Monday, February 9, 2015

Peter Laughner reviews The Harder They Come OST (1973)/"Oosh so sweet and dandy!"

I have written here about the appeal of reggae in real time during the proto-punk era as an aural and cultural signifier. In Richard Hell’s most excellent memoir I Dreamed I Was a Very Clean Tramp (Harper Collins, New York, 2013), he outlined the “basic” disagreement between himself and Robert Quine over reggae. Put simply, he stated: "[Bob's] aversion to reggae was especially mysterious, since that music is so wacky and homemade, the way Bob liked recordings, and Bob liked a lot of New Orleans rock and roll, and reggae comes out of a New Orleans beat. I think maybe these gaps of his came from being so guitar or solo oriented, which reggae and Dylan and country music and punk aren't." Here is a quick take on Peter Laughner's thinking circa 1973. While he identifies correctly the "slightly crazed rawness" (c.f. Hell's on-point "wacky and homemade" articulation), his offhand dismissal of social consciousness in popular music and its supposed deleterious effect on the "rawness" of diasporic music (both in the US and JA) was subsequently disproved by the entire roots era. Laughner couldn't have predicted the rise of roots and culture from CLE though his radar was attuned to it by his early championing (rightly so) of the original Wailers. These days I have to flip a coin as to whether Rockers (Bafaloukos, 1978) or The Harder They Come is the ultimate 1970's reggae film - though again they represent two very different eras of JA music. Also enjoy Keef's take on the insta classic b-side of his 1978 Christmas single, "Run Rudolph Run." Jack and Anjelica supplying photographic evidence that the soundtrack was ubiquitous in discerning households!:

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