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Black Rock Coalition: Living Colour’s Vernon Reid

Mark Sinker, New Musical Express, 23 April 1988

2005 NOTE: This piece is a mess, though the underlying concept was good, and besides, the whole paper was a mess at this stage. I rather naively expected NME Dep Ed Danny Kelly to help me deploy images and layout to make the most of it – as Chris Bohn had with his Noise issue a couple of year before – but they took the material and bodged it together in ugly and slapdash fashion. I have very fond memories of Danny – a funny, clever man – though the complaint of mine which most irked him still holds: I said he was lazy, and intellectually he was. (Clash fans, eh? What can you do?) Of course using Living Color as the vehicle for the theory here was my laziness: my Young Gods move haha. LC’s first LP was awfly lame, and even on the second – better, bcz so much more boldly prog – they never achieved the extreme information compression and jagged layering I was claiming for ‘Black Rock’. Shannon Jackson was better before LC: rap – grabby for attention – was already taking it a lot further subsequently.

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