This album is a re-issue of a release that first came out in 1993. It is part of Nubian Records' programme of making available Black Roots' impressive back catalogue on digital download and streaming platforms.
Most significantly, it represents a milestone in that it marks 40 years of on-off activity. The re-release of ‘With Friends’ is thus optimistically presented as celebrating “the first part” of the Bristol band’s musical career. I’m already looking forward to the second part!
The ‘friends’ of the title are London-based artists Dub Judah, BB Seaton, Trevor Dixon and Mikey Forbes. Dub Judah is also the producer and it’s his voice we hear on What Them a Do and Tribal War.
Seaton sings on the campaigning tunes Release the Food and Opportunity ; Dixon contributes to the lovers rock ballads Move On and Let It Be Me while Mikey Forbes guests on an uncompromising statement of righteous anger entitled Confusion.
In addition, Charles Bryan aka Delroy Ogilvie, one of the original front men with Black Roots, does a fine cameo performance on Chanting for Freedom delivering powerfully resonant lyrics about physical and mental slavery.
Overall, the fourteen tunes are variations on the proclamation that ‘Jah’ shows the way as the voice of the people and the almighty.
These sentiments are more humanitarian than overtly religious and, although you will have heard them expressed many times before, they speak universal truths to power that have not lost any of their relevance.
Black Roots’ website