Fred Locks Classic Album ‘Black Star Liner’ To Be Re-Released

Fred Locks’ 1976 LP Black Star Liner sits on any short list of classics from Reggae’s 1970s golden era. The LP, available again in a newly remastered edition, evokes the earnest vision of repatriation that Marcus Garvey articulated and attempted to actualise 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 that helped define the period. Fred Locks’ voice was 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 (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 Liners” in 1975 on Boothe’s Jahmikmusik label (an affiliate of Twelve Tribes’ Jahlovemuzik Soundsystem).