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Baker's Dozen

On Her Radio: Pauline Black's 13 Favourite Albums
The Quietus , November 22nd, 2017 12:17

The Selecter leader and one of 2 Tone's most formidable figures takes Lois Wilson from Jimmy Cliff to Björk in this list of the LPs that shaped her


Bunny Wailer - Blackheart Man

Lawton Brown introduced me to a bunch of records; Third World’s 96 Degrees In The Shade, Culture’s Two Sevens Clash, The Last Poets’ ‘Wake Up, Niggers’, which made me realise the possibilities in songwriting, that you could be that forthright. Lawton also took me to see Hardtop 22, a local band formed by Charley Anderson, a tall, slim Rasta modelled on Bob Marley. Charley was a local hero and became the bass player in The Selecter. Gaps Anderson was in the band too and he became my co-vocalist in The Selecter. Lawton also played me Bunny Wailer’s Blackheart Man. He suggested we try and play ‘Bide Up’. We gave it quite a few goes but we never managed to nail it, but somehow it metamorphosized into ‘They Make Me Mad’, a song which we did on The Selecter’s first album.

Every black person in the UK was trying on conscious reggae at the time. We were thinking, ‘Should we lock our hair or should we do this or do that? Should we be into Steel Pulse or was that too British?’ We’d all seen Marley when he came over and there was something in Blackheart Man that I latched onto. Outside of Marley, it was my first introduction into conscious reggae storytelling.