(Original LP released by Santic in 1974)
“London was more forward as well because music that was recorded back home… some of them were reaching here long before they were released in Kingston. I put together the ‘Harder Shade Of Black’ album in London from the singles and put it out with Bert… I never knew I was going to release an album! The lady on the cover is my first wife. She’s the mother of three of my kids. I actually took the photograph myself. It’s Downs Park in East London…”
“Hackney-ites – seckle! Stoke Newington – seckle, Tottenham posse – easy! Finsbury Park and Wood Green posse – easy!”
Hackney Downs was also the site of an open air soundsystem session in 1985 by Sirena Hi-Fi featuring guest appearances from Saxon MCs Tippa Irie, the late Miss Irie, Papa Levi and Daddy Colonel as well as Cinderella, Chargan and Banton Irie.
You should still be able to download the audio from this session at Who Cork The Dance. Someone else sent this to me a while back, but I’ve forgotten who it was – so apologies and thanks to them. Saxon do what they do best here – tuff lyrics over Studio One and other riddims – marred by the odd technical problem. You can hear Tippa’s take on the Heysel Stadium disaster (May 1985), so the dance must have been after that… (includes mild homophobia and general slackness)
It also looks like Saxon played Hackney Downs the year before in August 1984. There is video of this floating around but it’s a huge file so I dunno if my rubbish connection will cope. If a kind person could stick it on youtube or something that would be great.
It’s also likely that some of north east London’s reggae, jungle or hip hop stars were educated at Hackney Downs school…