HR is most well known as the lead singer of revolutionary reggae punk rock band Bad Brains. In their day Bad Brains could have been easily mentioned in the same breath as The Ramones, The Sex Pistols or The Clash, such was their greatness. Yet the band has evolved many times in its long history, playing across many genres of music including jazz, hardcore punk, alternative rock and reggae. HR has been making music since 1976 with Bad Brains, and along the way until today, he has been acclaimed for his reckless punk screaming just as much as he has been lauded for soulful reggae crooning. A quick web search will document numerous album releases from both the band Bad Brains as well as solo releases by HR.
On his new solo album “HR Live At CBGB’s 1984” HR gets back to his punk rock roots alongside his brother, Bad Brains drummer, Earl Hudson. We recently grabbed a listen to the first single from the album, entitled “Let’s Have a Revolution”.
This is a great track, a short sharp punch that contains everything that was good about early punk. It has politics, ethos, anger and humor in spades. And all wrapped up in under three minutes. Most punk bands today, don’t say as much with an entire catalog of music.
This is real punk rock hence the bass and drums is where the dynamic of the music is most heard, but on this release, these instruments are joined by an incessant electric guitar that runs back and forth across the banging soundscape, almost in a call and response form, juxtaposed with the high energy vocals.
HR along with the rest of Bad Brains are an essential part of alternative music and punk culture, they were much more than just the Sex Pistols of America. They had the same load of energy and anger, but were much more intellectual and instrumentally could blow many of their counterparts out of the water.
Strong lyrics, great music and good quality musicians was not always a reachable equation for many punks bands, but it came easy to Bad Brains, simply because they were not just a punk band. This new release plays testimony to the power and versatility of HR and Earl Hudson, by capturing them in a live performance. There can hardly be a better way to uncover their unbridled zest for making hard driving music.
For CD sales and future vinyl release dates go to www.catchafiremusic.com, where the full album “HR Live At CBGB’s 1984” is ready for purchase.