Linton Kwesi Johnson – All Wi Doin is Defendin – Lyrics that illustrate the passion on the streets in the Brixton riots

Linton Kwesi Johnson – All Wi Doin is Defendin – Lyrics that illustrate the passion on the streets in the Brixton riots

brixton2

In the 1980s, at the height of the Thatcher years of depression and oppression, the black community in London was suffering more than most. There was widespread unemployment not helped by the institutional racism of the day. The crime rates went through the roof.

At that time there were racist National Front and British Movement thugs on the streets who would attack blacks. The police were considered the enemy. They would hound and arrest black youths on Sus charges (Stop and Search) and were considered racist. It was felt that the police were stopping blacks without cause and treating them without respect. The black community felt threatened and under attack from all sides. There was anger.

There was a terrible fire at a party in New Cross in which killed thirteen black teenagers (another committing suicide later) and which was thought by the black community to be a racist arson attack.

The community was simmering with fury. Passions were high. None of it was helped by the Press who portrayed the situation from the establishment view and did not seem to consider the black community perspective. The flames were being fanned.

The spark was lit through a possible misunderstanding. A youth was stabbed and police went to his aid. The rumour was that the police were killing him or allowing him to die. It set a riot in motion.

Linton Kwesi Johnson was our foremost black poet. He put his poems to reggae music and represented the black voice. He intoned his dramatic words in his rich melliferous voice using patois. The results were stunning. Through his music he became the spokesman for the black community. He logged the emotions and perspective of the besieged people of Brixton.

All We Doin is Defendin
war… war…
mi seh lissen
oppressin man
hear what I say if yu can
wi have
a grevious blow fi blow

wi will fite yu in di street wid we han
wi have a plan
soh lissen man
get ready fi tek some blows

doze days
of di truncheon
an doze nites
of melancholy locked in a cell
doze hours of torture touchin hell
doze blows dat caused my heart to swell
were well
numbered
and are now
at an end

all wi doin
is defendin
soh get yu ready
fi war… war…
freedom is a very firm thing
all oppression
can do is bring
passion to di eights of eruption
an songs of fire wi will sing

no… no…
noh run
yu did soun yu siren
an is war now
war… war…

di Special Patrol
will fall
like a wall force doun
or a toun turn to dus
even dow dem think dem bold
wi know dem cold like ice wid fear
an wi is fire!
choose yu weapon dem
quick!
all wi need is bakkles an bricks an sticks
wi hav fist
wi fav feet
wi carry dandamite in wi teeth

sen fi di riot squad
quick!
cause wi runin wild
wi bittah like bile
blood will guide
their way
an I say
all wi doin
is defendin
soh set yu ready
fi war… war…
freedom is a very fine thing

Linton Kwesi Johnson – Fite Dem Back – Brixton Riots

When I see the white supremacists or KKK marching in the USA, or the British Movement or NeoNazis marching in Europe, it makes me think of this:

Hatred and violence breed hatred and violence. You don’t drive out darkness with more darkness.

Linton is a genius who summed it up in his poetry.

Fite Dem Back – Linton Kwesi Johnson

We gonna smash their brains in
Cause they ain’t got nofink in ’em
We gonna smash their brains in
Cause they ain’t got nofink in ’em

Some a dem say dem a niggah haytah
An’ some a dem say dem a black beatah
Some a dem say dem a black stabbah
An’ some a dem say dem a paki bashah

Fashist an di attack
Noh baddah worry ’bout dat
Fashist an di attack
Wi wi’ fite dem back
Fashist an di attack
Den wi countah-attack
Fashist an di attack
Den wi drive dem back

We gonna smash their brains in
Cause they ain’t got nofink in ’em
We gonna smash their brains in
Cause they ain’t got nofink in ’em

Linton Kwesi Johnson – Five Nights of Bleeding – The Brixton Riots.

Linton was the Brixton Poet who captured the madness and violence of the rioting in Brixton in his reggae epic.

Years of racism and draconian police sus laws resulted in an outburst of anger that set the streets ablaze.

I feel the same fury bubbling with Trump and Brexit fuelling the flames. Once violence breaks out it has a life of its own. Who knows where it goes?

Five Nights of Bleeding – Linton Kwesi Johnson

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

A Linton Kwesi Johnson Day – Reggae’s greatest poet!

The first of Linton’s records that I heard was the magnificent Sonny’s Lettah. A tremendous poem and brilliant reggae song protesting about the use of Sus laws to discriminate against minority groups.

With the albums Dread Beat and Blood and Forces of Victory (two brilliant albums) Linton emerged as a major force in reggae music and a commentator on the riots, and general dissatisfaction in Brixton.

His words, written in patois, were powerful poems that stood in their own right and were published in book form as such. When married to reggae music they assumed a greater power and were stunning. I never get tired of listening to it.

