Jamaican reggae rockers Black Uhuru have been helping fans feel irie with their laid-back sound and bass-heavy live shows since the early '70s. The band has enjoyed huge crossover success with their infectiously rhythmic recorded output—they won the first-ever Best Reggae Album GRAMMY in 1985—and their legendary live shows are just as beloved. In concert frontman Derrick "Duckie" Simpson keeps the good vibes flowing, delivering his smooth vocals with effortless cool while several backup singers dance and add breezy harmonies. Meanwhile the rhythm section keeps it sharp as a stepping razor, setting a chill groove with melodic basslines and syncopated beats. Phenomenal performers who've released more than a dozen live albums, Black Uhuru are a must-see for reggae fans looking to get loose with some rocksteady rhythms.
Black Uhuru got their start in Kingston, Jamaica in 1972 under the name Uhuru (Swahili for "freedom") and released a few cover songs before splitting up. Former member Derrick "Duckie" Simpson revived the project in the mid-'70s as Black Sounds Uhuru and released the group's 1977 debut album Love Crisis. By the late '70s they had settled on the name Black Uhuru and begun working with legendary reggae production duo Sly and Robbie. The collaboration resulted in a string of hits for the group including "General Penitentiary" and "Shine Eye Gal", which featured Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards. Following the release of popular albums like 1981's Red and 1982's Chill Out, which reached No. 28 and No. 38 on the UK Albums Chart respectively, the band further cemented their growing international popularity on tour with the Rolling Stones. In 1985 Black Uhuru won the first-ever GRAMMY Award for Best Reggae Album for their LP Anthem, a historic milestone that they followed up with the GRAMMY-nominated albums Brutal (1986) and Now (1990). While the band's lineup has changed numerous times over the years, founding member Derrick "Duckie" Simpson has remained a constant, and he continues to bring the good vibes every time Black Uhuru hits the road on tour.