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Issue 70 International Times
Well, it has Started. We've started getting letters complaining about this page. I think that we expected this to happen. The country seems to be full of people who think like this:-'A bloke with cropped hair hit me once, therefore all blokes with cropped hair are thick and violent'. How stupid and illogical can you get'?
There are too many of these short.sighted pacifists around. living their safe, middle class lives, refusing to believe that fights happen in cities and everyone is used to them. Refusing to realise that WE are just ordinary blokes and girls, like millions who lived before us in London, Manchester etc.
To 'Jake' who wrote to us, and whose letter we printed in the last issue. I have this to say: if you get through your life with only short-haired people thumping you, you'll be bloody lucky. In the meantime why not stand up to agro instead of whining to the Bills. And do you think we don't get picked on? Well l can tell you we do. We get our share of unprovoked attacks, and we can tell you only three things to do: 1) try and talk 2) try and fight your way out 3) run like hell. What not to do is to stay there and suffer it, that only leads to broken noses and spilt blood.
We don't want to spill blood. Not all of us, as people like Paul Brooks (who wrote to us after the last issue) think. He says 'And so whenever I see a cropped head complete with the uniform of turned-up levi's, braces and steel capped boots. I try to tell myself that maybe he's not such a bad bloke.....' Fuck-a-Duck Paul!! Try telling yourself he's an ORDINARY bloke, not too unlike yourself underneath and you'll be nearer. And stop calling it a 'uniform' - it's fashion and there's always been fashion. I first wore boots after having been set upon by a couple of blokes at the seaside, to protect myself. (They had long hair but it doesn't matter).
Don't try to tell us that one type of young person is more picked on than any other type. It won't wash! Paul Brooks goes on to accuse I.T. of 'patronising' boot-boys. Well, I can't answer for this, because all I.T. are doing is letting us use a page. Most of us who run this page are boot-boys ourselves. Case dismissed. If you have any problems you want YELL to talk about, write to us and we'll get someone to write about them. Or better still, write something yourselves. We've got a page here and we can fill it with whatever we want, so if you want to make I fuss over something, now's your chance!
A load of us always seem to get down to Hyde Park for the Free Concerts.. I think a lot of the trouble is because quite a lot of the hairy music gets boring to listen to after a bit and people get restless and then there's trouble - not always our fault either.
But what we at YELL say is why not have a free Reggae and Soul Concert at Hyde Park? The trouble is some of the artists and agents are too poor to afford to play free, and others are too bothered about getting money and couldn't give a fuck about us. But surely a record company could sponsor it, and get loads of publicity for doing It. Just imagine sitting in a boat on the Serpentine, listening to the Upsetters or the Niyah Shuffle. Could be pretty good! So people in the Reggae world, take Steve Maxted's advise (in this week's music section) and give your fans a break!!
Let's start this week's review off with a complaint . Friendly character aren't I? I've seen and hear so many cases recently, of Reggae Artistes failing to turn up for bookings and the excuses they make are idiotic. So, any offenders who read this please show more responsibility towards Promotors and Fans and thus help to increase the popularity of the music we love. I've got that off my chest now on to happier fields.
I compered a ReggaeFestival last weekand was stunned by a dynamic act, consisting of two men and one girl, all cooured, called the MARVELS. They stole the show and this was some achievement with people like PAT KELLEY on the bill. Their blend of Reggae-Soul is of the highest professional standard so, if you get the opportunity to see them, Jump at it. Next week I'm working with DESMOND DEKKER and MILLIE, so I'll give you the latest on them in the next issue.
The UPSETTERS follow-up to 'RETURN OF THE DJANGO' is U.S. -313, 'A LIVE INJECTION' Copies of this were released about three months ago but it is a good choice for re-release as it is a quality instrumental on a par with 'Django'. A fast pace, with outstanding organ work, should ensure a chart entry.
While I'm on instrumentals, lets talk about HS . 035, 'REGGAE PRESSURE', by the HIPPY BOYS. Who these boys are I don't know but the standard of playing and production on this record is excellent. Once again the organ Is featured and the pace is, what I call, Steady-Reggae. A relaxing dancer in other words.
