Music and British Identity: Steel Pulse


Primary members: David Hinds, Basil Gabbidon, Ronnie "Stepper" McQueen, Steve "Grizzly" Nisbett, Selwyn "Bumbo" Brown, Alphonso "Fonso" Martin, and Michael Riley
Band Biography
Albums of focus: Handsworth Revolution (1978)
Songs for study: "Ku Klux Klan," "Handsworth Revolution," "Bad Man"

From Handsworth Revolution:
  1. "Ku Klux Klan"
  2. "Handsworth Revolution"
  3. "Bad Man"

"Ku Klux Klan" - Live, London (1980); from Handsworth Revolution (1978)

Walking along just kicking stones
Minding my own business
I come face to face, with my foe
Disguised in violence from head to toe

I holla and I bawl
Ku Klux Klan
But dem naw let me go now
Ku Klux Klan
To let me go was not dem intention
Dem seh:
One nigger the less,
The better for the show;
Stand strong black skin and take your blow

It's the Ku, the Ku Klux Klan
Here to stamp out blackman yah
The Ku, the Ku Klux Klan, heh!

To be taught a lesson not to walk alone
I was waiting for the Good Samaritan
But waiting was hopeless
It was all in vain
The Ku Klux Klan back again

I holla and I bawl
Ku Klux Klan
Dem naw let me go now
Dem seh:
One nigger the less,
The better the show;
Stand strong blackskin and take your blow

The Ku, Ku Klux Klan
Rape, lynch, kill and maim
Things can't remain the same, yah no!

Blackman, do unto the Klan
As they would do to you
In this case, Hate they neighbour
Those cowards only kill who they fear
That's why they hide behind
The hoods and cloaks they wear

I holla and I bawl, Ku Klux Klan
Dem naw let me go no,
Ku Klux Klan
Oh no, oh no...
Ku Klux Klan
Here to stamp out black man yah
Rape, lynch, kill and maim
Things can't remain the same yah
No, no, no, no.

Here, here, here, everywhere

 

"Handsworth Revolution" - from Handsworth Revolution (1978)

I say the people of Handsworth, know that
One hand wash the other so they say
So let's join hands my bredren
Make the way for our children
(our children, our children)
And their children
(their children, their children)
Ensuring that they get life's fair share of...
Equality...

Doesn't justice stand for all
Doesn't justice stand for all
Doesn't justice stand for all mankind
We find society putting us down
Crowning us, crowning us, crowning us
A place of Evil, OH, OH
Handsworth means us the Black People
Handsworth means us the Black People
We're talking now
Speaking Jah Jah language!

It's a long, long way we're coming from
To send this message across, across
It's been hidden, forbidden, concealed, unrevealed
It's got to come out
In the open that
BABYLON IS FALLING
BABYLON IS FALLING

It was foolish to build it on the sand
Handsworth shall stand firm,
like Jah rock, fighting back

We once beggars are now choosers
No intention to be losers
Striving forward with ambition
And if it takes ammunition
We rebel in Handsworth revolution

Dread town, dread town, dread town,
Dread town, dread town, dread town,

Dread we are for a cause
Deprived of many things
Experienced phoney laws
Hatred Babylon brings
We know what we got to offer
We know what's going on
Don't want no favours
'Cause there is still hunger
Innocent convicted
Poor wage, hard labour
Only Babylon prospers
And humble suffer
They are my brothers in South Africa
One Black represent all,
all over the world
Can't bear it no longer
Blessed with the power
Of Jah Creator
We will get stronger
And we will conquer
And forward ever, and backward never
Handsworth Revolution (3x)
Revo- Revo- Revolution (5x)

"Bad Man" - from Handsworth Revolution (1978)

Note: This song contains a major allusion at the end: "strange fruit" references Abel Meeropol's song, "Strange Fruit" (1937), made -famous by Billie Holiday's recording from 1939 (listen here).

Dem dread seh
Dem dread seh
Dem dread seh
Dem dread seh
No matter how you bad,
I man badder than you
No matter how you dread,
I man dreader than you
No matter how you hard,
I man harder than you
No matter how you raw,
I more-weak heart back way so

A bad man no want go back into captivity
A bad man no want go back to slavery
Uprising from the claws of the wicked

Two bulls can't reign in one pen
Two lions can't roar in a small den
Two scorpions don't sting at the same spot
Two guns can't fire the same bullet shot so

Move right out now
Move right out now
Move right out now
Move right out now

Two kings don't wear the same crown
Two beauties don't have the same gown on
Tomorrow is too late to leave town
If you're still here at noon,
There'll be one big, big, big showdown so

Uprising, uprising
Uprising, uprising

I give you till noon to go
On your way to survival where
Your heart will beat more fonder
With life
And breath still enters your body

(Repeat verse one)

If you still coming, me nah run
If you still coming, me ah go, drop you
If you still coming, me nah run
So better stop running before I break you
So run and hide before I find you
Woe betide if I catch up on you
If you still coming, I box you down
If you still coming, I clart you down

Long time we deh under backraw...

Four hundred years (many, many years)

Slavery days...
Slavery days...
Slavery days...

Oh you've been bought
Oh you've been sold
Oh cast over me
Got strung up for nothing at all
Strange fruit...

 

 

 

 

GRAFFITI STUDY WALL: MUSIC & VIDEOS
SEX PISTOLS
KRAFTWERK
THE CLASH
PUBLIC IMAGE LTD.
JOY DIVISION
SIOUXSIE & THE BANSHEES
AU PAIRS
COCTEAU TWINS
ARTERY
HUMAN LEAGUE
HEAVEN 17
THE SPECIALS
CABARET VOLTAIRE
TEARS FOR FEARS
DEPECHE MODE
THE SOUND
THE GLOVE
STEEL PULSE
THE CURE
ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN
A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS
GANG OF FOUR
NEW ORDER
U2
THE POLICE
CRASS
NEW MODEL ARMY
ELVIS COSTELLO
SPLIT ENZ
THE THE
XTC
THE EXPLOITED
DISCHARGE
<THE SMITHS
THE HOUSEMARTINS
RADIOHEAD
PORTISHEAD
PET SHOP BOYS
M Y BLOODY VALENTINE
SLOWDIVE
CRASH MUSIC
MUSIC OF THE TROUBLES

VIDEOS:

SEX PISTOLS
SIOUXSIE & THE BANSHEES (LIVE)
THE CURE (LIVE)
COCTEAU TWINS (LIVE)
NEW ORDER (LIVE)
PORTISHEAD (LIVE)
JOY DIVISION MINI-DOCUMENTARY
NUCLEAR WAR PREPAREDNESS: PROTECT & SURVIVE MANUAL