State of Emergency album review

I Jabulani Tafari in Reggae Report

August 1988

State of Emergency is the first Steel Pulse release in over two years and is also the band's debut LP for MCA. The new Pulse record is very much a contemporary album...a 'now' LP, and highlights the band's commitment to social justice in the world and to creating state-of-the-art modern reggae music. State of Emergency was produced by Steel Pulse together with Godwin Logie, whose engineering credits include work with King Sunny Ade and reggae stalwarts Gregory Isaacs and Black Uhuru.

According to lead singer David Hinds, "We've never been afraid to experiment and try things out. We've gone in new directions this time to give the album a more worldwide feel... We've tried to keep the music as modern as possible, with different sounds and chord progressions, more than the basic reggae musical structure. We're going for a sound that will appeal to new audiences, especially in America." Most of the LP's ten songs, including the title track, were written by Hinds. The exceptions are the album's first single, Reaching Out, which was written by Alphonso Martin; and Love This Reggae Music and Melting Pot, which were written by Selwyn Brown.

Apart from the Pulse posse, additional musicians working on the album were Errol Reid, Tyrone 'Organ-D' Downie, Derrick Johnson, Keeling Lee, Tim Atkins, Carl Atkins and Adam Bomb. Although the album does have some heavy, hard-driving roots rhythms (especially on the David Hinds compositions), it also has another important ingredient - variety. State of Emergency was released to commemorate the Marcus Garvey Centennial, the murder of Steve Biko in South Africa, Dr Martin Luther King Jr, the victims of the Howard Beach incident in NYC, Peter Tosh, David Duxie Tyson of Misty In Roots, and the Bicentennial Year of Aboriginal Oppression in Australia. The LP jacket also gave thanks and support to PCRL (in Birmingham, UK), London Weekend Radio (LWR), Kiss-FM, Sky, Phase and other British pirate radio stations too numerous to mention. State of Emergency is a good follow-up to the Grammy winning Babylon The Bandit, and I for one, 'Love This Reggae Music'. Thus, I'm sure that music fans will be 'reaching out' to buy this new Pulse hot shot.

Text copyright Reggae Report 1988, used without permission.

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