Linton eloquently put the case in forthright manner. His music is revolutionary and captivating. I haven’t heard anything quite as good.

In my book Bob Marley and Linton Kwesi Johnson are head and shoulders above other reggae stars. The only person to stand with them is perhaps Michael Smith who was killed for his pains after just one brilliant album.

Tribute to Rock Genius – Linton Kwesi Johnson

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Linton Kwesi Johnson

Looking more like an Oxford Don than a fiery Reggae Poet Linton Kwesi is none the less a mean dub poet with strong political overtones and an unflinching honesty, integrity and willingness to tell it how it is. He hails from Brixton via Jamaica and took up the cause of the Blacks during the turbulent times of the late seventies and eighties when the National Front took racism on the streets, the police harassed and added to the problem; the result was riots and murder. Where-ever there was injustice, prejudice or conflict Linton was there to chronicle it, put it in verse in Jamaican patois and reveal the cause and effect. It was like having a Black Woody Guthrie with a reggae vibe.

He teamed up with the Reggae producer and musician Dennis Bovell to put his vitriolic couplets to a reggae beat.

Dread Beat and Blood saw Linton fixing on the Brixton discrimination and oppression that led to the Brixton riots. It was very prophetic.  The chilling ‘All Wi Doin is Defendin’, ‘Dread, Beat and Blood’ and ‘Five Nights of Bleeding’ were followed by the even better defiant ‘Forces of Victory’ with its brilliant ‘Sonny’s Lettah (Anti-Sus Poem)’, ‘Fite Dem Back’ and ‘Time Come’. The Bass Culture album was more of the same with ‘Reggae fi Peach’ and ‘Iglan is a Bitch’.

I saw Linton in Hull reading his poetry, standing there in his three-piece suit and spectacles like the University Professor he is. The poetry burned holes in your brain.

We need more like Linton. We need more of that stuff from Linton. Linton where are you? Where is that rich voice of yours?  Where are those words that send the blood coursing through parts of the body usually dry? It’s not just Blacks who feel injustice; we can all feed off your words.

If you are liking my tributes you might like my book. You will find numerous brilliant artists you may never have heard of plus all the familiar ones. Why not find out what I’ve got to say about them?

Opher’s World – Tributes to Rock Genius – Linton Kwesi Johnson

I first heard Linton Kwesi in the 1980s and thought he was incredibly powerful.

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Linton Kwesi Johnson

Looking more like an Oxford Don than a fiery Reggae Poet Linton Kwesi is none the less a mean dub poet with strong political overtones and an unflinching honesty, integrity and willingness to tell it how it is. He hails from Brixton via Jamaica and took up the cause of the Blacks during the turbulent times of the late seventies and eighties when the National Front took racism on the streets, the police harassed and added to the problem; the result was riots and murder. Where-ever there was injustice, prejudice or conflict Linton was there to chronicle it, put it in verse in Jamaican patois and reveal the cause and effect. It was like having a Black Woody Guthrie with a reggae vibe.

He teamed up with the Reggae producer and musician Dennis Bovell to put his vitriolic couplets to a reggae beat.

Dread Beat and Blood saw Linton fixing on the Brixton discrimination and oppression that led to the Brixton riots. It was very prophetic.  The chilling ‘All Wi Doin is Defendin’, ‘Dread, Beat and Blood’ and ‘Five Nights of Bleeding’ were followed by the even better defiant ‘Forces of Victory’ with its brilliant ‘Sonny’s Lettah (Anti-Sus Poem)’, ‘Fite Dem Back’ and ‘Time Come’. The Bass Culture album was more of the same with ‘Reggae fi Peach’ and ‘Iglan is a Bitch’.

I saw Linton in Hull reading his poetry, standing there in his three-piece suit and spectacles like the University Professor he is. The poetry burned holes in your brain.

We need more like Linton. We need more of that stuff from Linton. Linton where are you? Where is that rich voice of yours?  Where are those words that send the blood coursing through parts of the body usually dry? It’s not just Blacks who feel injustice; we can all feed off your words.

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

Linton Kwesi Johnson – All Wi Doin is Defendin – Lyrics that illustrate the passion on the streets in the Brixton riots

brixton brixton2

In the 1980s, at the height of the Thatcher years of depression and oppression, the black community in London was suffering more than most. There was widespread unemployment not helped by the institutional racism of the day. The crime rates went through the roof.

At that time there were racist National Front and British Movement thugs on the streets who would attack blacks. The police were considered the enemy. They would hound and arrest black youths on Sus charges (Stop and Search) and were considered racist. It was felt that the police were stopping blacks without cause and treating them without respect. The black community felt threatened and under attack from all sides. There was anger.

