michael Williams) Reggae
B5 [03:47] 5.3.png Prince Far I and The Arabs - Armageddon (Michael Williams) Reggae

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