Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Not much hair, but plenty of musical style

Before racist elements appropriated their look, Britain's original SKINHEADS of 1969-70 were known for a favored style of music, not politics.
The original skins loved a type of REGGAE that often featured faster tempos than rocksteady and typically included R&B elements.
Hammond organs often featured, and a danceable beat was a requisite.
Not just any reggae tune would do for those skinheads committed to the cause of great music. They were reggae connoisseurs.
In Nick Knight's book, "SKINHEAD," he writes that "it was the aim of skinhead devotees of this music to keep up with the latest releases and consequently, white-label, i.e., pre-release, copies of records were a mark of a skin who knew his music."
Today I listened to a great memento of those times -- the Trojan compilation, "SKINHEAD REVOLT."
In one memorable stretch of the album, Clancy Eccles' "Shu Be Doo" is followed by Eric Donaldson's "Come a Little Closer."
The often-covered or versioned "Got to Get Away" by The Paragons is on this disc, as is Busty Brown's great cover of "To Love Somebody."
I can only speculate on this music's effect on the original skinheads. I do know what it does for me, though.
It makes me move!


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