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World Music CD Reviews Reggae & Caribbean

PRINCE FAR I

By Tom Orr
Published February 15, 2006

Psalms For I
Pressure Sounds

The title isn't just hyperbole. These are actual biblical Psalms (plus the Lord's Prayer), set to starkly insistent reggae beats and intoned with gravelly authority by the late Prince Far I. On this disc, which originally hit the U.K. market in the mid-’70s, Far I's prophet-in-the-wilderness vocal style is an ideal match for the material which, given reggae's frequent spiritual emphasis, is about as "roots" as it gets. Some of the more familiar Psalms (such as the 23rd) are reconfigured, just as some very familiar reggae players (too numerous to list) were involved in the musical framework. The rhythms were mostly produced by Bunny Lee, though Lee Perry and Alton Ellis also did a track apiece, and the King Tubby mix overseen by Lloydie Slim gives the vocals the same sort of support as the background humming of a gospel choir while the preacher nails a key point.