Included here is a great audio recording of the FM broadcast of Steel Pulse’s performance at NYC’s The Ritz on Friday, August 13, 1982. The set is short – only 7 tracks – but the performance is noteworthy for a couple of reasons.

First, Al Anderson, former lead guitarist with Bob Marley and the Wailers and also for Peter Tosh during his first tour, joins the band here and gives a knockout performance. Also, the set features tunes from True Democracy album which was just released a few months earlier in May 1982. The album was recorded over 25 days in Denmark, with legendary reggae producer Karl Pitterson (Bob Marley and the Wailers). While True Democracy does see Steel Pulse return somewhat to their political roots of Handsworth Revolution and Tribute to the Martyrs, it is also more light-hearted in the vein of Reggae Fever (Caught You). True Democracy peaks at #120 on Billboard’s Top Pop Albums chart in 1982.

In the New York Times review of the show, the reviewer wrote:

“STEEL PULSE, the reggae band from Birmingham, England, that played for four nights at the Ritz last week, turns a resolute message into assured, dignified songs.

David Hinds writes about faith, the healing power of music, desperation and standing up to injustice, and he sets his lyrics in resonant three-part harmonies and firm but unhurried reggae rhythms.

He is also a singular figure on stage, with his dreadlocks wrapped in a footlong vertical cylinder atop his head.

The band’s approach recalls that of the early 1970’s Wailers, but Steel Pulse adds a little more melody to its songs than most reggae bands. Light, carefully placed melodic hooks for keyboards or guitar are inserted into the songs’ spaces, and as a result, each chantlike tune becomes distinct.”


Steel Pulse w/ Al Anderson
The Ritz Theatre, NYC
August 13, 1982
WBAI broadcast 99.5 FM (Labrish/Habte Selassie at the controls)

Source: WBAI > Maxell UD XL II C 90 > Kenwood W4040 > Xitel Inport > Hard Drive > Wav ( PCM 1411
kbps, 16 bit stereo, 44 KHz ) > Flac 8.

01 Drug Squad 5:37
02 Blues Dance Raid 7:25
03 Ku Klux Klan 5:08
04 Man No Sober 6:53
05 Ravers 9:15
06 Habte outo 1:31