I wasn’t sure if I should share this here without first sharing some of LKJ’s musical records first. But I decided it’s worth it. For one, this record is a bit harder to find than his landmark late 70s dub/reggae albums. But also because in many ways it makes a perfect introduction to his work, since he began his career as a published poet rather than a recording artist. For anyone interested in reggae, Caribbean cultural history, in poetry – Linton is a crucial figure. His literary output recently gained him recognition as one of the only living writers to be considered a ‘Twentieth Century master’ or something like that by Penguin Books, in a recent collection. I saw LKJ speak last year and left hoping that these accolades, however hard-earned, would not change him. It seemed he felt compelled to give a more academic presentation along the lines of a lecture on the poetics of Jamaican dub toasters, and only read a few of his own poems. This was a shame, as hearing him read his own work is infinitely more powerful than hearing him situate it intellectually in some kind of canon. In that spirit, I share this record. If you don’t get it after hearing this, you probably never will, no matter how many intellectual gymnastics you do.
Linton Kwesi Johnson – LKJ , A Capella Live (1996)
Bookmark the permalink.