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The Abyssinians: Arise [Expanded Edition]

Album Notes

Few bands have been quite as consistently identified with a single song as the Abyssinians have been with their roots classic "Satta Massagana," a repatriation anthem that has been covered by so many other bands that it has turned into a kind of reggae version of "Kum Ba Ya." And being no fools, the Abyssinians have milked that song for all it's worth, recording it several times in different versions or writing new lyrics to go with the familiar melody. Arise, their second full-length album, is no exception: on "Mightiest of All," the band quotes the Amharic verse on which "Satta Massagana" was based, though thankfully over a different rhythm. The rest of the album keeps the dark, roots-wise mood constant but offers a couple of interesting variations, most notably on "Meditation," which features an unusually complex chord progression for a reggae song. As always, the Revolutionaries provide rock-solid backing for the group's vinegary trio harmonies. Roots reggae fans who were entranced by the Abyssinians' debut should not be disappointed by this album. ~ Rick Anderson


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