Tuesday, April 27, 2010

"They Killed Blair Peach, The Teacher..."

Blair Peach, of New Zealand, before his death in 1979.
A report finally released today, after more than 30 years, reveals that Blair Peach was "most likely" killed by a blow to the head from a police officer in the Special Patrol Group (SPG), an elite riot squad, during a demonstration against the National Front in London in April 1979.  
At the time, an inquest returned a verdict of "death by misadventure." The officer responsible for Peach's death has never been identified... due to insufficient evidence.
Reggae devotees already knew this, because Linton Kwesi Johnson wrote a song about the incident called Reggae Fi Peach.  It was released on his Bass Culture LP in 1980 and any time it gets played, Peach's story gets retold.  So let's hear it again today, shall we?
The Snark playlist for Tuesday, April 27, 2010
(Artist/SONG/Album, etc.)
The Clancy Bros. & Tommy Makem -- HAUL AWAY JOE -- The Clancy Bros. & Tommy Makem In Person At Carnegie Hall (1991, Sony) [orig. 1963]
Stiff Little Fingers -- JOHNNY WAS -- Inflammable Material (2005, Restless Records) [orig.1979]
Linton Kwesi Johnson -- REGGAE FI PEACH -- Bass Culture (1980, Island)
The Dishrags -- CARRY ON -- Love/Hate (1997, Other People's Music) [orig. 1979]
Mr. Chop -- GOOD LIFE –- For Pete’s Sake (2009, Stones Throw Records)
The Shangri-Las -- IT'S EASIER TO CRY -- Myrmidons Of Melodrama: 1963-66 (2002, RPM Records UK)
Citywide Vacuum -- BLIND INSIGHT -- Pact (2007, Eleven37) 
Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings -- BETTER THINGS TO DO -- I Learned The Hard Way (2010, Daptone)
Balkan Beat Box -- LIJEPA MARE -- Blue Eyed Black Boy (2010, Nat Geo Music)
The Swamp Rats -- LOUIE LOUIE -- Lux & Ivy’s Favourites (1966, St. Clair Records)
!!! -- HEART OF HEARTHS (mix) -- Myth Takes (2007, Warp)
The Schomberg Fair -- TALL GRASS -- Gospel (2009, Hi-Hat Recordings)
Liliput/Kleenex -- THE JATZ -- LiLiPUT/Kleenex: 1978-83 (2001, Kill Rock Stars)
Caetano Veloso -- SEM CAIS -- Zii e Zie (2010, Nonesuch)
Language-Arts -- LIGHTHOUSE (2010, Language-Arts)
Solomon Burke – STUPIDITY -- Atlantic Gold: 100 Soul Classics (Rhino/Atlantic, 2009)[orig.1963]
Adrian Sherwood -- ALL HANDS ON DESK -- Becoming A Cliché (2006, EMI)
Rent Boys Inc. -- PRESTER JOHN -- Squeal For Joy (1983, Rent Boys Inc.)
Deadbeat -- REFUND ME -- Journeyman’s Annual (2007, Scape)
Harry Beckett -- SOMETHING SPECIAL -- The Modern Sound of Harry Beckett (2008, ON-U Sound)
Cougarettes -- EGO HEAD -- Milk Fangs (2010, Cougarettes)

Thanks for listening!

There are a few different versions of Stiff Little Fingers doing the Bob Marley song Johnny Was, but the 8 minute mini-epic on Inflammable Material tops the list.  Jake Burns on vocals!  Yes!

Squealing for joy to hear them Rent Boys Inc. again.  Thanks to Pat for loan of the vinyl.

And thanks to Doug for The Guardian link to the Blair Peach story.  Please click on this week's blog title to read more at guardian.co.uk, OK?


  1. When I first read the title of this blog entry, I immediately thought of the Pop Group song "Justice", in which Mark Stewart screams "...who killed Blair Peach!", so I assumed that that song was the one being snarkified. I mean, how many songs mention Blair Peach? The answer, I guess, is at least two. Find three more and we have a Jeopardy category.

    btw...I've only ever heard the dub version of the LKJ song, so this was a double epiphany!

  2. The SnarkMay 06, 2010

    Well, "Jah War" by The Ruts is about that same demonstration against the National Front in Southall, London, 1979. Blair Peach isn't mentioned. Instead, The Ruts shout out to their friend Clarence Baker (out of Misty in Roots), who was badly beaten by the SPG that day.

    Couldn't resist playing "Jah War" on May 4...