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Customer Review

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Obscure classic from the master of "Dub Poetry", 2 Jun. 2006
This review is from: Bass Culture (Audio CD)
Look no further if you're interests fall off the beaten trails. Linton Kwesi Johnson is a poet, who, all at once, blends confrontational, satirical, sophisticated, angry, passionate, political, and proud lyrics with Dennis Bovell's Dub Band. The result is a challenging mix of socio-political topics spashed over Caribbean-influenced music. The style has been labeled "Dub Poetry."

For years, LKJ was a journalist and poet, who took his passion for writing to the next level. Because of his love of words & language, through music he began challenging the black struggle in England (circa late-'70's). Lyrically, LKJ's music is heavy on patois, which keeps the listener on the backs of his/her heels; it is always challenging in this way.

The music's no slouch either. Dennis Bovell's Dub Band is the perfect backdrop for LKJ's heavy-handed issues. Defiant/politically conscious lyrics perfectly balanced with musical contributions from a great reggae backing troupe.

BASS CULTURE (released in 1980) is an acquired taste, but it is a challenging album well worth seeking out! Most reggae fans will find this album a breath of fresh air, especially compared to much of today's reggae offerings.

Also check out LKJ's fine albums: DREAD BEAT AN' BLOOD, MAKING HISTORY, and LKJ IN DUB (Volumes 1-3).
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 12 Oct 2010 06:21:00 BDT
Mason says:
It depends on what generation you come from as to whether this album and LKJ's musical poetry is as obscure as the review implies or if it is an acquired taste. For many of us, this album is already in our collection, on vinyl or on tape as it was back then; it's just that it is not the sort of reggae that continues to receive airplay on mainstream radio stations in the UK, such as some of the more pop oriented Bob Marley tunes (which have their own meaning and value). The mid-seventies to early eighties was an era of conscious music which any younger reggae fan should explore in order to discover how, musically and politically, people felt able to stand up for their rights and express this in song. The same is true for soul and funk music in that time, so an equivalent soul track would be some of the Temptations' stuff, eg Take a Look Around, Ball of Confusion etc etc.

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Nov 2011 18:20:19 GMT
Dave K. says:
I'm coming from the stanpoint of an American, who is accustomed to all the mainstream junk that (unfortunately) saturates our media. In America, the listener must dig pretty deep in order to discover cool gems like "Bass Culture." Luckily, college radio stations help in this endeavor.
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