Legendary reggae powerhouse Black Uhuru celebrate their 50th Anniversary with the release of New Day, the follow up to their 2018 Grammy nominated record As The World Turns.
The release of New Day is the focal point of celebrating 50 Years of Black Uhuru as 2022 marks 50 years since the band's formation in Kingston, Jamaica. Flash forward 50 years from 1972, millions of albums have been sold, eight Grammy nominations and one Grammy award, and the band finds themselves looking back on the accomplishments and forward to a "New Day" dawning.
Formed in 1972 by Derrick “Duckie” Simpson in Kingston, Jamaica, Black Uhuru has been one of the most important bands in reggae. From humble beginnings to touring with the Rolling Stones and the Police, Black Uhuru have sold 10s of millions of records, second only in the world of reggae to the one and only Bob Marley.
One of the most prolific Jamaican reggae bands in history, Black Uhuru has earned an impressive collection of music industry accolades over the years including winning the first-ever Grammy award for reggae music with eight other Grammy nominations to boot. Their enduring success has made the name Black Uhuru synonymous with the reggae genre, and New Day continues their powerful legacy of conscious roots reggae that has influenced new generations of emerging reggae artists for five decades.
“The band is legendary,” says Black Uhuru founder and bandleader Derrick “Duckie” Simpson. “We’ve been around for over 50 years. We started when we were youth and the band has come right through all these years in abundance. There have been a couple of changes over the years with some guys left to do other things, and a couple of lead singers passed through the band: Don Carlos, Michael Rose, Junior Reid, and then Don Carlos again, and Andrew Bees now for like 25 years. This album is my second up front doing lead vocals.”
New Day captures Black Uhuru at their enduring best, passing the torch even as their flame continues to burn strong, in alignment with the LAW Records mission of discovering and developing a new generation of emerging reggae artists, while simultaneously tracing a living historical connection between the genre’s future and its legendary Jamaican roots. Owned and operated by the reggae-rock band Pepper, SoCal independent label LAW Records has gained a well-earned reputation as the tastemaker label when it comes to American reggae and reggae-rock. As trailblazers and the unofficial ambassadors of a music scene they are largely responsible for creating, the LAW team has been equally invested in developing the next generation of reggae-rock artists and connecting the genre’s wide-open future with its legendary Jamaican roots.
“Teaming up our label with Black Uhuru is mind-blowing,” says LAW Records founding partner Yesod Williams, “like to the point where it doesn’t even seem real. This is arguably the most legendary name in reggae, a band whose music helped shape me, my band, and the whole state of Hawaii in the '80s and '90s where we grew up. As I approach this from my fandom perspective, I’m in complete awe. When I approach this from the perspective of LAW, ‘none will escape’. The task at hand is to reinvigorate the world with the Mighty BU, and we won’t stop till Duckie’s magic on “Jamaica To Here” is heard across the world, from now till forever!”
After spending five decades making music, Black Uhuru still manages to maintain their signature sound, keeping everything on tape, old-school: “Everything was old-school analog,” says Simpson. The basic tracks were recorded at Helltown Studios in Helltown, California, with both Duckie and Dylan Seid on lead vocals. Then Simpson took the recordings to Leebert Cougar Studio in Kingston, Jamaica to do overdubs and mix in backing vocals by Niki Burt and Elsa Green, guitars by Leebert “Gibby'' Morrison, horns by Everald Ray, and drums by Rolando Alphanso Wilson.