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World Music CD Reviews Reggae & Caribbean


By Judson Kilpatrick
Published March 24, 2006

Pirates' Anthem

Given the media-merger frenzy of the past few years, the title track’s celebration of “illegal” broadcasters who “play what the people want” is as relevant as ever. Seriously, how many Clear Channel stations are devoted to reggae? Originally released in 1989 (with the title Holding On), this Gussie Clarke production was one of the first widely available albums to feature Shabba Ranks, just as he was notably moving away from the “slackness” lyrics. It was an exciting period in the reggae world as the bounding, high-tech dancehall style was exploding in popularity. “Pirates’ Anthem” was a huge hit while “Holding On” and “Stop Spreading Rumours” also did well. Each of those features all three artists, but there are some engaging solo efforts here as well. Best of all, this reissue adds two extra tracks: the extended 12-inch version of “Pirates’ Anthem” and Home T’s infectious solo hit “Single Life,” which is done over the massive “Telephone Love” rhythm. It is a tribute to Gussie Clarke’s skill that these songs hold up so well over a decade later.