Steel An' Skin Reggae Is Here Once Again

Steel an’ Skin formed as a cultural project composed of Africans and Caribbeans in Britain, bringing the sounds of African diasporic culture to young Britons of all ages in order to fight the upsurge in racism in the late ’70s. Their mission is explained very explicitly by front-man Peter Blackman on the incredible DVD documentary included in this package. The doc is the main reason to buy this collection: grim streetscapes of British inner cities contrast with joyous scenes of little white kids jumping up and participating in the irresistible grooves. As for the music, there’s one main reason to buy this: the superlative "Afro Punk Reggae (Dub).” This smoking dub mix is basically LCD Soundsystem with steel drums; it’s utterly contemporary despite having been recorded in 1979 and one of those magic tracks that gets everyone out on the floor. The other tunes are nice, especially a steelpan version of Sonny Okuson’s massive African reggae hit "Fire In Soweto” and the bonus track "Acid Rain” from 1984. Although the quantity of music is slight, the overall package is well worth buying. (EM)