“Natty Rebel” by U-Roy - album review

features in: Album Chart of 1976Album Chart of the Decade: 1970s

TJR says

U-Roy was riding on the crest of a wave at this time; the world’s ears were open to Jamaica and he was well placed as an artist on the Virgin roster to be heard internationally. “Natty Rebel” was released in the States, in Europe and Africa. After the success of last years’ “Dread In A Babylon”, the deal between artist and label was extended and the toaster was lined again up with producer Tony Robinson and his own studio band, which included the rock-solid rhythm section of Lloyd Parks (bass) and Sly Dunbar (drums). To my ears, the set is just that little more westernized, and is not quite as vital as “Dread”, but this is a relative complaint and there’s no doubt it’s full of winners. The album starts off ironically in a happy-go-lucky fashion with “Babylon Burning”, which comes complete with western-soul-pop style backing vocalists. These mixed-signals leave me scratching my head. In contrast, “Natty Rebel” is an early-album highlight, as U-Roy cheekily grabs a writers credit despite ripping Marley’s “Soul Rebel” in all but name. Even Bob’s vocal is left intact from the original master tapes! The fantastic “Natty Kung Fu” is another big-plus, riding the Freedom Blues riddim done brilliantly last year by The Upsetters as “Dyon Anasawa”, a big favourite of mine. Proper JA goodness is to the fore at this stage, solidified on “If You Should Leave Me” which is full of dub licks and tricks, with the echo chamber free to roll and roam. “Do You Remember” keeps the quality high and in doing so U-Roy passes an acid test of mine – if I can love the artist when they take on the dreaded love song then I know they’re as cool as they come.

The Jukebox Rebel

A1 [02:39] 6.5.png U-Roy - Babylon Burning (Ewart Beckford) Reggae
A2 [03:31] 8.5.png U-Roy - Natty Rebel (Ewart Beckford) Reggae
A3 [03:04] 6.6.png U-Roy - So Jah Jah Say (Ewart Beckford) Reggae
A4 [02:55] 8.0.png U-Roy - Natty Kung Fu (Ewart Beckford) Reggae
A5 [02:59] 8.3.png U-Roy - If You Should Leave Me (Ewart Beckford) Reggae
B1 [03:17] 8.0.png U-Roy - Do You Remember (Ewart Beckford) Reggae
B2 [02:51] 7.9.png U-Roy - Travelling Man (Ewart Beckford) Reggae
B3 [03:31] 7.0.png U-Roy - Have Mercy (Ewart Beckford) Reggae
B4 [02:59] 6.7.png U-Roy - Badie Boo (Ewart Beckford) Reggae
B5 [02:47] 7.2.png U-Roy - Go There Natty (Ewart Beckford) Reggae
B6 [02:42] 6.0.png U-Roy - Fire In A Trenchtown (Owen Gray) Reggae

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