1976 saw the explosion of punk rock and its unlikely championing of roots reggae in what would become a lasting counter-cultural union.
Step Forward Youth provides a detailed study of reggae in the UK in the late 1970s via a 36-track collection of essential recordings that helped forge an alliance between the worlds of reggae, punk, and post-punk. This Greensleeves Records compilation, available November 30, 2018, includes both hit Jamaican reggae originals such as Culture’s “Two Sevens Clash” and British reggae recordings such as Steel Pulse’s powerful “Ku Klux Klan,” as well as obscure roots reggae heat from the Barry Ford Band with “Rebel,” providing a musical soundtrack for a key moment in pop culture history.
Other artists featured include Lee Perry, Gregory Isaacs, Augustus Pablo, Dennis Brown, Michael Rose, and Aswad. The featured recordings made their mark through various channels (clubs, soundsystems, radio, and record shops) and were championed by punk tastemakers at the time. Michael Rose’s original cut of “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner” predates the well known track by Black Uhuru by several years. The latter was recently sampled and remade by Tarrus Riley as “Guess Who.”
The extensive 4,500-word liner notes by Noel Hawks contextualize the origins of the punky reggae phenomenon by exploring social, cultural, and economic factors and explains how popular music changed as a result.
Available from Greensleeves Records on CD, audiophile quality, UK-pressed vinyl, digital downloads, and all streaming platforms.