John Peel Wiki
(This page covers both the group Black Uhuru and the solo work of Michael Rose.)
Black uhuru 100.jpg

Black Uhuru are a Jamaican reggae group formed in 1972, initially as Uhuru (Swahili for 'freedom'). The group has undergone several line-up changes over the years, with Derrick "Duckie" Simpson as the mainstay. They had their most successful period in the 1980s, with their album 'Anthem' winning the first ever Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album in 1985.

(Read more at Wikipedia.)

Links to Peel

"It's records like that, that make me think it's worth pressing on for a few more days."
(John Peel, 30 September 1980, after playing 'The World Is Africa' from 'Sinsemilla')

Black Uhuru - Guess whos coming to dinner

Before joining Black Uhuru, Michael Rose had been played by Peel in March 1976,[1] when the DJ aired the solo single 'Guess Who's Coming To Dinner', produced by Dennis Brown and Niney The Observer, and released in the UK on the Oval label of Charlie Gillett. The song would later be re-recorded by Black Uhuru, this time produced by the Taxi label duo of Sly Dunbar & Robbie Shakespeare, and first be played by Peel in 1980.

Allied to the studio skills of acclaimed rhythm section Sly & Robbie, Black Uhuru's best-known lineup of Rose as lead vocalist and writer alongside group founder Duckie Simpson and Puma Jones quickly attracted attention with a string of singles that Peel featured heavily from the second half of 1979, including 'Shine Eye Girl', which boasted contributions from Keith Richards. The DJ subsequently played multiple tracks from the albums the vocal trio released in the early 1980s as their international reputation grew.

Despite this, Peel admitted to reservations as early as 'Red', leaving the choice of which three tracks to feature from the much-anticipated LP on 18 May 1981 to producer Chris Lycett. On his 31 July 1983 (BFBS) show, the DJ wondered aloud whether he was the only person unsure about the “metronomic” precision of Sly & Robbie, who updated roots reggae with electronic sounds and other innovations.

Rose left Black Uhuru after the 1985 Grammy success of the 'Anthem' album, which was remixed and resequenced for international markets by Island Records.[2] Peel played relatively little of their subsequent work, although he continued to give time to solo releases by their former frontman. US female vocalist Jones left the band due to ill health and died of cancer in 1990.

Singers from other lineups who were regularly featured solo by Peel include initial Rose replacement Junior Reid, who lasted four years from 1986, and co-founder Don Carlos, who rejoined for six years from 1990. During the 1990s, Junior Reid featured on the Peel-played Ragga Twins cover of the Black Uhuru classic “Shine Eye”. In 2002, the Don Carlos track "Late Night Blues" appeared on the Peel mix album FabricLive.07.

Among other vocalists, third co-founder Garth Dennis went on to become a long-time member of Wailing Souls, who were much played by Peel and recorded one session, before returning to Black Uhuru with Don Carlos in the early 1990s. Errol Nelson, who came into Black Uhuru with Rose but left after one album, also recorded with the Jays (aka Jayes), whose song 'Truly' (with Ranking Trevor) was chosen by Peel for his self-selected 1977 Festive Fifty.

Festive Fifty Entries

  • None


  • None
  • Black Uhuru co-founder Garth Dennis recorded one Peel session with Wailing Souls in 1984.

Other Shows Played

  • 31 July 1983 (BFBS): Party Next Door (7") Taxi (John wonders if he is alone in thinking that Sly & Robbie aren't the best thing in reggae, opining that they are a bit metronomic)
  • 16 June 1985 (BFBS): Fit You Haffe Fit (7") Taxi
  • 11 January 1986 (BFBS): Conviction Or Fine (7") Taxi
  • 20 January 1986: Conviction Or Fine (7") Taxi
  • 21 May 1986: Brutal (album - Brutal) Real Authentic Sounds

  • 04 September 1985: Demonstration (shared 7" with Body Snatcher - Demonstration / Big Mac) Grammy Rose
  • 11 September 1985: Demonstration (shared 7" with Body Snatcher - Demonstration / Big Mac) Grammy Rose (JP: 'A little tranquil from my barbaric tastes, but I thought you might find it interesting')
  • 11 November 1985: Bogus Badge (7") Grammy Rose

See Also

External Links