England’s legendary punky reggae filmmaker Don Letts on Midnight Dread October 5th, 1980

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Fresh from two weeks of filming Lee Perry for Island Records and in San Francisco scouting possible locations for his ‘political satire’ modern western “Dread At The Control” with mini-cabs instead of horses, foundational 1970s music filmmaker Don Letts visits Midnight Dread to reason on his films & the UK scene. Don was the original legendary DJ around 1977 at London’s Roxy Club where he shot Super 8mm films of many acts some of which became fodder for his widely distributed “The Punk Rock Movie” followed by “Rankin” featuring reggae-fied artists. The last two years Letts upgraded to 16mm as he worked closely with The Clash producing both their “London Calling” and “Bank Robber” promotional videos as well as documenting their White Riot Tour with The Slits, a fantastic female rock reggae group Don managed & engineered. Don mentioned his JA father’s UK sound system as instrumental in his love for Jamaican music. Letts plays several pre-release tracks off an advanced cassette he brought over from England including the first ever play of General Echo. The conversation moves on to many other English music movies and when asked about the plethora of UK reggae groups selects Aswad as the one currently “carrying the swing”:

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Midnight Dread’s first show at the start of its second year on air begins with its first airing of the amazing dub side of Stevie Wonder’s “Masterblaster (Jammin’)”, his Hotter Than July 45 which has just broken into the US Top Ten singles charts this week. It’s followed by Bob Marley’s “Jammin” foreshadowing the hoped for shortly upcoming Wonder/Marley tour finales. An ad for “Rude Boy” the Michael White movie on The Clash airs during one voice break. Bunny Wailer’s new 45 “Cease Fire” gets all skippy from the shrapnel in the air. Don Letts also refers to recent shoots he did for Black Uhuru for a 90 minute film centered around their recent concert in Jamaica at Zinc Fence and their life there as well as an hour on Toots & The Maytals. He also reveals that Creation Rebel’s Starship Africa lp is not an actual soundtrack as it says on its cover but merely wild sounds looking for the capital to make a movie around. A finished film called Babylon stars Brinsley Forde from Aswad while showcasing about their best instrumental ever, the flim’s fiery “Warrior Charge” featuring heavy horns men Tromie & Bami:

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Dreadcasting over the air since 1979 & online since 1996 dreader 21st Century Midnight Dread programs air daily at 12am including replays often heard in his Best of All Worlds high noon slot and where one can also become conscious at 6am with the indigenous sounds of Native Son Rising, all curated by Doug everyday, all times Pacific. Many more Midnight Dread sights & sounds here and on this blog’s Midnight Dread page. Go deh. All of dem.

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