This story is too good not to tell and I also wanted to justify the amount of reggae on this blog.
We have to go back to 1983, I was 10 at the time. My father had a new job and was commuting for an hour or so to his job. That is quite long in the Netherlands so we decided to move. My parents put our house up for sale and we started to look for a new house. These separate things need to be a bit coordinated but weren't in our case: our old house was sold without us haven't found a new home.
It seemed sensible to my parents to stay where we were so my brother (3 1/2 years younger) and I could stay at our old school. We had to leave our old house but found temporarily shelter in a vacantion-house nearby. That house was a summer house, rented out for short periods only and certainly not made for occupation during winter. We on the other hand were not fortunate in finding a new house. Eventually we stayed in that bungalow for over 6 months, through the winter.
It was small, a living room with gas heater, 2 bedrooms, toilet and shower. All our belongings were in storage apart from the most essential stuff. No TV for example and only a radio/cassette player (my little Audio Sonic :-D ). No tapes though. In the midst of winter you'd see frost on our blankets in the morning. One would run to the shower to switch it on while the rest of the family stood shivering around the heater. Taking turns we'd run to the shower, showered quickly and run back to get dressed. Because, to make matters worse, it was a particulary cold winter.
One morning I walked to the busstop to go to school. In about 10 centimeters of snow I found a cassette-tape. It was a pre-recorded tape, the print was unreadable and my best guess is that somebody chucked it out of a carwindow. I took it with me and that afternoon when I came home it was the first time that I listened to it. That tape changed my life.
With no other tapes to listen to (in storage) this tape got played a lot. And I mean really a lot. We'd all be sitting around the gas-heater and listening to that tape, it was my first real encounter with reggae music. I'd probably heard it before but this was the first time to 'study' it. None of this would have mattered much if it wasn't for the type of reggae. In stead of a friendly introductory course we dove headfirst into the heavy Lee Perry stuff. No 'Ooh I like UB40 let's check out some more' but tunes from outer-space that sounded nothing like any other music I'd heard to that date.
I'd nothing to go on from that tape, no case and the lettering was all faded. It took me years to piece together what we were listening to then. And since the taped selfdestructed after a while I'll probably never fully reconstruct what it was that opened my eyes. That's me and reggae. My little brother is equally weird but has a thing for dub.
Some tracks on that tape: Upsetters - Roast Fish and Corn Bread; Max Romeo - War In A Babylon; Junior Murvin - Police and Thieves; Burning Spear - Old Marcus Garvey; Upsetters - Bird In Hand, The Wailers - 400 years
I hope this explains something. I'll up some reggae but it'll be 'occasionally', not this organised bombardment. For dreads and more you've to check my favorite 'pardners': Schrikdraad
and Distinctly Jamaican Sounds