It’s Sunday morning and I am inhaling this new oral histroy podcast from Kiss FM. You get eight 20 minute episodes and there is a lot of ground covered: from the cockney fast chat of Saxon Soundsystem right up to UK Drill.
There are some breathtaking moments, like Asher Senator describing his first few times on the mic for Saxon as well as some incredible recordings of MCs like Stevie Hyper D in full junglist flow. The drift and cross pollenation between genres is covered well – the Ragga Twins describe the evolution from dancehall to rave to jungle and there are some crucial insights into the Saxon MCs’ inspiring US hip hop artists too.
Friend of the blog Gabriel May makes an appearance talking about jungle artists working with dancehall MCs. Gabriel also recommended this next one to me:
The Bass Culture Research project is a product of the the Black Music Research Unit (BMRU) at my alma mater the University of Westminster. The unit’s Director is Mykaell Riley, formerly of Birmingham reggae legends Steel Pulse, so this is not some undergrad waffle.
Their podcast is surprisingly underexposed – it’s flipping great. Each episode is an in depth conversation with some towering figures in the history of UK reggae and bass culture. Lloydie Coxsone talks about being fitted up by the police in Brixton, Red Saunders features in two episodes about the formation of Rock Against Racism, Paul Gilroy is his usual insightful self on a whole range of topics.
I was especially taken with the episodes on people who are not usually interviewed. Dubplate Pearl gives us a much needed window into the life of a female reggae fan inthe 1970s onwards. There is an incredible section with her talking about her love for the hardest dubs rather than the lovers rock tunes that women are supposed to like. Wilfred Walker talks expansively about the struggles of being a black music promoter. And Janet Kay’s episode is a much needed look at the music industry from the perspective of a young woman too…
Life In Dub is presented by veteran UK Dub producer Steve Vibronics (who was also a great contributor to the much missed Blood & Fire forum). There are 35 episodes so far, focussing on UK Dub producers, label heads, musicians and vocalists.
Steve is a great interviewer that really connects with his subjects, who include legends like Scientist, Mark Iration, Abashanti, Russ Disciples, Dougie Conscious, Adrian Sherwood, Mad Professor, Dennis Bovell as well as newer artists. Many many great stories.