Clinch Records
Kingston 5
Jamaica, West Indies

September 1998

For Immediate Release

Bernard Collins, The Abyssinian, Releases The Last Days

Bernard Collins, lead vocalist for the legendary reggae vocal trio, The Abyssinians, marks his departure from the group with the album entitled Last Days (Clinch Records pre-release CRA21284).

Reggae has always contained facets of Jamaican and African culture, and the Abyssinians were there at the forefront of the international roots movement. In 1969, Collins, along with Donald and Linford Manning, penned what has become the unofficial anthem for that movement, "Satta Massaganna," or 'give thanks' in Amharic. "Satta" was covered by many of Jamaica's popular singers: Peter Tosh, Ken Boothe, Third World, Cedric Brooks, Big Youth, Johnny Clarke, and Peter Ashbourne.

After too long a silence, this great voice comes to move us again. Born in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1948, a young Collins witnessed the radical changes that took place in his country following independence from Britain. The Rastafarian movement, bubbling under the surface since the 1950s, burst forth with cultural pride after colonial rule was abolished in 1962. The Abyssinians began recording shortly thereafter and gained widespread popularity for their sweet vocal harmonies and conscious lyrics.

The group's first album, Forward To Zion, was initially released in England in 1976 by Klik Records Ltd. under license from Sound Tracs Ltd. It was voted top reggae album of the year. It was re-released in April 1978 by Different Records Ltd., again under license from Sound Tracs. Its initial Jamaican release was on Penetrate Records (LPPN 2001A/B). It was pirated on the label 'Pre-Abbyssinians' (P/0212A/B) in the US and is currently pirated on the Azul label on vinyl. It is available in the US on CD Heartbeat Records under the title, Satta Massa Ganna.

Virgin Records released the Abyssinians' second album, Arise, which broadened the group's audience to include Europe and the United States. In 1982, Alligator Records released Forward, the group's third album, to the US market.

In spite of the break-up of the group in 1983, Collins continued writing as he always had. Last Days is a highly personal album: the tracks trace one man's social and spiritual odyssey. To hear it is to experience the unique view of this extraordinary artist.

Last Days was recorded between 1988 and 1994. It contains "Last Days" and "African Princess" from the last sessions of the original Abyssinians in 1988. The more recent cuts feature harmonies by George Henry, who sang harmony on the original "Declaration of Rights," recorded for Coxson Dodd's Studio One in 1970.

The album is arranged and produced by Bernard Collins and Andy Bassford. It was recorded at HC&F Studio, Free Port, Long Island, USA and Tuff Gong Intl, Kingston, JA.

Musicians: Andy Bassford, Familyman Barrett, Val Douglas, Lloyd Parks on bass; Mikey Boo Richards, Devon Richardson, Bernard Powell on drums; Cat Coore, Chinna Smith, Andy Bassford, Dalton Browne on lead guitar; Harry T Powell, Junior Wedderburn, Bongo Herman, Job, Jah Tess on repeater drum; Bernard Collins, Andy Bassford, Howard Brown, Winston 'Bo Pee' Bowen on rhythm guitar; Harry T Powell and Bongo Herman on other percussion; Andy Bassford, Bubbler Waul, Diavallan Fearon, Robbie Lyn, Wire Lindo on keyboards; Robbie Lyn & Diavallan Fearon on vibraphone; Bobby Ellis & Dave Madden on trumpet; Glen DaCosta on tenor sax; Everton Gayle on alto sax; Vin Gordon & Barry Bailey on trombone; Dean Fraser on soprano sax; Glen DaCosta on flute; Anthony Forrest, George Henry, Melvin Trusty, Susan Wallace, Lauren Bradt, Susan Hochstein on harmony vocals.

Tracks: Jah Marley, Soon We'll Be Free, African Princess, Young Wings, When You're Down, Jahoviah, Keep On, Tell Me, Wareika Hill, Too Young, Swing Low, Last Days


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