Thursday, 20 September 2012

Music: Keep or Cull No.13: Abyssinians - Satta Massagana (1976)

I was raised in a house that was always filled with music. It wasn’t necessarily good music, but it was music nonetheless. My parents and their friends around Wolverhampton all loved reggae music. Now for some people, their love for reggae was quite passionate and vocal, even though the extent of what they listened to was UB40’s Labour of Love and Bob Marley and the Wailers’ Legend. There is nothing wrong with these albums, the latter might be one of the best compilation albums ever made, but I’m not sure how much you can profess to loving a genre of music if your only reference points are a pop-reggae act from the West Midlands, and the biggest selling reggae artist of the time. This would be a bit like saying you loved rap music, but only listened to Eminem and the Streets.

I love reggae, and luckily for me, I was exposed to a bit more of it than ‘Kingston Town’ by UB40. When I was growing up, there used to be a pirate radio station which was run out of a tower block on the Heath Town estate in Wolverhampton. Heath Town in the 80s and 90s was a pretty horrible place to live: decaying concrete precincts; brutalist architecture; and drugs – lots of them. The radio station was called Skyline FM and broadcast a mix of reggae, dance-hall and jungle. The production was lame, and the tracks would be quickly faded in and out as the almost incomprehensible MC gave another shout-out to ‘tha Bushbury massive’. It was nauseating stuff, but they would play some artists that I went on to love: Barrington Levy; Augustus Pablo; Ras Michael; Prince Far I; and Abyssinians. ...

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