Rasta al Dente

Today's reggae is a dirty business. Black Uhuru's Duckie Simpson rolls up his sleeves.

After finding new singer Junior Reid -- a less-flighty Rose sound-alike -- Black Uhuru entered another fruitful phase with 1986's Brutal and 1987's Positive, plus accompanying dub versions that took tunes like "Painful" into an ethereal realm. Within two years, visa problems had prohibited Reid from touring, so he was out; Jones succumbed to cancer in January 1990. Undaunted, Simpson re-formed the original trio with Spencer and Dennis and forged on that same year with the reunion album Now. The three stuck it out to scale some old heights with Iron Storm, a cracking 1991 offering, but following 1994's Strongg, the partnership deteriorated once again.

Simpson laughs and laughs when questioned about his activities during the interim, as if it's the dumbest question in the world. "I've been kicking back in Jamaica!" he says, adding that he did have to take his old buddies Spencer and Dennis to court to fight for -- and win -- the right to use the Black Uhuru trademark. "Then those guys run away to America," Simpson adds. "Since the end of court, I don't see them anymore. Everything went bad for a while, from 1994 until last year. But now, I'm ready to work."

With Dynasty riding on the musical and production talents of Sly and Robbie, Black Uhuru is returning to its seminal start. "From the past right into the present, yeah," affirms Simpson. But it's a different world now; Jamaican music is more likely to brag and boast about dick size and faggot-beating over a tired beat than tout positivity, and Simpson doesn't hang onto a utopian vision of one love.

New singer Andrew Bees (left) and old sage  Duckie Simpson of Black Uhuru
New singer Andrew Bees (left) and old sage Duckie Simpson of Black Uhuru

Details

With Sly and Robbie, 8 p.m. Sunday, November 18. Call 954-563-7889.


"Who's In The Tomb (Guess Who's Coming To Dinner)" sample
(play in console or click icon to download)

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"The Monkey Is A Spy (Sinsemilla)" sample
(play in console or click icon to download)

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Interview snippet with Duckie Simpson
(play in console or click icon to download)

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"Reggae music is not all that powerful in the music world," he cautions, cynically aware that neither the street violence he witnesses weekly nor the world violence he reads about will be quelled by a tropical Rasta tonic. "Reggae gets recognized, it gets some respect, but people should not live in a dream world about that."

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