A year of lockdown music

Dave Randall looks back at his Blog Albums of the Week, tracing sadness, rage and creativity

During this year’s lockdowns I had the pleasure of selecting our Brixton Blog albums of the week – works of musical merit with a local connection that I hoped you might enjoy exploring.

There have been 16, which means we’ve been in lockdown for at least a third of 2020.

Looking back at the selections (listed below), they trace the contours of this strangest of years.

There are moments of great sadness: I chose Ty’s Work Of Heart in May after hearing the tragic news that the Brixton rapper had died in hospital from pneumonia having contracted Covid-19.

There are moments of collective rage: Following the murder of George Floyd, Dread Beat an’ Blood by Linton Kwesi Johnson (Poet And The Roots) served to remind us that racism and police brutality have blighted lives in Brixton for many decades.

On a positive note, creativity continued.

We saw new releases from Brixton (or hereabouts) artists Soothsayers, Shingai and Slovo.

Other notable releases this year from local artists included Errol Linton’s fabulous blues album No Entry and rapper Breis’ EP Arise & Shine which is, in my opinion, his best work yet.

Both received features of their own on the Brixton Blog:

Errol Linton

Breis

The album of the week series began in April with alt-rockers black midi, so it seems fitting that I end the year by making mention of them again …

As if 2020 wasn’t already weird enough, the band have recorded two Christmas classics – Jingle Bell Rock and Stevie Wonder’s What Christmas Means to Me – in aid of the ongoing campaign to save the Windmill.

Both tracks can be downloaded for free, but any donations will help save the legendary local venue.

Safe, music-filled and happy holidays to all.

The albums of the week 2020 in order of appearance on the blog …

🎧 Schlagenheim by black midi

🎧 The Healing by BCUC

🎧 Percussion Bitter Sweet by Max Roach

🎧 Live At The Windmill by Various Artists

🎧 A Work Of Heart by Ty

🎧 Sistahs by Big Joanie

🎧 Treasures Untold by Tom Brosseau

🎧 Dread Beat an’ Blood by Linton Kwesi Johnson (Poet And The Roots)

🎧 Old Wow by Sam Lee

🎧 Funky Kingston by Toots and the Maytals

🎧 Rapture by Koffee

🎧 Bread & Butterflies by Slovo 

🎧 Data X Change by Syd Nukuluk

🎧 Shotgun by Junior Walker & The All Stars

🎧 Too Bold by Shingai

🎧 We Are Many by Soothsayers

Dave Randall is a musician and author of Sound System: The Political Power of Music

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