CD REGGAE GREATS [Linton Kwesi Johnson] (CD 1345031), Audio Other
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REGGAE GREATS [Linton Kwesi Johnson]

  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 5528812

  • Credits

    Culled from Johnson's albums for Mango recorded between 1978-1984, this is a distillation of work by the dub poet and the man who has perhaps been England's greatest contributor to reggae. While the great "Reggae Fi Peach" doesn't make it on here, and nor, even more surprisingly, does his excoriating immigrant tale "Inglan Is a Bitch," there are still plenty of gems in the album's 40 minutes, like "Independant Intavenshan" and "Sonny's Lettah (Anti-Sus Poem)," which might still stand as his best-ever track. Working in a sing-speak Jamaican patois, Johnson never pulls his punches, and why should he? He's seen plenty and experienced plenty at the hands of the English. The country might be his home, but that doesn't mean he can't see its myriad faults. The combination of Johnson's words and delivery with Dennis Bovell's production and leadership of the dub band is an almighty one-two punch, always going for the knockout blow, and the very best British reggae has had to offer: political, powerful, and penetrating. Although not the first to use the dub poetry form (essentially poetry, almost rap, recited over reggae beats), Johnson is perhaps its greatest exponent, and this relatively prolific period shows him at the height of his powers, finding an audience that extended beyond the usual reggae listeners. Does he deserve to be called a reggae great? On the basis of this -- and even more so if you listen to the individual albums, even the dub one -- there's no question about the matter. ~ Chris Nickson

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