The usual divide in my school between the soul boys, the reggae kids, the pop fans, and the punks mostly dissolved when it came to Lover’s Rock. Everyone seemed to like it because it was melodic and soulful but also had the street cred of reggae. And girls loved it too, which was another reason for boys to like it.
All of which made the magnificent “Silly Games” about the most popular and loved record ever in my school and estate because it’s probably the best Lover’s Rock record ever made.
If you read the NME in the late 70s you’re probably familiar with the work of photographer Dennis Morris who, along with the likes of Pennie Smith and Anton Corbijn, took some of the most iconic pictures of the era — he also designed the famous tin-can packaging of Metal Box.
Morris was a black kid from Hackney which was something of a rarity in the world of pro photography at the time (being black that is, not coming from Hackney) and his personal work is collected in a new book called Growing Up Black which captures the lives of black people in London in the 1970s: the politics, the churches, the street life, and the sound systems.
It’s a bit pricey for my wallet (300 quid!) but there’s a nice gallery of photos from it here.
This is a fantastic cover of the Syl Johnson song which I think I prefer to the original, Ken Boothe’s vocal on it just kills me. From the album Darker Than Blue which is a must-have compilation if you likes the reggae music (and pretty bloody expensive now too it seems).