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
Can this be reposted?
got it. thanks!
Save for the movie “Harder They Come” which played for weeks at Long Island’s MIni Cinema, circa 1977, and its soundtrack which I later purchased, it was Habte Selassie’s program Labrish which gave me my most thorough education yet of Reggae music a few years later. Bob Marley & the Wailers, Mighty Diamonds, Third World, Black Uhuru, Aswad, Marcia Griffiths, Sugar Minott, Gregory Issacs, Slickers, Toots & the Maytals, Linton Kwasi Johnson, and of course, Steel Pulse, among other greats. Happily, despite the demise of the WBAI-FM that once was and the catastrophic Universal (Island Records) Music fire of 2008, my collection contains much of my most prized favorites from these superb artists. Am I am especially grateful to those posters at YouTube who gifted us all with my all time favorite version of this Steel Pulse classic https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ug0O2LIkaMc and rare gems like this promo by Marcia Griffiths https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ih5mDCDfeOQ
But I have since searched in vain at youtube and elsewhere for two very special LIVE versions of “Prodigal Son” and “Harassment”. Indeed, I suspected both were performed during the Ritz Theater, Santa Cruz or one of the Sunsplash concerts in 1982. Perhaps they were. I only know that Habte Selassie had aired them right around that same year. They are truly kickass renditions of these songs and have been playing in my head ever since first hearing them that summer.
At this point I can only hope that copies of the master recordings exist and that you or someone you know, such as Roger Steffens, might direct me to their whereabouts. Thank you.
Am I wrong or was “Harassment” and/or “Prodigal Son” included in this particular concert? I ask this only because I heard them within a night or two of Habte’s broadcast of that tape when he aired it back then. I loved the way the percussion ends the bridge on “Prodigal Son”; can’t find that part of the concert anywhere on Youtube. I really miss hearing it.