Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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The Gladiators

  • Symbol of Reality [Nighthawk, 1982] B+

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Symbol of Reality [Nighthawk, 1982]
Albert Griffiths has never been a musical fundamentalist--1979's Sweet So Till, the group's first self-produced LP and only previous U.S. release, placed too much faith in synths, and when that didn't go over they went in with Eddy Grant, which didn't go over either--so maybe he's joined the Itals on this roots-conscious label because he's got nowhere else to go. But the same sense of pithy conviction that made Proverbial Reggae a classic album makes this a good one. The revival of the anthemic "Dreadlocks the Time Is Now" is no more impressive than the proverbial "Mister Goose," which unfortunately is the only song about women here that bespeaks as much loving wisdom as the songs about Jah. B+