Sonntag, 26. Juli 2020

Max Romeo - Let The Power Fall (1971)

The singer who put the rude in rude boy, Max Romeo was responsible for launching an entirely new sub-genre of reggae, whose overtly suggestive lyrics caused an outcry but took a massive hold of the music scene regardless. Yet innuendo was the least of the singer's stylings, previous to the release of his infamous "Wet Dream," Romeo had garnered a string of sweet hits with the vocal trio the Emotions. And once the nocturnal naughtiness faded, the singer established himself as one of the most important figures in the roots scene.

Romeo was born Max Smith on November 22, 1947, in St D'Acre, Jamaica. His prospects initially seemed dim; at 14 he left home and found a menial job cleaning out irrigation ditches on a sugar plantation. And there he might have stayed, if he hadn't won a local talent contest. With all the wide-eyed optimism of youth, the 18-year-old now made his way to Kingston, determined to become a star. Once in the capital, he hooked up with two other hopefuls, Kenneth Knight and Lloyd Shakespeare, and the Emotions were born. Their 1966 debut, "(Buy You) A Rainbow," produced by Ken Lack, was an immediate hit and over the next two years, the trio amassed an impressive list of successful singles.

In 1968, the singer, now dubbed Max Romeo, was confident enough to launch a solo career. Working with producer Bunny Lee, the young star recorded a number of love ballads and sweet singles, but none made much of an impression on the charts. The singer admitted defeat and returned to the Emotions. Simultaneously, he formed the Hippy Boys, with whom he did some recording (the band eventually evolved into the Upsetters), while also working as a sales rep for Lee Perry. Later that year, Romeo penned new lyrics to the rhythm track of Derrick Morgan's "Hold You Jack" and handed them over to Lee Perry. Morgan was penciled in for the recording but opted to give it a miss, as did a couple of other vocalists, until finally the exasperated producer bullied Romeo into taking the mic.

The result was "Wet Dream," an instant smash in Jamaica, although it was far from the first island single to feature suggestive lyrics. It was, however, a bit more obvious than most, so much so that even the British had no difficulty discerning its real meaning. Across the Atlantic, the single was heating up the charts, although not the airwaves. The British censors, not known for their stupidity, gave short shrift to Romeo's rather lame explanation that the song was actually about a leaky roof and immediately banned it. This had the reverse effect and helped push the single up the chart into the Top Ten.
A bucketload of less-than-furtive follow-up singles now ran rampant across the chart, both from Romeo himself and other equally lasciviously minded artists, with 1970's "A Dream" boasting an entire album's worth of Romeo's own offerings. In the U.K., this mini-movement took on a life of its own, culminating with the phenomenal success of the homegrown talent Judge Dread and his string of naughty nursery rhyme hits. Back in Jamaica, Romeo attempted to launch his own label (Romax) and sound system in 1970, but unfortunately the venture was a failure. The following year, he hooked back up with Bunny Lee and began recording a clutch of singles based on the producer's own rocksteady classic rhythms. One of the most intriguing was "Watch This Sound," which combined a rocksteady backing with the lyrics to the Buffalo Springfield classic "For What It's Worth." Branching out, Romeo also cut numerous singles with a number of other producers, including Winston Riley, Sonia Pottinger, and Alvin Ranglin. Many of these releases were culturally themed, as the singer shifted into a more roots-fired mode. Some of the most striking were recorded with the young Niney Holness, including "Beardman Feast," "The Coming of Jah," and the apocalyptic "Babylon Burning," which was co-written by Lee Perry.
A sense of an impending apocalypse was inherent to Rastafarianism as all of Jamaica was caught in its grip in the run-up to the 1972 election. Democracy has always carried a price tag of political violence on the island, but this year was particularly expensive. The conservative JLP party, which had run the country since independence a decade earlier, now for the first time faced serious opposition from the socialist PNP party. The result was an outbreak of violence across the island, as the opposing party supporters squared off on the streets. Both the urban poor and Rastafarians flocked to the PNP banner, while artists, too, made their preferences plain, although it may not seem that way to the uninitiated. Virtually all Old Testament references alluded to politics, with PNP leader Michael Manley personified by biblical heroes (normally Joshua, the nickname he was given by supporters), while JLP Prime Minister Harry Shearer was consigned to the role of villain.               

Let the Power Fall is the second studio album by Max Romeo, released in 1971. The album, in contrast to Romeo's debut A Dream, included politically charged material. It was engineered by Carlton Lee and Sid Bucknor.


Side A

  1. "Let the Power Fall"
  2. "Bachelor Boy"
  3. "Cracklin' Rosie"
  4. "Chatter Box "
  5. "Missing You"
Side B
  1. "Puppet on a String"
  2. "My Special Prayer"
  3. "Fowl Thief"
  4. "Hola Zion"
  5. "Macabee Version"

Max Romeo - Let The Power Fall (1971)
(192 kbps, cover art included)

2 Kommentare: hat gesagt…

Esse álbum de Max Romeo não está baixando, obe O Link

zero hat gesagt…

Now there´s a fresh link. Best wishes!

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