Last year saw Reggae Archive Records answer the prayers of many UK reggae fans with vinyl reissues of “Black Symbol presents Handsworth Explosion” and “Black Symbol present Handsworth Explosion II”. It was always intended to follow these LP releases with a combined CD release of both volumes and the 29th June, will see the albums arrive on CD for the first time as “Black Symbol Presents The Complete Handsworth Explosion”.
It's hard to overestimate the importance of what Black Symbol did for their local community, in Birmingham's Handsworth neighbourhood, by providing bands with studio time at the well equipped Outlaw Studio and then releasing many of the finished results on the two original vinyl LPs. They have left us with a unique snapshot of the Handsworth scene in the early eighties; a scene that was at its creative peak but would very soon almost entirely disappear.
Black Symbol member Blobbo stated their aims on the rear sleeve of “Handsworth Explosion Volume II”:….. “Handsworth Explosion is a brand new revolutionary idea originated by 'FATMAN' the producer, lead vocalist and founder member of BLACK SYMBOL. The intention of this album is to provide a much needed link between Symbol and other Ghetto bands, to reveal, an as yet undiscovered talent suppressed by the music machine.
The Handsworth Explosion shall open up the eyes and hearts of many, yet it shall explode in the minds of many; this combination of music can only be played in the Ghetto by musicians who live in and bear the weight of their society. Handsworth Explosion sets out not only to satisfy musically, but be an inspiration and revelation.”
It's never too late to discover talent and hopefully this CD release will indeed open the eyes and hearts of many to the great bands and singers featured: Sceptre, Zephaniah, Truths And Rights, Gerald Love, Mystic Foundation, Benjamin Zephaniah, Black Knight, Man From the Hills and last, but by no means least, Black Symbol themselves. The music is mostly roots reggae, but the tracks also provide a great deal of variety whilst maintaining a high quality threshold.
Back in the early 1980s, Black Symbol faced an uphill struggle to get their albums distributed and few people who lived outside Birmingham or near a specialist reggae shop ever got the chance to buy a copy and hear this wonderful music. Today with the World Wide Web, “Black Symbol presents The Complete Handsworth Explosion” is finally available for everyone to enjoy.
“Black Symbol presents The Complete Handsworth Explosion” is released by Reggae Archive Records on 20 track CD and digital download on the 29th June and is available from all the usual outlets.
Absolutely Unmisseble Release !
1. Sceptre – Ancestors Calling
2. Truths & Rights – New Language
3. Black Symbol – Travelling
4. Gerald Love – Jah Children
5. Zephaniah – Music Business
6. Truths & Rights – Saddest Moment
7. Black Symbol – Spiritual Reggae
8. Gerald Love – Scandal Man
9. Sceptre – Living On Strong
10. Zephaniah – Free Man
11. Benjamin Zephaniah – Stop The War
12. Man From The Hills – Redemption Day
13. Mystic Foundation – Life In The Ghetto
14. Black Symbol – Feeling Is Irie
15. Black Knight – Lets Make Up
16. Black Symbol – Trouble Trouble
17. Benjamin Zephaniah – Unite Handsworth
18. Man From The Hills – How Long
19. Mystic Foundation – Handsworth
20. Black Knight - Feeling