Friday, May 1, 2009

Steel Pulse - British Reggae Legends

Steel Pulse are one of Britain's best known and loved reggae bands. They are rivalled only by Aswad in terms of creative and commercial success. The band started out in the mid 70's playing roots style reggae with touches of jazz and Latin music thrown in. In 1978 they released their excellent debut album, Handsworth Revolution, which is regarded by many critics as a landmark and a high point of British reggae, and also earned them a substantial audience among white U.K. punks as well, with its strong messages of protest and defiance. As the '80s dawned, slick synthesizers and elements of dance and urban R&B gradually crept into their sound, although their subject matter stayed on the militant side. By the late '80s, Steel Pulse had won a Grammy and were working full-fledged crossover territory, but for some reason never really reached the same degree of commercial acceptance as Aswad or Inner Circle. They subsequently returned to a tough-minded, rootsy sound that nonetheless made concessions to contemporary trends with touches of dancehall and hip-hop.

They were formed in 1975 at Handsworth Wood Boys School, in Birmingham, England, by schoolmates David Hinds (the primary songwriter as well as the lead singer and guitarist), Basil Gabbidon (guitar), and Ronnie "Stepper" McQueen (bass). All of them came from poor West Indian immigrant families, and none had much musical experience. They took some time to improve their technical proficiency, often on Rasta-slanted material by Bob Marley and Burning Spear. McQueen suggested the group name, after a racehorse, and they soon fleshed out the lineup with drummer Steve "Grizzly" Nisbett, keyboardist/vocalist Selwyn "Bumbo" Brown, percussionist/vocalist Alphonso "Fonso" Martin, and vocalist Michael Riley.

The band has experinced many highs and lows since their formation, with a fair few line up changes along the way. They can however still be found out on the road and are indeed playing at venues across the US and at the O2 Shepherds Bush Empire on the 27th of this Month according to their website, although I can't find any details on tickets?

If you are interested in finding out more of on the legends that are Steel Pulse then check this absolutely wicked web site for all sorts of member biographies, band history, interviews, photos and much, much more!


1 comment:

Andy Brouwer said...

hey thanks for plugging Steel Pulse and my website. Much appreciated.
Peace. Andy Brouwer