If the roles were reversed, and a load of Yorkshire folk found themselves emigrating to the Caribbean it’s pretty hard to imagine they’d have had as deep and long lasting a musical impact as the Sound Systems have had on these fair isles.
Though the beautiful bass driven melodies of reggae are now so firmly embedded in British culture that it gets a (double) name check on one of our most popular condiments things weren’t always that way. The Windrush generation and those that followed not only helped British industry get back on it’s feet after the war but also taught us how to get together and celebrate in proper style via the life-affirming sound systems. The best record player you could get your hands on, the biggest bass shaking speakers, a clued up selector, a bottle or two of rum, a big bag of sensei and some like minded souls were all the ingredients needed to bring a bit of yard back to Yorkshire. By the late 1970s and throughout the 80s the combined skills of various talented carpenters, electricians and musicians in Huddersfield had turned what started out purely as remedy for homesickness and xenophobic berks into a must stop destination for world famous artists and reggae fans alike. Just like Al Fingers previous book for One Love (Clarks in Jamaica) Sound System Culture: Celebrating Huddersfield’s Sound Systems provides a well researched and enthralling history of a unique Anglo-Caribbean culture clash alongside some brilliant photos and quotes from the key players. If you love reggae as much as me then I can’t recommend this book highly enough and if you don’t like reggae then you need to go to Huddersfield and sort your head out bredren. Buy it HERE.