Forces of Victory - Linton Kwesi Johnson

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Forces of Victory - Linton Kwesi Johnson

1 CD(s) - Roots Reggae - Label: Polygram, Reggae Refreshers - Distributor: Active Media/Universal Music, Universal Music - Released: 01/09/1991, 09/19...

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Review of "Forces of Victory - Linton Kwesi Johnson"

published 04/12/2005 | mo79
Member since : 18/10/2002
Reviews : 32
Members who trust : 11
About me :
Pro Unaged and powerful poetry, beautiful music and production, memorable artwork
Cons Short
very helpful
Quality and consistency of tracks
Cover / Inlay Design and Content
Value for Money

"Statement of Intent"

While the years may have changed the subjects which ache Linton Kwesi Johnson haven't.
Neither has Linton, thankfully.

Inspired by the poetry of the Bible - the only book in his grandmother's house in Jamaica, whom he had lived with until moving to Brixton at the age of 11 to be with his mother -, Linton decided at an early age to be a writer.
The tense political climate of the time naturally guided a proud and enthusiastic boy to his subject of choice.

For over 30yrs Linton has been writing and performing powerful poetry, taking it to all corners of the globe by distribution or in person.
Later softer works would be dedicated to family, friends and life in general. His output of late might not be as frequent but that's only because Linton believes in quality control; he never churns. It has always come from the soul.

Though primarily a print figure, it wasn't surprising that he'd marry his rhythmic Jamaican creole to the sounds of reggae. He's a powerful enough writer and orator on his own, but the addition of bass heavy music adds lead into his boxing gloves.

Linton's years with Island were the most successful and fertile, Forces Of Victory being the defining moment of that period.
Though barely half an hour in length, each of the 8 tracks deliver a powerful message within some seriously high quality music.

Though not a singer, his mesmerising monotone delivery commands your attention. And it's not just how he's saying things, it's what he's saying. The respected producer and bassist Dennis Bovell and band's music punctuates and draws emphasis in familiar Dub style; the echoing percussion and keys alongside stray sound effects, rhythm guitar skanks and horns.
The production is neither bloated or under produced. It's warm and raw enough to appear human but carries enough evidence of attention to detail.

His words document and mobilise the anger felt by black and other ethic minorities in the feverish late 70's and early 80's. His words remain relevant in that although these struggles are less visible, they are still there; perhaps even worse.

On the first two tracks Linton unapologetically defends the behaviour of modern youth in a country which presents very little opportunity, regardless of background. Sonny's Lettah (Anti-Sus Poem) is perhaps the most haunting track on the album; the eery harmonica definitely heightens the sense of despair as Linton recounts a tale in which a young black man accidentally kills a police officer and ends up in jail for murder upon sticking up for a friend. The 'sus' of the title refers to the 1960's law whereby police officers were virtually indiscriminately allowed to single out black persons.

Independent Intavenshan takes pot shots at the inadequacies of many political groups. The title was also used for an Island anthology that features all FOV tracks (including dub instrumental versions) and more plus extensive sleeve notes, representing a more value for money purchase.

Fite Dem Back is a direct call to arms against pea-brained racists followed by Reality Poem's wake up call to face up to the here and now.
Nearly-title track Forces Of Viktry is yet another liberation anthem featuring the line "den all a wi jus fahwod up to Not'n' Hill Gate" - notice the style which sounds just the same as it's spoken. Time Come drifts us out with a suitable warning that the higher the oppression the greater the aggression.

The artwork for the album couldn't be more apt: a spotlighted radio mic with the initials LKJ within a deep black background...This man has something to say and you're well advised to listen.

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Comments on this review

  • Hoethir published 26/12/2005
    An excellent review with a very good structure. -=- Hoethir -=-
  • sghawken published 04/12/2005
    Not my cup of tea, but a well thought out review - Spence
  • PrincessLeb published 04/12/2005
    Exceptional review. A really enjoyable read. Sarah x
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Product Information : Forces of Victory - Linton Kwesi Johnson

Manufacturer's product description

1 CD(s) - Roots Reggae - Label: Polygram, Reggae Refreshers - Distributor: Active Media/Universal Music, Universal Music - Released: 01/09/1991, 09/1991 - 731451006920

Product Details

EAN: 731451006920


Listed on Ciao since: 28/10/2011