“that sound that seems to get inside you and rearrange you molecularly”

Don Letts came in for a bit of a hammering in Woofah issue 1, but he’s not too bad presenting this. Perhaps because the archive reportage and contributions from people such as Linton Kwesi Johnson, Vivien Goldman, Jazzie B, King Tubby, Trevor Sax, Daddy G, Ali Campbell, Caroline Coon, Lenny Henry, Rodigan and Tippa Irie make it essential listening.

The Blues Dance

Tuesday 13 May 2008 13:30-14:00 (Radio 4 FM)

Repeated: Saturday 17 May 2008 15:30-16:00 (Radio 4 FM)

Don Letts tells the story of the Blues Dance or Jamaican private club in Britain. Crowds gathered to listen and dance to heavy bass lines of reggae, pumped out from huge speakers. The first wave of West Indian immigrants set up informal basement parties in West London, but the phenomenon would later gain prominence across the UK.

BBC online listening.

Penny Reel on blues dances from the New Musical Express “soundsystem splashdown” feature.


  1. That penny reel piece is really interesting,
    Is it meant to be based around 1981 when it was published?
    I didn’t realise shebeen culture was still so big at that time

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