Win a copy of Fred Locks’ “Black Star Liner” LP, courtesy of VP Records. Enter below!
Fred Locks’ 1976 LP Black Star Liner sits on any short list of classics from reggae’s golden era of the 1970s. The LP, available in print again on February 9, 2024 in a newly remastered edition, evokes the earnest vision of repatriation that Marcus Garvey articulated and attempted to actualize a century ago.
Writers Steve Barrow and Peter Dalton put the release in context in Reggae: The Rough Guide: “’Black Star Liners’ became an enduring roots anthem and was soon followed by an album that helped define the period. Fred Locks’ voice was totally apposite to the deep roots rhythms that supported it as well as to the serious themes of iniquity, faith, and repatriation.”
At the time of the album’s initial release, the singer simply recalled, “I wasn’t so versed in Rasta but it’s really because of sufferation over the years why you find more to write about. Even ‘Black Star Liners’ was a song I start to write about two years ago (in 1973). It never reach completion until the day in the studio, you know, the very last words.”
The album is the result of the collaboration between producer Hugh Boothe and his friend Fred Locks (born Stafford Elliot), both of whom were members of Jamaica’s Twelve Tribes Of Israel (Rastafarian) organization. The album followed the release of the single “Black Star Liner” in 1975 on Boothe’s Jahmikmusik label (an affiliate of Twelve Tribes’ Jahlovemuzik soundsystem).
Despite the frustrations of getting the album off the ground and distributed in the 1970s – it first was licensed to the UK Vulcan label which vanished within a few years – the recognition and impact of the album have been its lasting markers of its success.
Singers including Carlene Davis and Luciano have paid tribute in the years since, and it has helped keep the vision and ideals of Garveyism close to the core of reggae lyricism for five decades. It is in many senses a roots reggae touchstone. Thanks to Fred Locks the melodic line and lyrics, “Seven miles of Black Star Liners coming in the harbor” remain well-known.
This deluxe vinyl edition is presented in its original stereo mix, remastered, an upgrade on the pressings available in recent years. In addition, the cover art has been color-corrected for an accurate reproduction of the original. Extensive liner notes by Harry Wise and the original Michael Morgan on the printed inner sleeve give the release additional depth. The original purple Jahmikmusik labels found on the 45 are used for the LP.
Originally a member of the rocksteady duo The Lyrics with Albert Tomlinson, Fred Locks went on to record as part of Creation Steppers, contributing to the LP Love And Only Love, a Lloydie Coxsone production distributed by Greensleeves. In 1998, VP Records released the Fatis Burrell-produced album Never Give Up in 1998, including a remake of “Black Star Liners,” followed by The Missing Link in 2000, and Black Star Liner In Dub in 2012, the latter both produced by Hugh Boothe.
— Carter Van Pelt of VP Records
Contest ends Friday February 16th @ 11:59 pm PT.
Winner will be notified via email from [email protected]. VP Records will ship to addresses across the globe. Winner may be responsible for import duties in your country if applicable.