Bristol Archive Records Blog

Joshua Moses Album Review

Joshua Moses

Joshua to Jashwha: 30 Years in the Wilderness Bristol Archive ARC250CD


**** (pick)


The Bristol Archive label continues its project of documenting the long-neglected Bristol reggae scene with this odds-and-ends assortment of recordings by Joshua Moses. Moses began recording in 1978, and soon became a local favorite. However, when Bristol Archives contacted him to begin the project of compiling a retrospective album, they found that he had kept no copies of any of his many recordings. Joshua to Jashwa: 30 Years in the Wilderness is therefore the product of extensive detective work, and includes the only two Moses tracks ever to have been commercially

released: “Africa Is Our Land” and its dub version. Where the rest of this material came from is a mystery, but reggae lovers everywhere owe a huge debt to those who dug it up‹this is top-quality roots reggae. Moses’ voice is smooth and strong, sometimes strongly reminiscent of Johnny Clarke’s, and his songs are simple and straightforward but powerfully engaging.

Those who have been following the Bristol Archive’s aggressive release schedule over the past few years will recognize “Rise Up” from the excellent Bristol Reggae Explosion, Vol. 2 compilation, but there is even better material here: excellent live versions of “House of Dread” and “Protection”; the weirdly chugging “Steel”; his adaptation of Aswad’s “Promised Land” rhythm into the original song “Jah Time Has Come”; the ska-inflected “Bobby Wrong.” At the peak of his powers Moses was both deeply rooted in the traditional reggae verities and a truly unique vocalist and songwriter‹a combination both counterintuitive and wonderful.

Despite one or two minor clunkers (check out the bizarrely unbalanced sound on “Nothing to Lose” and the messy pseudo-delta-blues of  “Distant

Guns”) this album should be considered an essential purchase by all serious reggae lovers.


Taken from All-Media Guide from the USA


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