Tuesday, June 23, 2009

FEATURE 28 - Linton Kwesi Johnson

It being the 50th Anniversary of the founding of Island Records they've re-released a number of their most significant albums. So I've already picked up Marianne Faithfull - Broken English for a fiver. Last week it was Linton Kwesi Johnson's - Forces of Victory. Similar to John Cooper Clarke, Linton Kwesi Johnson's career seemed to blossom so fully in the mid-eighties, and was so much identifited with that era, that he's done precious little since. This album along with Dread, Beat & Blood, was such a politicised peach, a real product of its era, of recession, SUS laws, and rising National Front activism. Nothing much has changed, only the names we call things by, so this record still seems painfully relevant to me. Forceful words here are toasted over equally forceful music, characterised by a subtle, well rounded dub sound, engineered by Dennis Bovell. It's hard to not want to pick all of these tracks out as highlights, but my personal favourites are - Sonny's Letter - Independent Intavension & Fite Dem Back - with its catchy, but disturbing football style chant -' smash their brains in, cos they aint got nothing in em'. He still performs from time to time apparently, but his recorded output has all but ceased.

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