Chant A Psalm

Album: True Democracy (1982)
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Songfacts®:

  • Steel Pulse was one of the top reggae acts to come out of England. They signed to Island Records in 1978 and made three albums for the label, but were dropped in the early '80s when they fell out of step with the two-tone movement that was all the rage. The group's lead singer, David Hinds, wrote "Chant A Psalm" during this time as a song of encouragement at this career nadir. "That period of the band's life wasn't very pretty," he said in a Songfacts interview. "It was just a way of telling myself, 'Don't be down and out because you've got that psalm you can be chanting every day.'"
  • Hinds wrote this song in a bedroom he was renting in someone's house. He was going through a rough time in his personal life, as he had recently split with the mother of his daughter.
  • The members of Steel Pulse were Rastafarians who at the time were taking a close look at the Bible. In this song, many biblical references show up in the lyrics, including a line from the book of Matthew: "Get behind me, Satan." Moses, Samson, Elijah and Daniel are some of the biblical figures mentioned.

    "At that time, I was reading books, like the sixth and seventh Book of Moses, certain books that were eliminated from the Bible at that time," Hinds told Songfacts. "We were seeking the half that has never been told."
  • The line, "When pressure drop it cannot conquer dread," is a reference to the song "Pressure Drop," popularized by Toots & the Maytals with their 1970 version.

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