Archive for the ‘Linton Kwesi Johnson’ Category


Thursday, April 14th, 2011

Listen: Natty B.Sc. / Dillinger
Natty B.Sc. / Dillinger

Amongst the wave of deejay toasters who rose to prominence during the mid 70′s, Dillinger went global with single ‘Cokane In My Brain’. In fact, that record is a bigger calling card for reggae meeting punk than the media gives credit to. It was everywhere, and still is. ‘Get Up, Stand Up’ my foot. It was all about drugs. Those mainstream media anthems, like The Clash faking their way through ‘Police & Thieves’, had nothing on Peter Tosh ‘Legalize It’ or ‘Cokane In My Brain’.

In seemingly no time at all, ‘Marijuana In My Brain’ was released as a 7″ by a competing label. Good move, it would appear a logical followup to an unsuspecting public. Problem being the single wasn’t great. The hoax failed.

Even at the time, Dillinger had released half a dozen albums on as many labels in the Jamaican market, so UK record companies in search of all things reggae had, as with loads of acts, plenty to pick from when licensing product for Britain. To date in fact, Dillinger has released some thirty albums worldwide.

But the real followup single was ‘Natty B.Sc.’, this time on the Black Swan label, then an Island subsidiary. Born Lester Bullock but christened Dillinger by Lee Perry, the connection to Black Swan makes some sense. Scratch didn’t produce any of his Island/Black Swan output, but had indeed been the first to take him into the studio for ‘Ready Natty Dreadie’ in ’75.

Listen: Buckingham Palace / Dillinger
Buckingham Palace / Dillinger

The favored side of WIP 6380 was by far ‘Buckingham Palace’, one of the very best tracks from CB 200. A perfect representation of the hard, political sound we all loved back then. Everyone did. Man, this stuff sound great when cranked up late at night. A precursor to LKJ even.

Linton Kwesi Johnson

Monday, May 31st, 2010

Listen: Di Black Petty Booshwah / Linton Kwesi Johnson LKJBlackPetty.mp3

I recollect LKJ’s FORCES OF VICTORY and BASS CULTURE albums suddenly being of great interest amongst our whole crowd. For whatever reason, they seemed like the first full lengths after that initial introductory (to us) influx of ’76 and ’77 releases (Max Romeo & The Upsetters, Justin Hines & The Dominoes, Peter Tosh, The Mighty Diamonds, Jah Lion, Dillinger), and they were both non stop favorites for months. It never occurred to me some singles might actually be pulled from them, given they were such ‘album’ albums. I still thank the decision makers who chose to proceed otherwise.

The Sly & Robbie Taxi productions combined with acts like Steel Pulse and Inner Circle that raced toward a clean, syndrum, soul-less era of early 80′s reggae was just about to begin. FORCES OF VICTORY and it’s follow up, BASS CULTURE, bar a few others like Black Uhuru, basically ended my hardcore infatuation with most reggae music that followed, due to this new sound twist, uncomfortably merging expensive modern equipment with one of the only non flash earthiest genres left.

From BASS CULTURE, ‘Di Black Petty Booshwah’ was a nice example of LKJ’s countless A1 tracks. I still don’t get why so many songs ended up gracing 7″ singles that seemed to have no hope for airplay. I’m guessing in the case of reggae, the pockets of Jamaican communities around London might have been the target – but they weren’t exactly singles buyers like in the 60′s, where they?

My money would’ve been ‘Inglan Is a Bitch’ as the choice. If you’re going to end up being struck down at BBC playlist music meetings, you might as well make an unsettling statement.

But I’m well content to own the promo and stock of ‘Di Black Petty Booshwah’, complete with custom sleeve. It sounds just that tiny bit better than the album, given the nice wide grooves and the revved up speed of 45.

Listen: Straight To Madray’s Head / Linton Kwesi Johnson LKJBlackPetty Dub.mp3

Misleading title for the actual dub of this A side. I double checked via INDEPENDENT INTAVENSHAN – THE ISLAND ANTHOLOGY, a comprehensive double cd encompassing his work for the label, complete with dub versions of just about every song. And guess what – this isn’t included. So to the best of my knowledge, one needs to track down the 7″ if adding it to the collection is required.

While on the subject earlier of mischosen LKJ A sides, it’s worth wishing history had dictated a 7″ release of ‘Independent Intavenshan’ and it’s priceless extented dub version which can be found on the above anthology.


Monday, December 1st, 2008

Respect / Deborah & The Puerto Ricans

Respect / Deborah & The Puerto Ricans

Listen: Respect / Deborah & The Puerto Ricans DeborahRespect.mp3

Deborah made her debut as The Flying Lizards’ vocalist. Needless to say, she had a certain style and stuck to it. Kinda like Nico but without the heroin. She could cover just about any song and it would have you in stitches. I’m not sure if she took herself seriously. For the record, I still can’t get enough of the singles. This one featured The Puerto Ricans, who I believe were actually one guy: Dennis Bovell. He’d produced a lot of Linton Kwesi Johnson’s records, maybe all of them. Sounds like he wanted to sidestep the politics and have some fun. Unfortunately, there was no followup. And this may have been her final hour.