Seeing as we’re on a bit of an unintentional theme right now with the last two posts having a Rock Against Racism banner I figured why not tie it all together and revisit one of the bands who’s name is synonymous with that famous movement in 1970’s Britain? The Birmingham reggae giants Steel Pulse. As big a part of the UK live music scene as it is possible to be they’ve played every festival and their music rains down from windows during carnival seasons the world over (and even when it’s actually raining down in Notting Hill). Steel Pulse are a bloody marvellous band. Lead singer and guitarist David Hinds has steered the band for over 40 years. Recently they’ve repeated their Grammy nomination of the 1980’s (they won in 1986) with donds going to their 2019 long player Mass Manipulation (they didn’t win that time). Rize is on that most recent album. It’s a motivated detailed call to stand up in unity. It also sounds like sunshine. So, win win.
“So much for fallen soldiers don’t let them die in vain, so much for freedom fighters, It’s now that we feel your pain, so much for so called justice, A martyr’s sacrifice, got gunned down during the protest demanding our equal rights”
Don’t let the torch pass fall in the tall grass. Keep on keeping on. This was the message then. It’s the message now. The lyrics reference recent politically charged touchpaper events and historic victories hard won. In the past the band stood alongside Stiff Little Fingers, Tom Robinson and The Clash to bring the youth of our nation together. United against Clapton, Enoch Powell and those attitudes Madness were singing about in Embarrassment. They played the main stage at the famous Rock Against Racism festival in Victoria Park.
I once reviewed a documentary about the movement for Critical Popcorn. You can find my take on White Riot here. In 2019 Steel Pulse had Trayvon Martin, Colin Kaepernick, The Trump Administration and BLM on their minds. Rize is not just taking issue with the state of the USA though
“Built your goddamn country and reaping no rewards, the land of milk and honey we’ve even fought your wars, confined to backs of the buses we’ve even took all of your blows, how we survive the burning crosses only heaven knows”
Steel Pulse have as much ire for the UK Government and it’s recent mistreatment of the very ethnicity it once invited with open arms to help rebuild and grow the country. To our recent political shame we have insulted, devalued and abused many of our citizens with deportation and bureaucratic bullying for the imagined crime of insufficient paperwork, from an era where there was scant formal process to follow. And then our populace and our flailing political system have reelected the same half arsed omnishambles time and again for lack of a viable alternative.
“So much for your redlining forever trying to keep us back ’cause we’re the Windrush generation who won’t take any more of that”
There’s only a smattering of Reggae already on SteveForTheDeaf. Some Toots, a touch of Junior Mervin and and a bit Lord Kitchener to name but three. There’s quite a bit on my iPod though. I’ve referenced the TV show PhoneShop and it’s White Man Reggae Club skit before. It nails the (imagined) awkwardness of middle aged white men listening to this wonderful music and loving it. Also quite rightly it makes that look daft. I’ve ranted a little over the last few days about Mans inhumanity to Man. About injustice. About Dickheads and about no platforming hate speech. If you’re still here, you deserve a party tune. Steel Pulse can help you with that.