Thursday, June 18, 2020

With Bass Culture Linton Kwesi Johnson releases another ageless masterpiece

Linton Kwesi Johnson : Inglan Is A Bitch

In June of 1980 dub poet Linton Kwesi Johnson was out promoting his follow-up to the critical favorite Forces of Victory. Bass Culture is full of powerful political lyrics chanted in Jamaican patois with a seductive reggae backing performed by some of best British-based musicians. The albums sounded so cool but the lyrics always had bite. Johnson explained the songs on the album were "basically talking about art and experience--I don't want too much eyebrows raised now! I mean they're about how you feel and how you translate that into meaningful entertainment that inspires and motivates at the same time."

 "Inglan Is A Bitch"  is an angry song about the abuses West Indians suffer in their new country. Sadly the song's topic is not in the least bit dated. 

On the Old Grey Whistle Test Johnson performed the song without musical backing.

Here, in contrast, is the song as it appeared on the album:

This would be one of the final albums Johnson would make. At 67, Johnson still takes to the stage at times but he  has been devoting himself to community politics, journalism and teaching,

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