Pablo Moses: Revolutionary Dream







Pablo Moses went on to record some fine music after the mid-to-late seventies’ sessions that yielded Revolutionary Dream and A Song, yet these two albums are rightfully considered to be his masterpieces.

The first contains his 1975 debut single A Man A Grasshopper – a humble Rastaman’s defence of ganja-smoking recorded at Lee “Scratch” Perry’s Black Ark and that British reggae lovers were quick to hail alongside Burning Spear’s work from the same period. Both artists favoured conscious, Biblically inspired lyrics and deep roots rhythms embellished by flurries of organ and lead guitar. Neither were especially good singers in the technical sense, except there’s an expressive quality to what they do that hypnotises listeners into believing their every utterance. “Who feels it knows it” indeed. When Revolutionary Dream finally appeared it immediately attained cult status on the strength of tracks like Blood Money, A Love I Bring, Corrupted Man, the call to arms that is We Should Be In Angola and Give I Fe I Name, on which he urges Jamaica’s African descendants to cast off their European slave names. Recorded at Joe Gibbs with a complement of star session players [most of them recruited from Now Generation], Revolutionary Dream deserves a place in all serious reggae collections.

By the time A Song was first released it was the beginning of the dancehall era. The Jamaican public’s interest in roots rock reggae had began to wane although Pablo – who’d made the trip from rural Manchester to Kingston in search of a musical career – wasn’t for turning, and continued to make the style of music that had taken reggae and Rastafari international less than a decade earlier, albeit with marked contrasts. Always open to improvement, he’d spent two years studying at Jamaica’s School Of Music since the release of Revolutionary Dream and you can hear the difference this made in every song from the follow-up, again produced by Geoffrey Chung. Highlights include Dubbing Is A Must, Revolutionary Step, Music Is My Desire and One People but every song’s first-rate, and both albums contain bonus dub tracks.


About johnmasouri
John Masouri is a long-time author and music journalist specialising in reggae and its many off-shoots including dub, ska, roots and dancehall. The author of Wailing Blues: The Story of Bob Marley's Wailers, published by Omnibus Press in 2008, he is currently working on a biography of reggae singer Peter Tosh, due to appear next year. In addition to book projects, he continues to write articles and reviews for Reggae Vibes (France), Riddim (Germany) and Echoes - formerly Black Echoes - which is renowned as Britain's No. 1 black music monthly. His work has also appeared in Mojo, Music Week, the Guardian, the Observer and the NME, as well as magazines in the US, Caribbean and Japan.

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