Freeman - Burning Spear
Burning Spear Music
Watching the Spear backstage at his latest Vancouver performance you are humbled by the man's tenacity. Born in St. Ann's Bay, Jamaica in 1948, recording and touring for over thirty years and there he is, on another whistle stop to another North American city preparing to share himself for a couple of hours with the faithful packing the house. Fellow St. Ann's native, Bob Marley set Spear on the path to Kingston's Studio One to record his first singles. Fast forward to today and the man has released about an album a year, plus 'Living Dub' volumes, hoping back and forth between Heartbeat and Island labels. His latest disc, 'Freeman' represents freedom from the constraints of label representation (released on his own Burning Spear Records). The signature Spear sound is all there, maybe even toughened up a little but rich with horn shots and harmonies. It's probably the most crystalline sounding album of his I've heard to date. No one roots artist (with much respect to Culture's Joseph Hill) so clearly illustrates the tenants of Rastafarianism as does The Spear. There's been talk of his retiring from the incessant touring but I hope he continues to put out albums for another three decades.