Pablo Gad – Hard Time

27th September 2023 · 1980, 1980s, Reggae

I’m not the only one who loves this slice of vintage reggae by Pablo Gad. This song, Hard Time (sic), might be better known for being sampled by The Prodigy in their take on Arthur Brown’s classic Fire.

Gad’s version, released in 1980, has an interesting genesis: having come to the UK in 1974 from Jamaica, he went back on a visit and was shocked by the poverty and suffering he witnessed.

So he wrote this song about how life there was even tougher than it was for a black man in the UK in the late 1970s. And that was bad enough, with racism, police harassment and far-right parties on the rise, but poverty was kept at bay because, unlike Jamaica, people still “got their Giro every week.”

The musicians here include Ras Elroy of Black Slate on bass, with Keith and Tony Douglas, engineered by Mark Lusardi (later to become Linton Kwesi Johnson’s engineer) who also plays keyboards. And there’s a killer dub, as I’m sure my friends Oli and Nick will attest.

Pablo Gad – NEVER to be confused with his near-namesake Paul Gadd, aka Gary Glitter – made his recording debut in 1977 with a tune called Kunta Kinte (the name of the character in Roots), backed with International Dread.

He came to wider attention the following year with a magnificent tune called Bloodsuckers, and a mellow groove called Jail House Pressure, prompting a debut album called Trafalgar Square. This tune comes from his second album, Hard Times.