Monday, 22 March 2010

Iron Lady

"The Iron Lady she no easy ..." When the media draws up its list of anti-Thatcher songs it's made up of the usual suspects. You don't see UK reggae tracks like Macka B's Get Rid Of Maggie on it, for example. Or Iron Lady by Demon Rockers, an early incarnation of the Ragga Twins, which covers an impressive array of subjects such as money spent on nuclear weapons, housing conditions for the poor, unemployment, police harrasment, the death of Colin Roach, and how these issues impact particularly on places like their own Hackney. The rough house masters Flinty Badman and Deman Rockers were graduates of Unity (the sound system rather than the theatre ... you need the Honest Jons collection Watch How The People Dancing). As the Ragga Twins they released a string of classic singles in the early '90s, such as Wipe The Needle and Hooligan 69, as well as the LP, Reggae Owes Me Money. Soul Jazz has issued an essential round-up of the Twins' finest moments, including a couple of bonus Demon Rockers tracks. The Twins were the first signing to Shut Up And Dance's label, and the set-up would produce some of the best music ever from the UK with its mess of dancehall, hip hop, house and anything else they felt worth 'alf inching. The names a bit of a red herring too, as they did anything but shut up, covering some of the thorniest issues of the day, from hard drugs to homelessness to admission policies. Tracks like Shut Up And Dance's own Save it Till The Mourning After and the remarkable Nicolette's Waking Up still sound magnificent ...


  1. Great post!
    I remember seeing Nicolette (from the 'Shut up and Dance'label) at 'World Party' - Britian's first 'legal' rave in 1991!
    'Wake you Up' was supposed to have a double entendre I think! The other side to the 12" 'Single Minded People' was also good. I found the singer(s) had a kind of Ella Fitzgerald quality to their voices. Similar to Sky from Morcheeba or Erika Badu??
    On London songs - you probably have posted 'Vauxhall to Lambeth Bridge' by Brian Auger and Julie Driscol already? - wonderful tune!

  2. Thanks Budd. I am a huge fan of Nicolette. I think it's criminal she's not more celebrated. And yes Vauxhall to Lambeth Bridge - that's one of the songs that prompted me tostart all this! Really evocative.