Personnel: Burning Spear (vocals, percussion); Ian "Beezy" Coleman (guitar, background vocals); Wayne Armond (guitar); Clyde Cumming, Howard "Saxy" Messam (saxophone); James Smith, Chico Chin (trumpet); Stephen Stewart (keyboards); Chris Meredith (bass); Shawn "Mark" Dawson (drums); Num-Heru-Ur Shutef (percussion, background vocals); Sticky Thompson (percussion); Carol "Passion" Nelson, Rochelle Bradshaw, Lesline Kidd, Yvonne Patrick (background vocals).
Recorded at Grove Music Studio, Ocho Rios, Jamaica.
CALLING RASTAFARI won the 2000 Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album.
Personnel: Burning Spear (vocals, gut-string guitar, percussion); Ian Coleman (guitar, gut-string guitar); Wayne Armond (guitar); Num-Heru-Ur Shutef (gut-string guitar, percussion); Rochell Bradshaw, Lesline Kidd, Carol Nelson (gut-string guitar); Clyde Cumming (saxophone, alto saxophone); Howard Messam (saxophone); Chico Chin, James Smith (trumpet); Micah Robinson (trombone); Stephen Stewart (keyboards); Chris Meridith (bass guitar); Shawn "Mark" Dawson (drums); Uziah "Sticky" Thompson (percussion).
Audio Mixers: Barry O'Hare; Burning Spear.
Recording information: Grove Music Studio, Ocho Rios, Jamaica.
Photographers: Joshua Blood; David Corio.
Arranger: Burning Spear.
Free of the kind of label bureaucracy that had dogged him for most of his career, Burning Spear spent the duration of the '90s quietly amassing an impressive body of work. Ignoring trends that came and went, Spear stuck to working with crack musicians as he sang the glories of Jah and Rastafari. In addition to maintaining this straight and solid path, his final album of the decade, CALLING RASTARI, also nicely tied up this reggae legend's most successful decade up to that point.
Bubbling over with good will and equally pure vibes, RASTAFARI is a masterstroke of excellent songwriting. Spear's range allows him to not only write about his early days at Studio One with Bob Marley ("As It Is") but also bounce around the Caribbean as some potent lover's rock provides a solid musical bed ("You Want Me To"). At a time when most reggae acts leaned heavily on programming, Spear thankfully clung to using real horns throughout. His masterful brass and vocal arrangements make for an uplifting experience, particularly on the joyous title track and the bouncy history lesson "House of Reggae."
Dirty Linen (2-3/00, p.93) - "...his message is the standard peace, justice, and praise Jah....Arrangements are straight ahead, with sharp horns, crisp guitar and chugging bass and drums....It has a deep, reverent sincerity lacking in much of recent reggae..."