Anything new and imaginative attracts my attention and TR-696, SITUATION' by the RULERS, is certainly a new West Indian sound. Imagine a beat as slow as Rock-Steady but with a hefty, rising and falling rhythm that makes you want to bob up and down, Long Shot Kick The Bucket' style. A record as crawling as this would not normally compel you to dance but the thudding message emitted by this one makes you jig like a yo-yo. Mainly featured are the clearly sung vocal & thick bass guitar. The story is about strong men who can't get work and thus have nothing to do. Wish I could say the same. No organ or brass on 'SITUATION' and the length i sonly one and three-quarter minutes but this does not spoil a great record. The other side, also by the RULERS, is called 'GOT TO BE FREE' An average Reggae number but quite acceptable.
Record Companies, not normally associated with Reggae, are doing their best to cash in on it's present popularity. Who can blame them? The latest to have a bash are DIRECTION. Normally releasers of good Soul material, they have released a number by the tremendously talented JACKIE EDWARDS, called 'OH MANIO', 58-4630. This, like all Jackie Edward's singles, is self composed and is a very lively Calypso-Reggae rendition. If the party is sagging, stick this on the old turn table and things are sure to pick up. This is more commercial than authentic Reggae and although it was released last month it has not had sufficient publicity, so I am trying to renew interest in a record that deserves more.
Finally, let me praise TROJAN RECORDS for the way in which they are exposing their Reggae releases. both in the Trade and publicly. The results of their efforts can be seen by looking at the National Charts Where nearly all the present Reggae hits are on Trojan associated labels. Advertising and hard work pays off. Talking about work, I'm finished for now, so CHEERS. STEVE MAXTED.
MUSICAL STOP PRESS.....
We're sure Steve won't mind if we slip in a couple of late news items, courtesy of Max Needham at B&C. Trojan Records have successfully negotiated a deal with Jamaican producer L Kong to acquire all future Desmond Dekker recordings for U.K. release.
Now a few mini-reviews of records we've only just got: SKINHEADS, A MESSAGE TO YOU (DT.450) Desmond Riley: not half as good as the B side, GOING STRONG, by lhe Music Doctors. CUTTING BLADE (GR 3003) King Horror: both sides have an excellent beat but absolutely no melody. The words are spoken. LEAVING ME STANDING (GR 3005) Winston Groovey: average Reggae ballad ONE WAY LOVE (TR7700) Coloured Raisins: very nice version of the old pop song.
Two things for your Xmas present list LPs RETURN Of THE DJANGO (Upsetters) and JIMMY CLIFF. Both are very very good for full-price records.
LETTER TO THE EDITORS.
When you get the name of being a tough nut whatever cult you are in it always begins when you are very young. For me it all began when I was about 12. As I was so small I had to learn to fight harder than other kids. If anyone teased me about my height I would go mad and threaten to kill them. They always laughed ... until I knocked them down with a wrestling trick my dad had taught me. I carried on fighting kids who got at me, but I didn't look for lights. About 2 years ago I became a 'Skinhead' and found many grease girls would come up and use any excuse for a fight with me cos they thought I'd be easy play. Now girls and sometimes lads come up to me and say 'You reckon you're tough, so prove it'. I don't think I'm tough but I have to protect myself so I never refuse a challenge. I've rarely lost a fight yet and I believe that if I get a black eye, the other kid should get two. Quite frequently I get chucked out of dances and places. When I ask for a reason I am told they have heard about me and they can't risk me starting fighting. I rarely ever start fights, this is something I learned when younger. I only start fights when really angry and then I go mad & put the boot in as hard as I know. I have been branded a tough nut and I am a skinhead so I am the one who comes out worst. I doubt if I can ever get rid of the name until I am a lot older - in an age group which never fights. This was proved when I moved to another town leaving all me mates and enemies to start a new life without being branded, but got in with a crowd of skinheads - which is great - but who are always fighting or being challenged to fight - which isn't so great - and now I have been branded by the kids here. It's like an incurable disease. / Bye./ SKINHEAD GIRL