• “They Never Love In This Time” set to a picture of the housing album cover. Thanks to goldice05.
“Classic Reggae from Jamaica”
From their album “Cumbolo” (Front Line FL-1040) released in 1979.
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.
You can read more of my favoured album reviews from ’79 here.