By Simon Jones
Northfield, Birmingham- October 1986
The time is approximately 2 a.m., through the indefinable
zone among Saturday evening and Sunday morning. The
Birmingham suburb of Northfield has close down, its pubs
closed many hours in the past, and such a lot of its population lengthy since
retired to their beds- such a lot, yet now not all. For in a dilapidated
block of residences in the back of the large Longbridge vehicle plant,
something is occurring. lifestyles is stirring and other people relocating to a
particular type of rhythm, with a special feel of time to
that embodied by way of the adjoining monolith to British 'motoring'.
Tonight, Scientist Hi-Powa, champion sound approach of south
Birmingham, are taking part in a 'musical meltdown', because it says on
the price ticket, to which 'all posses are welcome'.
Approaching the residences taking walks, the faint reverberations of a
bass line should be felt a number of blocks away, wearing through
the constructions and alongside the pavement. As we input via a
broken-down doorway, the DJ's voice turns into audible above
the now rumbling bass styles. relocating speedily up the
stairs, we knock at the door, greet the gateman and input ...
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Extra info for Black Culture, White Youth: The Reggae Tradition from JA to UK
In one sense dub is an extension of the subversion inherent in the musical structure of all reggae, since it protects itselffrom simplistic and fixed interpretations (Hebdige, 1974). It emerged, in part, as a response to some of the contradictions posed to reggae artists by the increasing commodification of their product by the international recording industry in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It is tempting to see in the innovation of dub one aspect of the ongoing struggle of musicians to resist the reification and 26 History packaging of reggae in specific commodity forms tailored to the international market.
Equally, the forms of joking, boasting and trading of ritual insults characteristic of DJ -ing are features whose origins are all deeply rooted in the African traditions of story-teller, 'broad talker' and people's musician (Abrahams, 1972; Toop, 1984). The similarity of toasting to its close Afro-American relatives, 'scatting' in jazz and 'rapping' in soul, point to shared roots in a common West African musical and oral heritage. It is through the institution of the sound system that the DJ artists remain organically connected to the audience from whom they continually draw their inspiration and whose collective moods and concerns they seek to reflect.
The particular harshness and brutality of the Jamaican slave system also produced a relatively high 400 Years 5 t~rnover of labour, and a steady transfusion of new Africans from markedly similar regional and tribal origins (Patterson, 1967, ch. 5). The rugged and mountainous interior of the island, moreover, enhanced the possibilities for revolt and successful escape, enabling groups of slaves to establish large and long-running 'maroon' communities from as early as the seventeenth century onwards (Price, 1973).