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Acapella Live

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Album Review

Now recording for his own indie label, Johnson's first release in six years is a return to the form of Dread Beat An' Blood — that is, no band, just Johnson's lyrical, rhythmic voice setting the tempo. This is Johnson's first full disc without a band, but don't let that stop you from hearing these 14 vignettes of London life — full of discord, racism, and, thankfully, hope for a better future. Johnson's voice, lilting, dynamic, and melodic, is always commanding, and his gift for recitation will make you forget that there is no backup band. Available through LKJ Records, P.O. Box 623, Herne Hill, London.


Born: 24 August 1952 in Kingston, Jamaica

Genre: Reggae

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Although he has only released one album of new material in the last ten years, and virtually retired from the live stage after his 1985 tour, Linton Kwesi Johnson remains a towering figure in reggae music. Born in Kingston, Jamaica and raised in the Brixton section of London, Johnson invented dub poetry, a type of toasting descended from the DJ stylings of U-Roy and I-Roy. But whereas toasting tended to be hyperkinetic and given to fits of braggadocio, Johnson's poetry (which is what it was -- he...
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Acapella Live, Linton Kwesi Johnson
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