Black Roots

by: Sugar Minott

Recorded for Island's Mango label in 1979, Black Roots is among Sugar Minott's earlier solo efforts and is also among the best albums that the Jamaican singer ever recorded. Black Roots isn't an album to acquire if you're looking for slickness; Minott favors simplicity throughout this LP, which often recalls the northern soul and sweet soul of the '60s. If you combined Stax's raw production style with the type of sweetness that characterized a lot of Chicago, Detroit and Philadelphia soul and added a reggae beat, the outcome might sound something like Black Roots. You'd also have to add Rasta-oriented lyrics because most of Black Roots reflects Minott's Rastafarian beliefs and is extremely sociopolitical -- this is true of the single "Hard Time Pressure," as well as "Mr. Babylon Man," "Oppressors Oppression," "River Jordan," and the title song. Minott went on to record many more albums in the '80s and '90s, but he never sounded better than he does on Black Roots. ~ Alex Henderson

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