BLACK ROOTS, the mythic roots band from the UK scene is back with a new album, NOTHING IN THE LARDER, released this June 4th, 2021. The songs on the album are punctuated by powerful horns rising up from the underbelly of the bass and drums. The keyboards and rhythm guitar float just above this pulsating heartbeat. It is steady and regular, gives depth and roundness by that pumping organ, guitar riffs creating accents, and by horns, keyboard, and guitar solos that give the music a jazzy feel. Then you add those distinctive vocals and harmonies, and the end result is another classic foundation roots reggae album from the band. There is something here for the new fans to drill into.
BLACK ROOTS has crafted another original set of songs and, using top musicians based in the United Kingdom from the genre, have recorded them delivering freshness even within the tight parameters that is foundation roots reggae. It will not disappoint. The message remains strong and consistent but relevant. The world is in the grip of a pandemic, deepening inequality and growing racism and discrimination. There is much uncertainty driven by politicians around the world whose aim is to roll back personal freedoms and subjugate populations to their will, even in countries that trade on their democratic credentials. Divide, rule, and conquer seem to be the new mantra.
There is much to fear from this new world order. But unlike in the past, there is a growing lobby that is pushing
back against this tide, against the senseless killing of Black people by the Police, and is winning hearts and minds. These movements challenging these threats are a cause to be optimistic about the future, but we cannot be complacent ‘la lutta continua’ until equality and justice prevail.
So, NOTHING IN THE LARDER’, is a timely reminder that we must continue to promote equality, justice and enlightenment. ‘Wisdom and knowledge are the food for life’. It advocates the message that even in the depths of despair there is always hope for a better world to come, if not for us then for the youths. People power counts.
And as each of these themes is touched upon the message is clear ‘you have to know where you are from to know your way home’. For some this is a call to return to Africa, to go back home to renew oneself and rebuild. But there is a recognition that going back to Africa is not a return to a mythical land. It is a coming back to a continent that has also suffered and is still suffering from the legacy of colonialism and imperialism.