Linton Kwesi Johnson – Five Nights of Bleedin – lyrics about the Brixton riots of the 1980s.

Linton-Kwesi-Johnson-copy1 Linton Kwesi

Linton was more than a poet, he was a commentator on the social situation in the black community in London.

Linton used his words like weapons. He described the passions and provided insight into the emotions. His words were a searchlight that illuminated what was going on.

The patois he used with that resonant voice connected straight to the heart. He was telling the story from the inside and you could feel it.

I saw Linton perform in Hull. He was brilliant. He recited his poems in that unmistakeable voice that sent shivers through you. I was expected a reggae band. I was expecting a wild rebel. I got Linton in a three-piece tweed suit, round glasses and hat looking for all the world like an Oxford professor. His words were far from scholarly, though imbued with skill, and ripped the air like bullets.

I was not disappointed.

Five Nights of Bleedin’

Madness, madness
Madness tight on the heads of the rebels
The bitterness erup’s like a heart blas’
Broke glass, ritual of blood an’ a-burnin’
Served by a cruelin’ fighting
5 nights of horror and of bleeding
Broke glass, cold blades as sharp as the eyes of hate
And the stabbin’, it’s
War amongs’ the rebels
Madness, madness, war

Night number one was in Brixton
Sofrano B sound system
‘im was a-beatin’ up the riddim with a fire
‘im comin’ down his reggae reggae wire
It was a sound checkin’ down your spinal column
A bad music tearin’ up your flesh
An’ the rebels dem start a fighting
De youth dem just tun wild, it’s
War amongs’ the rebels
Madness, madness, war

Night number two down at Sheppard’s
Right up Railton road
It was a night name friday when ev’ryone was high on brew or drew(?)
A pound or two worth of Kali
Sound comin’ down of the king’s music iron
The riddim just bubblin’ an’ backfirin’
Ragin’ an’ risin’
When suddenly the music cut –
Steelblade drinkin’ blood in darkness, it’s
War amongs’ the rebels
Madness, madness, war

Night number three, over the river
Right outside the Rainbow
Inside James Brown was screamin soul
Outside the rebels were freezin’ cold
Babylonian tyrants descended
Bounced on the brothers who were bold
So with a flick of the wris’, a jab and a stab
The song of hate was sounded
The pile of oppression was vomited
And two policemen wounded
Righteous, righteous war

Night number four at the blues dance, abuse dance
Two rooms packed and the pressure pushin’ up
Hot, hotheads
Ritual of blood in the blues dance
Broke glass splintering, fire
Axes, blades, brain blas’
Rebellion rushin’ down the wrong road
Storm blowin’ down the wrong tree
And Leroy bleeds near death on the fourth night
In a blues dance, on a black rebellious night, it’s
War amongs’ the rebels
Madness, madness, war

Night number five at the telegraph
Vengeance walk thru de doors
So slow, so smooth
So tight and ripe and -smash!
Broke glass, a bottle finds a head
And the shell of the fire heard -crack!
The victim feels fear
Finds hands, holds knife, finds throat
Oh, the stabbins and the bleedin’ and the blood, it’s
War amongs’ the rebels
Madness, madness, war

Read more: Linton Kwesi Johnson – Five Nights Of Bleeding Lyrics | MetroLyrics