Nite Life Midnight Album Feature – Linton Kwesi Johnson

linton.jpgEvery Friday night at 12:00 I play one of my favorite albums and bring you the tracks and background on that album.

Tonight it’s Linton Kwesi Johnson’s Dread Beat an’ Blood, recorded in 1978. Johnson was known as one of the founding fathers of reggae dub poetry. He was born in a small rural town in Jamaica and raised in London. Growing up in south London, Johnson’s poetry and later his music was infused with the realities of that era’s racism and poverty. The eight tracks on this LP are intelligent and streetwise. They have a definite deep feel to them. He’s very philosophical and literate. If you ever get to see him live, the best word to describe him is elegant. Here is the opening track, “Dread Beat an’ Blood.”

Friday, May 25, 2007 (LISTEN TO THIS SHOW)

Dread Beat an’ Blood, which was Johnson’s debut album, is also the title of his second book of poetry that published in 1975, as well as the title of a documentary film of his work to that date. The album was recorded three years after the book was published. The track “Five Nights of Bleeding” is my favorite song on the album. There is something about the way he says “madness, madness” that is a call to think. The song describes random violence against the West Indian population of London by London police.

The last track on the album, “All Wi Doin’ is Defendin’” is a song that’s all about war and the eruption of violence and the resignation that he feels. You can hear that in his voice – a lament along with the strong political statement, and an echo of the question “Why are we doing this?”

Here’s Linton Kwesi Johnson performing live in Paris:

Every Friday night at 12 o’clock it’s the “Midnight Album Feature”. DJ Michele brings you tracks and history from a disc in her personal collection. This week focuses on dance-rockers LCD Soundsystem and the comparison between their popular self-titled debut and their 2007 release “Sound of Silver”.

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