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Sound System: Island Anthology
Steel Pulse
Sound System: Island Anthology
Genres: World Music, Pop
  •  Track Listings (14) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (16) - Disc #2


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CD Details

All Artists: Steel Pulse
Title: Sound System: Island Anthology
Members Wishing: 1
Total Copies: 0
Label: Island
Original Release Date: 3/11/1997
Release Date: 3/11/1997
Album Type: Original recording remastered
Genres: World Music, Pop
Style: Reggae
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaCD Credits: 2
UPCs: 731452432322, 0731452432322

CD Reviews

Doesn't Justice Stand for all?
thesnappyrejoinder | 05/27/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This fabulous release brings together the 1st 3 Steel Pulse albums in their entirety, including 12" mixes (which replace the original LP versions) and a few extra tracks (2 live tracks and "Don't give in"). It has to be the definitive collection of their music. To be quite honest I never got into any of their subsequent releases so it's great to find all the material I love so much on one CD set. The sound quality is also excellent and well re-mastered.Steel Pulse appeared on the British reggae scene in the late 70's. It was the time of Punk, the new wave, financial depression, strikes, police harassment, sus laws, and a black community coming to terms with life in Great Britain. The story of Steel Pulse begins in Handsworth, Birmingham. The sleeve notes that accompany this release recount the story very well, from their humble beginnings, winning a talent competition that secured them a recording contract, to becoming one of the best reggae outfits to emerge from the British shores. They were even a favourite of Bob Marley who took them on tour with him around Europe as his support act. They arrived in the middle of the Punk Explosion and it was normal to see them playing at clubs with the likes of the Adverts and the Stranglers, usually blowing the competition off the stage! Their music was hard hitting, political, well arranged, with great vocals and harmonies, but most definitely reggae. By 1978 they were signed by Island records who put out their debut album Handsworth Revolution. This put the band firmly on the British Reggae map and earned them a lot of critical acclaim and respect. What an entrance: Biblical tales, JAH, social politics, black politics, a radical edge, and still catchy and addictive. Their follow up LP Tribute to the Martyrs (1979) was more thought out and thematic. The songs are better written and the arrangements more sophisticated, but it lacks the sheer energy of their first release. The final LP on this compilation is Caught You (1980) which was released in the US as Reggae Fever. Although it has some great moments (notably Drug Squad and Reggae Fever) it's the weakest of the three. Not to say that the music isn't as good, but they never recaptured the initial magic of Handsworth Revolution. I will never get tired of listening to Steel Pulse and they're one of the first reggae acts I ever heard. So if you've never heard their music and you're a reggae fan, this CD would be an excellent addition to your collection. JAH live!"
home-body | northern california,usa | 11/12/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"British Reggae band, STEEL PULSE have enjoyed success since the late seventies. Their success has been with the roots crowd and occasionally with UK and international audiences as well.This wonderful 1997 anthology includes their first 3 albums (recorded during the late seventies/early eighties) and substitutes some original album songs with their 12" versions. The album also includes some extra tracks including live versions of "MACKA SPLAFF" and "NYAH LOVE."Not Unlike the British reggae band, ASWAD, STEEL PULSE have been a self-contained band. Although now whittled down to 3 original members, (David Hinds, Steve Nesbitt, and Selwyn Brown), on these early recordings the initial line up play all the instruments themselves. There is something admirable about a reggae band that can produce both great vocals and "crucial riddims" without outside help. This two-disc package demonstrates a powerful sociopolitical vision that is spoken with great lyrics, beautiful harmonies and remarkable musicianship. Their up-tempo beat, mid-range melodies and mixing of jazz and rock guitars give the overall sound an "irie" feeling. The one thing in common all the songs have on this massive compilation is STEEL PULSE' uncompromising stance. Songs such as "BABYLON MAKES THE RULES," "KU KLUX KLAN," and "JAH PICKNEY" demonstrate the musician's ability to address political oppression, while other songs such as, "UNSEEN GUEST," and "SOUND CHECK," display a more spiritual side of the band."SOUND SYSTEM: THE ISLAND YEARS" returns us to the early years of this rocking band. I'm sure you'll enjoy this look back on a band that has helped influence Dancehall and even pop music. Respect! -Mark "Homebody" Groesbeck"
What's up with the sound ?
home-body | 02/11/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)

"There's no doubt that this CD contains the band's finest material which deserves 5 stars. Much better then the post-Island Disco-ized reggae they played later. The problem is the recording. I have an old video tape of Steel Pulse at Reggae Sunsplash (tribute to Bob Marley, '82 maybe, this is a must have) with Black Uhuru. I play it on a mono VCR and it sounds way better than this CD hooked up to the same SOUND SYSTEM. This CD just does'nt have any OOmph to it. I mean the low end just ain't there. I have Hansworth Revolution on tape recorded from the LP and it sounds way better than this recording. Maybe it could be improved with an equalizer. Great material. Bad recording."