BOOTS, BRACES BOSS REGGAE
An area of reggae collecting that remains massive is the sounds favoured by skinheads. Michael de Koningh presents his personal pick of collectables you can moonstomp to
Man landed on the moon in 1969, sparking awe worldwide. In the same year, skinheads landed in the British national consciousness, sparking fear and loathing as the newspapers talked-up the latest youth cult into the biggest threat since the Luftwaffe. This mob of mostly working-class males wore braces, half-mast trousers, heavy boots (for doing a topically-named dance called the moon hop or moonstomp, claimed some records), and sported fearsome cropped hair.
Much of the style was adapted from that of the Caribbean teenagers many skinheads mixed with. They also took a great liking to their music. Mods enjoyed Prince Buster-type ska, but their young brothers went deeper into the new sound from Jamaica – reggae.
Desmond Dekker’s immortal Israelites was proof that a humble reggae tune could penetrate the pop charts, which alerted the little reggae labels that they could make it with luck – and that luck happened to be the purchasing power of skinheads. The patronage of these kids pushed obscure records such as Young Gifted And Black and Liquidator out of the youth clubs and into the pop charts. By forcing high-street shops to stock reggae, they widened the music’s exposure and soon all and sundry were buying 45s on colourful labels such as Punch, Escort and Trojan. But by 1972 it was over. The cropped hair was grown out, …
by Michael de Koningh
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