From the Vault: Burning Spear – Social Living/Marcus’ Children (1978)


We’ve started yet another weekly series here on CKUT’s music blog. Every week we’ll be digging up an old release from our library! There’s a lot of focus on contemporary music these days, and given CKUT’s history and crazy diverse library we want to keep in touch with where it all comes from.

This week our feature is Burning Spear‘s 1978 album Social Living (AKA Marcus’ Children). I came across this album while searching through our vinyl reggae section. Burning Spear has been putting out music since 1969, starting off at the famous Studio One in Jamaica. This album picks up where his previous 3rd LP, Marcus Garvey, left off. It is filled with haunting bass-heavy grooves, traditional reggae rhythms, nyahbinghi percussion,  and distant, dream-like horns that seem to float above it all. Lyrically the album is quite dark, focussing on slavery, repatriation, and the great Marcus Garvey, for whom four tracks are named.  Definitely worth tracking down though copies are hard to find these days. Give a listen to the opening track I’ve attached below entitled ‘Marcus Children Suffer’. With the weather warming up I have a feeling this album will be on heavy rotation through the summer.

Lotsa Love,