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Rare Record Showcase #5: Steel Pulse – “Caught You”

In honor of the recent Best Reggae Album Grammy nomination of the new Steel Pulse album “Mass Manipulation” released on Rootfire Cooperative, this Rare Record Showcase focuses on my personal favorite Steel Pulse record, and in my opinion one of the most underrated records in Reggae, 1980’s “Caught You.”

“Caught You” is the third album by arguably the best and most prolific reggae group ever to come out of the U.K.. It is not a “rare” record in the literal sense, in that it is widely available on streaming platforms, CD, LP, all the various medias.

What makes me think of it as a rare record, however, is how little attention this masterpiece appears to get. No one ever seems to mention this album when discussing Steel Pulse. Tunes from records like “Handworth Revolution,” “True Democracy,” and “Earth Crisis” are regular draws for reggae selectors everywhere. It’s a common experience at festivals to hear “Roller Skates,” “Your House,” “Steppin’ Out,” etc. blasting from huge bass-heavy speakers. And rightly so! All killer tunes from excellent albums. But I can’t help thinking, whenever I hear Steel Pulse music being played…why don’t we ever hear the roots gem “Heart Of Stone (Chant Them)” booming across a field of swaying festival goers?

From start to finish, “Caught You” is a TEN. It’s one of those records that I can sing along to word-for-word. And although I truly love every song, I do have some favorites; the afore-mentioned “Heart Of Stone,” the closing track “Nyahbinghi Voyage,” and what is certainly in the conversation for my favorite Steel Pulse tune, the mighty “Harassment.”

Why doesn’t this album get more hype? Maybe it does and I’ve just missed it. Or maybe it’s one of those brilliant musical offerings that the masses just can’t collectively wrap their heads around. Or maybe it’s just not as good as I think it is (I doubt it.)

Whatever is going on here, I at least am thankful to have this record to turn to every time I need a reliable top-to-bottom endorphin releasing sing-along set of tunes to throw on. If this is your first experience with it, clear your schedule for a few hours; it’s worthy of a full wheel-up or two.


Because the song writing on “Caught You” is truly inspirational and masterful, I’ve included this image of the back of the original LP release which contains the full lyrics sheet. Click on the image to zoom in.

 

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Editor
Devin spent almost 20 years as singer and songwriter for L.A. based roots-reggae band The Expanders. During that time he helped write/record/release 4 records, backed numerous veteran Jamaican artists at performances throughout California, and toured across the U.S. and Europe. He is also an experienced record selector and collector of Jamaican vinyl. Devin now splits his time between recording/performing solo acoustic reggae, playing guitar for veteran SoCal groups Long Beach Dub Allstars, The Lions, and Hepcat, and editing reggae news for Rootfire.net. You can follow him at @manlikedevin

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