There was a terrible fire at a party in New Cross in which killed thirteen black teenagers (another committing suicide later) and which was thought by the black community to be a racist arson attack.

The community was simmering with fury. Passions were high. None of it was helped by the Press who portrayed the situation from the establishment view and did not seem to consider the black community perspective. The flames were being fanned.

The spark was lit through a possible misunderstanding. A youth was stabbed and police went to his aid. The rumour was that the police were killing him or allowing him to die. It set a riot in motion.

Linton Kwesi Johnson was our foremost black poet. He put his poems to reggae music and represented the black voice. He intoned his dramatic words in his rich melliferous voice using patois. The results were stunning. Through his music he became the spokesman for the black community. He logged the emotions and perspective of the besieged people of Brixton.

All We Doin is Defendin
war… war…
mi seh lissen
oppressin man
hear what I say if yu can
wi have
a grevious blow fi blow

wi will fite yu in di street wid we han
wi have a plan
soh lissen man
get ready fi tek some blows

doze days
of di truncheon
an doze nites
of melancholy locked in a cell
doze hours of torture touchin hell
doze blows dat caused my heart to swell
were well
numbered
and are now
at an end

all wi doin
is defendin
soh get yu ready
fi war… war…
freedom is a very firm thing
all oppression
can do is bring
passion to di eights of eruption
an songs of fire wi will sing

no… no…
noh run
yu did soun yu siren
an is war now
war… war…

di Special Patrol
will fall
like a wall force doun
or a toun turn to dus
even dow dem think dem bold
wi know dem cold like ice wid fear
an wi is fire!
choose yu weapon dem
quick!
all wi need is bakkles an bricks an sticks
wi hav fist
wi fav feet
wi carry dandamite in wi teeth

sen fi di riot squad
quick!
cause wi runin wild
wi bittah like bile
blood will guide
their way
an I say
all wi doin
is defendin
soh set yu ready
fi war… war…
freedom is avery fine thing

Full Song Lyrics: http://www.lyrster.com/lyrics/all-wi-doin-is-defendin-lyrics-linton-kwesi-johnson.html#ixzz3fr8HdxGi
Read more at http://www.lyrster.com/lyrics/all-wi-doin-is-defendin-lyrics-linton-kwesi-johnson.html#uSkqIh73XeUfRAqy.99

Linton Kwesi Johnson – Sonny’s Lettah (Anti-Sus Poem) Brilliant lyrics concerning racism.

Linton Kwesi

In the 1980s there was a lot of racism in Britain. We had attacks on the Black community by the National Front, riots in Brixton and harassment by the police.

Black youths would be systematically picked up by the police, insulted and treated poorly. It caused a seething anger and distrust of the establishment. The Sus laws have since been scrapped. Nobody can be arrested on suspicion anymore. There has to be good grounds. Tensions have eased and racism has found new targets.

Linton Kwesi Johnson was a giant of a poet. He set out the song in the form of a letter home to his mother in Jamaica. He summarised the problem in these brilliant words:

Sonny’s Lettah (Anti-Sus poem)

From Brixton Prison, Jebb Avenue London S. W. 2 Inglan
Dear mama
Good day
I hope that when these few lines reach you they may
Find you in the best of health
I doun know how to tell ya this
For I did mek a solemn promise
To tek care a lickle Jim
An try mi bes fi look out fi him

Mama, I really did try mi bes
But none a di less
Sorry fi tell ya seh, poor lickle Jim get arres
It was de miggle a di rush hour
Hevrybody jus a hustle and a bustle
To go home fi dem evenin shower
Mi an Jim stan up waitin pon a bus
Not causin no fuss

When all of a sudden a police van pull up
Out jump tree policemen
De whole a dem carryin baton
Dem walk straight up to me and Jim
One a dem hold on to Jim
Seh dem tekin him in
Jim tell him fi leggo a him
For him nah do nutt’n
And ‘I’m nah t’ief, not even a but’n
Jim start to wriggle
De police start to giggle

Mama, mek I tell you wa dem do to Jim?
Mek I tell you wa dem do to ‘I’m?

Dem thump him him in him belly and it turn to jelly
Dem lick ‘I’m pon ‘I’m back and ‘I’m rib get pop
Dem thump him pon him head but it tough like lead
Dem kick ‘I’m in ‘I’m seed and it started to bleed

Mama, I jus couldn’t stan up deh, nah do nuttin’

So mi jook one in him eye and him started fi cry
Me thump him pon him mout and him started fi shout
Me kick him pon him shin so him started fi spin
Me hit him pon him chin an him drop pon a bin
– an crash, an dead

More policman come dung
Dem beat me to the grung
Dem charge Jim fi sus
Dem charge mi fi murdah

Mama, doan fret
Doan get depress an downhearted
Be of good courage

Your loving son – Sonny