Out next week, repress of The Pioneers’ ‘Battle of the Giants’. One trio that not only succeeded, but blossomed following the onset of reggae, is The Pioneers, who in 1969 became one of the first Jamaican acts to achieve international success with their UK hit, ‘Long Shot Kick The Bucket’. Their third album Battle Of The Giants is a little bit softer compared to their previous records, and even features a soul ballad. ‘Consider Me’ and the title track “The Battle Of The Giants” are two of the best known songs from this album. The collection is a must-have for all self-respecting fans of boss reggae and is now finally available once again.

Out next Friday, 30th August, reissue vinyl LP. Pre-order here.

Born OTD in 1952, Jamaican dub poet, Linton Kwesi Johnson. What is the relationship between poetry and social change? Standing at the forefront of political poetry since the 1970s, Linton Kwesi Johnson has been fighting neo-fascism, police violence and promoting socialism while putting pen to paper to refute W.H. Auden’s claim that ‘poetry makes nothing happen’. For Johnson, only the second living poet to have been published in the Penguin Modern Classics series, writing has always been ‘a political act’ and poetry ‘a cultural weapon’.

In Dread Poetry and Freedom – the first book dedicated to the work of this ‘political poet par excellence’ –…

Born OTD in 1890, mid-20th-century novelist who was born and grew up in the Caribbean island of Dominica, Jean Rhys. Good Morning, Midnight is experimental in design and deals with a woman’s feelings of vulnerability, depression, loneliness and desperation during the years between the two World Wars. The book initially sold poorly—critics thought it well written, but too depressing—and after its publication Rhys spent a decade living in obscurity. It was not until it was adapted by Selma Vaz Dias into a radio play, first broadcast by the BBC in 1957, that Rhys was once again put into the spotlight.

Saved, rescued, fished-up, half-drowned, out of the deep, dark river, dry clothes, hair shampooed and set… Set in a 1930s…

Born OTD in 1922, American historian, playwright, and socialist thinker, Howard Zinn. For anyone who grew up in the 20th century, this book is a must read. This autobiography chronicles the life and times of Howard Zinn, America’s foremost social historian. From his days growing up poor in New York to his service is the Second World War to his work with the SNCC in the Civil Rights movement, Zinn tells the story in a personal fashion with poignant detail and antecdotes and tales that will make you laugh and make you cry. This is one of the best autobiographies of the 1990’s, and is a must read for all fans of history, Howard Zinn, and the human bonds that bring us all together.

Available in store and online.  

In 1959 Vincent opened a small shop, named after Randy’s Records in Gallatin, Tennessee, on the corner of East Street and Tower Street in downtown Kingston and started selling old records from the jukeboxes. The business expanded rapidly and, two years later, Randy’s moved to new premises in Kingston’s commercial district at 17 North Parade where Randy’s Record Mart soon established itself as one of Jamaica’s leading retail outlets. Vincent started to produce his own recordings and, in the summer of 1962, Jamaica declared its independence to the sound of Lord Creator’s ‘Independent Jamaica’ produced by Vincent Chin and released on Randy’s Creative Calypso label..

  ..Vincent also produced some superlative ska sides, including The Maytals’ incredible tribute to Cassius Clay ‘He’s The Greatest’, but…

Born OTD in 1941, Jamaican record producer, Bunny “Striker” Lee. Lee began his career working as a record plugger for Duke Reid’s Treasure Isle label in 1962, later performing the same duties for Leslie Kong. He then moved on to work with Ken Lack, initially in an administrative role, before taking on engineering duties. Lee then moved into producing (i.e. financing) records himself, his first hit record coming with Roy Shirley’s “Music Field” on WIRL in 1967. Lee then set up his own Lee’s label, the first release being Lloyd Jackson’s “Listen to the Beat”.

Omnipresent on the Jamaican music scene for over four decades, Bunny Striker’ Lee is one of the most important figures…

Born OTD in 1920, Amercian author and screenwriter predominantly known for writing the iconic dystopian novel ‘Fahrenheit 451’, Ray Bradbury. “It’s the week before Hallowe’en, and Cooger and Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show has come to Green Town, Illinois. The siren song of the calliope entices all with promises of youth regained and dreams fulfilled . . . And as two boys trembling on the brink of manhood set out to explore the mysteries of the dark carnival’s smoke, mazes and mirrors, they will also discover the true price of innermost wishes . .”

Available in store and online.

Desmond Dekker recorded some of his best-known songs together with his backing group the Aces. Their single “007 (Shanty Town)” made him Jamaican music’s first outernational superstar, reaching the 14th place in the UK charts. The Leslie Kong produced Double Dekker was first issued in 1973 and consists of the best material Desmond recorded during his early years. In 1969 he scored a number one hit with the legendary song “Israelites”. You’ll hear how the Ska music from the mid-60s developed to the Rocksteady sound. This was “Ska” or “Blue Beat”— (or its new name for the slower tempo “Rock Steady”), and the lyrics come from the Calypso-Mento method of telling about current events in music. He was really at his prime from 1969 to 1971, a recorded classics such as “It Mek” (1969) and “You Can Get It If You Really Want” (1970), which you’ll both find on this record. Even before Bob Marley and Jimmy Cliff Jamaica already had their own international superstar, Desmond Dekker was his name

Pre-order new reissue double vinyl LP here.

Coming soon, pre-order here. Go Mod! heavyweight vinyl set by Charly Records is an overview of the original Mod era. From that, you can guess that we are talking less ‘crate digging’ and more mod classics. Ok, perhaps not the obvious classics, but tunes at that end of the range. According to Charly, this is music from ‘the decade that defined the sound of Mod’, which is down as 1957 through to 1967.

Pre order vinyl double LP here.  

Our next PM Book Club, we’ll be discussing Reni Eddo-Lodge’s,’Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race’. The book that sparked a national conversation. Exploring everything from eradicated black history to the inextricable link between class and race, ‘Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race’ is the essential handbook for anyone who wants to understand race relations in Britain today.

New members welcome. Next meeting is on Monday, 2nd September 6pm at the shop.  Book available in store and online.