Start Rootfire Radio

powered by Spotify

The Mighty Threes


Genre: Roots Reggae, dub
Years Active: (1978–)


Bernard Brown:
Carlton Gregory:
Carlton Gregory:


Label: Makasound
Label Contacts: ,


Dub (1978) Africa Shall Stretch Forth Her Hand (1979)



It says much about the wealth of Jamaica’s talent that a quality group like the Mighty Three could leave barely a ripple behind them. The trio of Bernard Brown, Carlton Gregory, and Noel “Bunny” Brown (ex-Chosen Few) caught the attention of (unrelated) producer Bertram Brown in 1978. He promptly released a pair of singles, with the full-length Africa Shall Stretch Forth Her Hands arriving the following year, accompanied by an obligatory dub set, unimaginatively titled Dub. And that was that, the Three were no more. But, oh, how wonderful was the little they left behind, with Africa topping many reggae fanatics wish lists; it was at last reissued on CD. The trio were backed by mostly barely known musicians, whose flawless roots reggae accompaniments had a bright bounce that perfectly dovetailed with the Three’s own upbeat performances. The tetchy “Rasta Business,” with its militant edge and nervous theme of spies all around, is the exception to the trio’s optimistic rule, but is strongly off-set by the singalong unity number “One Black People.” That’s a happy, sway-along song, the romantic “Good Things Going On” is positively cheery, while the religiously themed “Nearer to Africa,” the closest the musicians get to deep roots, pushes towards chirpy. All these numbers weave in strong social and religious lyrics, with the more delicate “Back Yard Movement” adding a lesson in righteous living, while “Sinking in the Mist” gives warning to the wicked. But in an era of fire and brimstone, perhaps the Mighty Three just weren’t wrathful enough, preferring as they did positive messages, lilting melodies, and sweet harmonies that only occasionally slid into the closeness required of the roots age. The original album ended with the instrumental “Sata,” which provides the perfect bridge into the CD reissue’s appended Dub set. Through the magic of remix, reverb, and echo, Africa is transformed from a bright and light reggae record into a far heavier, much more militant sounding dub set. Thoroughly enjoyable, but certainly less crucial than the transcendental vocal album. – Jo-Ann Greene

For profile updates & corrections submit here