Wednesday, April 6, 2016

40 Year Itch: Giving Praise

The Abyssinians : Forward Unto Zion

The Abyssinians : Y Mas Gan

Satta Massagana for Jimmy Dread 
                         Cut off his ears and chop off his head
                                                              -The Clash "Jimmy Jazz"

  What if I told you 1976's best reggae album wasn't released by Bob Marley, Peter Tosh or even Bunny Wailer? Consider the roots reggae album Satta Massagana by The Abyssinians. The title can be translated from Amharic (a Semitic language in Ethiopia) into "Giving Him Praise" and it's full of both spiritual songs of devotion ( like "Forward Unto Zion" and "Y Mas Gan") and political songs like "Declaration of Rights" and "African Race". Band members Bernard Collins, Donald Manning, and Linford Manning used 60's soul and Motown-style vocal harmonies ( the best you'll ever hear from a reggae group) to express their deeply spiritual messages. Satta Massagana has rightfully grown in reputation over the years. This may wind up being your favorite reggae album - period. Essential listening!

One of the original covers of Satta Massagana.

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