Saturday, 11 December 2010

Radical Riddims

While listening to this album earlier while ripping, it struck me as to how relevant it still is, reinforcing the feeling that Britain has returned to a state comparable to the early nineteen-eighties: what with the rioting on the streets of London, right-wing attacks on public services, radical voices coming up from the street, and of course a right royal wedding.
Maybe we should all take to wearing leg warmers.

This recording also takes me back to that time as I saw Linton Kwesi Johnson and The Dennis Bovell Dub Band in St. Germans at one of Lord Eliot's Elephant Fayres in what I think was eightie-three [?], but bit vague there.

It was memorable enough though, for me to know that it was without doubt the best reggae show I ever experienced - only Misty in Roots came close - Johnson's wonderfully crafted dub-styled polemic poetry juxtaposed with Bovell's masterful arrangements and the band's musicianship made for the best way possible to spend two hours in a pitch field in the middle of Cornwall.

Talk about a light in the darkness; we were like moths to a flame; hanging on every word; every beat; homogeneous: unified.

Johnson often spoke about his use of 'reggae riddims' in his poetry; a way of capturing in language the rhythms and metre of Jamaican dub music; and they do work well when read a capella; the couple of examples on here exemplify this technique perfectly; and of course it allows in a live capacity for the musicians, and the audience, to have a bit of a rest and catch their breath.

But the addition of music adds so much colour and vibrancy to Johnson's poetry; often reinforcing his message; emphasising his anger and adding enormously to his emotional expression.

But most importantly, you can dance to it.

And in a sense, this is a real 'Best Of', so to speak; easily his greatest songs are included on here, capturing his first few albums, all of which are now classics of British reggae.

So get your big boots on; and whether you're on your way to a demo or a disco this makes for the perfect accompaniment.

See kids, politics can be fun.

Linton Kwesi Johnson & The Dub Band - LKJ in Concert (1985)

Five Nights of Bleeding
Dread Beat an Blood
Intro (chat)
All Wi Doin is Defendin
It Dread Inna Inglan
Man Free
What Fi Got Rave
It Noh Funny
Forces of Victory
Independent Intavenshan
Reggae Fi Peach
Di Black Petty Booshwah
New Craas Massahkah
Reality Poem
Wat About Di Workin Class
Di Great Insohreckshan
Making History

Decent rip from cassette @ 320kbs
There is a drop on one channel for part of 'Dread Beat and Blood', but it doesn't last long and soon repairs.
This is really scarce now, it seems; I attempted to find a copy - because of the aforementioned problem (yeah, anal, I know) - but couldn't find one; so let's cherish this.
Radicalise here


. said...

You first with the legwarmers.

Anonymous said...

This phrase is simply matchless ;)