Saturday, July 20, 2013

Pablo Moses – A Revolutionaries Dream

Pablo Moses turns 60 this year and is one of Jamaica’s greatest roots reggae artists whose Rastafarian ideology combined with unprecedented political frankness is delivered in a high pitched, horn-like voice. Pablo is one of the only, if not the only, reggae artists as far as I'm aware to have only ever released his own material by never having covered anyone else's song.

Originally born Pablo Henry in 1953, Jamaica he has released a number of records over the years, but is probably best known for his phenomenal 1975 début “Revolutionary Dream”, produced by Geoffrey Chung and engineered at The Black Ark by Lee "Scratch" Perry and included the hit single ‘I Man A Grasshopper’.
His 1980 follow up, “A Song”, was well received by his fans and music critics alike and was a subtle answer to the fire his début effort. The following year saw the release of his third album, “Pave The Way” which only helped swell the ranks of his fans across the world as his  Rastafarian themes and the crusade against injustice, inequality, greed, racism, war, the pillage of nature struck a chord and were universal in their scope.

In 1983, Moses signed with Alligator Records to release “In The Future” which continued with the same political and social message but saw a musical change from pure roots reggae as rock stylistics and the use of electronic instrumentation like the synthesizer and vocader. Moses expanded and deepened his sound and rhetoric with 1985's “Tension” and 1987's “Live To Love”.

1990 saw a switch to Profile records and the release of “We Refuse”, a lyrical response to the political climate of the eighty's seen as good times by those who've closed their eyes to the underlying realities of poverty and racism, now unravelling in the '90s. Moses, at the time said of the album '' I say what I've said all along, only in a modified mood, more straightforward. I refuse the Babylonian ways of society, the bully-istic attitudes. Jah made everyone with different cultures and colours just as he made different types of birds and plants for beautification." It was also an attempt to reach out to the "now generation" of younger reggae fans who’d grown up listening to the dancehall style and slackness with Moses adding “I try to adapt to changing styles of music. I'm trying to reach the dancehall crowd not just with the beat, but with a message that is cultural and sociologically connected, with songs like "Bad Boy" and "Charlie". The album also featured “Love Is A Thing”, a duet with his young daughter Tashe, and the songs “Under Your Spell” and “In South Africa”.
The album was produced by Pablo Moses and premier reggae keyboardist Robbie Lyn, and mixed by Steven Stanley and Geoffrey Chung.

Then in 1993 there was another label change to Musicdisc of France with the release of “The Confession Of A Rastaman”, an album that followed in the same vein as Revolutionary Dream, A Song and Pave The Way in one. Then three years later emerged the album “Mission” which was cited as one of his best works since Revolutionary Dream. During his association with Musicdisc , he released a compilation “The  Best of Pablo Moses” with songs taken from the LP’s Live To Love, Tension, In The Future and We Refuse plus a re-release of Revolutionary Dream in Europe and North America simultaneously on Shanachie Records. In 1997 Pablo re-released “In The Future plus Dubs”, through Tabou I and Nite an Day, in Europe, then all went quiet for some 13 years before he triumphantly returned with “The Rebirth” in 2010. The album saw him work with a golden reggae team that included drum and bass masters Sly and Robbie, saxophonist Dean Fraser, percussionists Skully and Sticky Thompson, keyboardists Robert Lyn and Franklin ‘Bubbler’ Waul as well as guitarist Dwight Pinkney, with all delivering 13 rootsy tracks including several serious tunes such as ‘So Much’, ‘Jah Will Make a Way’, ‘More Than You Can Chew’ and ‘They Can't Undo’ that recalled Pablo's great work from the late 70's.

There is unfortunately no news of another album from Pablo Moses on the horizon but never the less he still remains one of the most original and out-spoken roots reggae artist in Jamaica after more than 30 years, who is still capable of throwing out lyrics that are Sociologically, Political and Culturally Connected. He however does tour and has appeared extensively in Canada, U.S.A. South America, Central America, Europe and Scandinavia and some Caribbean Countries as well as making various festival appearances.
So all that’s left to say is many happy returns and thanks for all the great and inspiring music throughout the years and may one day your dream become a reality.

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