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Baker's Dozen

Songs Of Life: Leftfield's Favourite Albums
Dom Smith , October 13th, 2015 09:32

As he continues his UK dates in support of this year's Alternative Light Source, Leftfield's Neil Barnes takes us on a tour of some seminal albums that shaped his music, alongside a few current favourites


Hugh Mundell - Africa Must Be Free By 1983.
This is my favourite reggae record that I picked out. Hugh Mundell is my favourite reggae vocalist. This is a great record because he was 16 years old when he made this record. My absolute favourite track on the album is called 'Why Do Black Men Fuss And Fight'. It's got minimal vocals which go into this big, fighting dub. That's the track that people should hear.

It's like something out of history, this record. Maybe things didn't change, but it's a political record and it was recorded at Joe Gibbs' studio and [Lee "Scratch"] Perry's Black Ark studio and it's got all the best people on it; Robbie Shakespeare and all the rockers all-stars who were responsible for incredible records and grooves.

This is how I got into reggae. These records were what turned me on to that type of groove. That's a massive influence on Leftfield - not on this album, but on early records. He didn't go onto much else, Hugh Mondell, because he was killed in 1983. His life was ended short like so many of those singers, he was murdered, and it's a tragic record as well as an extraordinary record. It's one of my special ones. In this era, with all the singers and the dubs, for me it's just a magic era of reggae. They had a good studio - Lee Perry and other producers were magic at what they did. You hear it on techno now, the effects they're trying to do, Perry was doing that in 1975. It's a special record that I'm happy to share.