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World Music CD Reviews Reggae & Caribbean

THIRD WORLD

By Paula E. Kirman
Published September 23, 2005

Black Gold & Green
Shanachie

Last year, when reggae legends Third World returned to Jamaica to celebrate its 30th anniversary, they received the Prime Minister’s Award of Excellence from PJ Patterson himself. Thirty years has seen reggae’s stature grow from disreputable ghetto music to official recognition of its status as the folk music of the people (with an international following). And few bands have done more to burnish reggae’s worldwide reputation than Third World. The title of their latest album, Black Gold & Green, refers to the colors of the Jamaican flag, which they fly as proud ambassadors. Featuring guest artists Beres Hammond, Wayne Marshall and Blue Fox, the songs here represent what reggae is all about: socially conscious lyrics with a spiritual cutting edge. From classic roots reggae to acoustic ballads, Third World demonstrates their enduring versatility. Some of the highlights include a cover of the Bruce Cockburn song “Lovers In A Dangerous Time,” “Love Is In The Air,” which features and was written by Beres Hammond, and the title track, which gets the album off and running. Black Gold & Green is one of the year’s best reggae albums, giving listeners a little piece of Jamaica, no matter where they live.