Black Uhuru | Live @Rockpalast (1981)

Roots Reggae legend 'Black Uhuru' was at the height of their creative work in the now-iconic Rockpalast concert series for WDR television at the Grugahalle venue in Essen, in the heart of Germany’s Ruhrpott industrial region. From their most eclectic and enduring, most earthly and authentic side - singers Michael Rose, Sandra ‘Puma’ Jones, and Derrick ‘Duckie’ Simpson, guitarists Billy Johnson and Deryl Thompson, keyboardists Franklyn Waul aka ‘Bubler’ as well as Christopher Burth alias ‘Sky Juice’ and last but not least the ‘Taxi Gang’ dub legends Sly & Robbie - drummer Sly Dunbar and bassist Robbie Shakespeare - gave a fulminant concert.

Black Uhuru, one of the most enduring Roots Reggae acts ever, was founded in 1974 and since then has had countless gigs and albums, most of which in the eighties, their most successful era. The Rockpalast gig was only 5 months after the death of reggae legend Bob Marley, who had passed on May 11, 1981, and at a time in which Reggae was gaining global recognition. Black Uhuru’s style and sound, some 4 years after their 1977 debut release "Love Crisis", had become more militant, which is captured at this gig and was never again recorded with the same intensity.

This 1h16m concert recording will leave you free to relive the memories and emotions of the era, especially when it comes to Reggae and the perception of the music and culture of that era. Enjoy Black Uhuru "Live At Rockpalast”! BLACK UHURU ("black sounds of freedom"), was to perform for the first time at the ROCKPALAST ROCKNIGHT.

The group comes from Jamaica and unites all elements that have given Reggae its musical direction for decades. Black Uhuru is firstly a vocal formation. Vocal groups have a long tradition in Jamaican music. They first appeared in the 1960s influenced by popular American acts such as "The Drifters" and the "The Platters". In a steady progression and development from Ska to Rocksteady and finally into Reggae. The Jamaican vocal groups like ‘Black Uhuru’, ’The Congos’ and ‘Israel Vibration’ to name a few, have developed their own style unlike no other.

Black Uhuru at this moment in time was into its third evolution, where singers Don Carlos and Garth Dennis previously had been replaced by Michael Rose en Errol Nelson, the latter soon to be replaced by Puma Jones (who sadly passed away in 1990). Black Uhuru would see no less than 7 different vocal line-ups in their 30-year history.

Black Uhuru - the vocal trio as well as the musicians of the band - are regarded as Reggae’s finest interpreters and have been at the forefront in the development of this music genre. This is particularly evident at their live concerts where, alongside the vocals, the rhythm twins Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare are most striking.

For bass and drum is the heart of Reggae music.

At first, in the shadows of Bob Marley, Black Uhuru became a successful international Reggae act from 1977 onwards and have continued to prove and uphold their reputation as one of Reggae’s finest…

This concert, a monument to the Rockpalast series, is released on MIG-Music (Made In Germany Music from Hanover), as well as on DVD and as an exclusive DVD / CD set.

Event | 9.Rockpalast Rocknacht 17.October 1981
Venue | Grugahalle, Essen, Germany


  1. Shine Eye Girl (0:19)
  2. Puff She Puff (11:00)
  3. I Love King Selassie (16:30)
  4. Youth of Eglington (21:35)
  5. Push Push (26:45)
  6. General Penitentiary (32:07)
  7. Happiness (36:35)
  8. World Is Africa (41:32)
  9. Sponji Reggae (46:58)
  10. Sinsemilla (52:14)
  11. Interval (59:50)
  12. Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1:01:40)
  13. Abortion (1:08:30)


  • Michael Rose - vocals
  • Puma Jones - vocals
  • Duckie Simpson - vocals
  • Sly Dunbar - drums
    Robbie Shakespeare - bass
  • Sky Juice - percussion
  • Derryl Thompson - guitar
  • Billy Johnson - guitar
  • Franklyn Waul - keyboards