Born OTD in 1940, Jamaican musical artist popular in the 1960s and 1970s, Derrick Morgan. In 1959, Morgan entered the recording studio for the first time. Duke Reid, the sound system boss, was looking for talent to record for his Treasure Isle record label. Morgan cut two popular shuffle-boogie sides “Lover Boy”, a.k.a. “S-Corner Rock”, and “Oh My”. Soon after, Morgan cut the bolero-tinged boogie “Fat Man”, which also became a hit. He also found time to record for Coxsone Dodd. In 1960 Morgan became the only artist ever to fill the places from one to seven on the Jamaican pop chart simultaneously.

Secret records are releasing a compilation of early tracks from the only artist ever to fill the places from one … More

Jamaican love songs always came across as heartfelt poetry whether they conveyed a broken heart, unrequited love or even the message, “it’s all over don’t bother to come back” anecdotes. But whatever the mood the singers of these songs were so good and versatile that putting such subject matter over in a few verses was always so moving and believable. Jamaican love songs were a constant in the ever-evolving sounds and journey that reggae music took its listeners on, from ska to rocksteady to the early reggae sounds of the late 1960s early 1970s.

Kingston Sounds have complied a great selection of songs that all deal with that timeless subject matter. New vinyl LP … More

In the early 1960s, when the Jamaican recording industry was still very much in its infancy, the local music scene was dominated by a mere handful of performers. Among these musical pioneers was Derrick Morgan. A year after the launch of the islands records label (1967), they released the Derrick Morgan And Friends LP, which has since become a highly prized collector’s item.

Recorded at Jamaica’s premier recording studio, WIRL, and featuring the musicianship of leading session crews, the Carib Beats and Lyn … More

Born OTD in 1922, American novelist and poet, Jack Kerouac. Kerouac is recognized for his method of spontaneous prose. Thematically, his work covers topics such as Catholic spirituality, jazz, promiscuity, Buddhism, drugs, poverty, and travel. “A young innocent, joins his hero Dean Moriarty, a traveller and mystic, the living epitome of Beat, on a breathless, exuberant ride back and forth across the United States. Their hedonistic search for release or fulfilment through drink, sex, drugs and jazz becomes an exploration of personal freedom, a test of the limits of the American dream..”

A brilliant blend of fiction and autobiography, Jack Kerouac’s exhilarating novel swings to the rhythms of 1950s underground America, racing … More

Having dominated the rock steady era, Arthur ‘Duke’ Reid was searching for a way to build upon his standing as one of Jamaica’s premiere record producers following the arrival of the new reggae sound towards the close of the Sixties. By releasing Gay Jamaica Independence Time he proved that he still released high-quality tracks.

Some of the most talented musicians from that period are featured on this record, like U-Roy, The Ethiopians, Alton Ellis, … More

Eastwood Rides Again follows the theme of Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry & The Upsetters previous classic, Return of Django – and like that one, the groove isn’t just the rocksteady rhythms you’d expect – but also maybe this more spacious version of the style. They got their funk on with the inspiration of Spaghetti Westerns and soul music. The record is largely instrumental and its a representation of Perry’s significant production skills.

Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry was a pioneer in the 1970s development of dub music and worked together with artists such as … More

The famous Jamaican record producer Duke Reid founded record label Treasure Isle in the 1960s. Some of his best production skills can be found on the compilation album Here Comes The Duke. Showcasing the talents of some of the giants of the rock steady era, the recordings, all issued during the latter half of ’68, demonstrate just why the Duke is widely regarded as the king of the rock steady sound.

The famous Jamaican record producer Duke Reid founded record label Treasure Isle in the 1960s. Some of his best production … More

Born OTD in 1956, English author Andrea Levy. She was born in London to Jamaican parents, and her work explores topics related to British Jamaicans and how they negotiate racial, cultural and national identities. “My son Thomas, who is publishing this book, tells me, it is customary at this place in a novel to give the reader a little taste of the story that is held within these pages. As your storyteller, I am to convey that this tale is set in Jamaica during the last turbulent years of slavery and the early years of freedom that followed. July is a slave girl who lives upon a sugar plantation named Amity and it is her life that is the subject of this tale.”

“She was there when the Baptist War raged in 1831, and she was present when slavery was declared no more. … More

This book argues that British working-class urban culture was silenced in the period 1900 – 1950 and that the effects of this are still felt. The agencies of this silencing were state education, the BBC Radio and the commercialisation of working class cultural institutions (from 1850). The effects in my own life are picked up from the fifties onwards and some of the fightback against the hegemony of silencing is shown often with graphic pages. The style is a cross between lecture slides and Zine! So a lot of mini posters, and graphic pages.

“What does it feel like for a whole class to collectively loose its voice? Stefan Szczelkun’s Silence! is a careful tracking … More

Next book reading will be on the novels of Alexander Baron with Susie Thomas. The novelist Alexander Baron (1917-1999) was born into a working class Jewish home in Hackney, joined the Communist Party as a young man, saw the thick of battle in Sicily and Normandy, and became one of the most admired writers of post-war Britain. His first novel, From the City, From the Plough, was acclaimed as the definitive novel of the Second World War, the first of a trilogy including There’s No Home and The Human Kind.

Susie Thomas has taught Baron’s novels for many years and is the reviews editor for The Literary London Journal. Andrew … More