I first heard ‘Them a Laugh and a Kiki Kiki’ (or ‘Dem a Laugh and a Kiki Kiki’) on my way in to a youth club in St George in Bristol in 1970. 15 years old. It it me in the the face, the ears, made the skin on the back of my neck go hot, cold, shiver up and down.
I had no idea music could sound like this. I huge clanging, kerchanging rhythm, heavy with bass and just designed to make you dance. No idea what the lyrics were about (still don’t) just know this was a joyous sound and I wanted to hear more and more.
My peripheral vision caught the LP sleeve “Tighten Up”. I wanted it, o how I wanted it but I was broke and so was my family and anyhow, my stepfather hated buying clothes for school so how was I going to convince him that he should spend 14/6 (that 14 shillings and sixpence old money or 62p) on an album full of music from Jamaica. By black guys. Singing in patois.
This was the one that started the addiction. More to follow.