Linton Kwesi Johnson - Bass Culture (Island Records, 1980)
Linton Kwesi Johnson - Bass Culture
Produced with the father of UK Dub, Dennis Bovell, Bass Culture by Linton Kwesi Johnson is a modern masterpiece. All the more relevant in the world of 2020, LKJ’s mix of political protest, social activism, education, and community focused engagement, makes for completely compelling listening forty years after its initial release.
Designed by photographer Dennis Morris, the minimal cover design of this record is also something special. I bought my copy of this record in the now closed Daddy Kool in Soho. Daddy Kool is fondly remembered by reggae music fans, who knew it as not being the friendliest place in London to buy records. The day I brought this record, Keith - the owner of Daddy Kool - insisted that I had to by a Gregory Isaac record, The Lonely Lover, at the same time. He would not let me out of the shop without the two records, even though I only had budget for one of them. We must have made a deal (i.e. he took all of the money I had, and I didn’t have dinner that night).
I still, happily, have both records. The last thing I’d say about Linton Kwesi Johnson is that his influence on the spoken word artists of today cannot be overestimated. He paved the way for Kate Tempest, George The Poet, and Roger Robinson.