— HENRY MILLERAl Fingers is a DJ, producer and cultural historian based in London.
I’ll be giving a tour of the In Fine Style exhibition this Saturday at midday at New Art Exchange, Nottingham. Entry is free and all are welcome.
More info here.0 Comments
As illustrator of some of my favourite LP covers, I have always wanted to produce a book on the Jamaican graphic artist Wilfred Limonious (1949–99). So in 2010, shortly after finishing a project on the album cover artwork of Greensleeves Records (focussing on the early work of another legendary reggae sleeve designer, Tony McDermott) I began some preliminary research.
As is the case with many reggae album cover artists, there wasn’t much factual information about Limonious online, apart from one great blog, called In Fine Style. Reading through the posts I realised that the blog’s author, Chris Bateman, had already done a lot of the things I was considering, having been to Jamaica to meet Limonious’s family, friends and associates. So I contacted Chris to see if he was interested in collaborating on a book.
Thankfully he was, and five years later, we’re almost done!
At 272 pages, In Fine Style: the Dancehall Art of Wilfred Limonious is the result of years of research, numerous interviews and the unearthing of some great previously unseen material. It includes a wonderful foreword from Beth Lesser, as well as contributions from Orville “Bagga” Case (Jamaican designer), Dr Donna P Hope (University of the West Indies), Steve Barrow, Diplo and many others.
In anticipation of the book, which will be published early next year on my imprint, One Love Books, we have curated an exhibition of Limonious’ work, which launches at the New Art Exchange in Nottingham this Saturday 7 November at 3pm running until 3 January 2016 before travelling to various galleries around the UK (including additional programming at the V&A and Goldsmiths College). In addition to Limonious’ illustrations for the Jamaican music industry, the exhibition includes his comic strips for the Jamaican newspapers, as well as his work for JAMAL, the island’s national literacy programme, and examples of modern-day work that has taken inspiration from his unique style.
There should be some photos to post after the weekend but for now here’s a sneak peak of some items from the show.
Grass Root comic strip from the Weekend Enquirer, 1991. (Courtesy the National Library of Jamaica and Mark Ricketts, © 2015 Weekend Enquirer)
Cover illustration for the book Nanny (JAMAL Foundation, c 1977), about the Jamaican national hero, Nanny of the Maroons. (Courtesy the National Library of Jamaica, © 2015 JFLL)
Back cover illustration for the LP Tidal Wave by Frankie Paul (Power House, 1985).
Mock-up conveying positional information to the printer for the Phillip Frazer LP, Classic (Reggae Master, c 1993). (Courtesy Deadly Dragon collection)
Promotional poster for the VHS release of Champions in Action, Live at Fort Clarence (Sonic Sounds, 1992).
Seven-inch sleeve designed by Limonious for Charles Morgan’s Outernational Records, 1996.
One section of the exhibition features new works that have taken inspiration from Limonious, including a couple of episodes of the great Cabbie Chronicles by Alcyone Animation, Jamaica.
In Fine Style: The Dancehall Art of Wilfred Limonious launches on Saturday 7 November at New Art Exchange, 39–41 Gregory Blvd, Nottingham NG7 6BE, alongside SCRATCH: Record + Craft Fair which features DJs, craft and zine sellers, interactive screen printing demonstrations, live illustration, a mini-amp building workshop and a talk describing how records are made. The exhibition coincides with New Art Exchange’s exhibition, Sound Systems Back in Da Day, which explores sound system culture in Britain from the 1960s to the 1980s.
Clarks in Jamaica the album, the soundtrack to the book, is out now on Greensleeves Records (CD and LP). The selection is strictly old school – twenty-one reggae and dancehall tunes that mention Clarks shoes from artists including Supercat, Dillinger, Little John, Trinity, Ranking Joe, Early B and Eek-A-Mouse. So if you’re expecting Vybz Kartel, Popcaan and Gaza Slim you’ll have to wait for part two!
A big thank you to Chris O’Brien and Frenchie for supporting this album and pushing for it to happen.
Cover photo © Mark Read
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When the Quaker brothers, Cyrus and James Clark, began making sheepskin slippers in the sleepy English village of Street, Somerset in the late 1820s, they could never have imagined how popular their footwear would one day become on the faraway island of Jamaica. For in time, Jamaican people grew to love Clarks shoes more than anyone else. So much so, that it could be argued that no country (more…)0 Comments
Following on from the talk at the V&A, I will be speaking about Clarks in Jamaica at Nottingham University as part of their Black History Month programme. Limited quantities of Clarks in Jamaica books and pre-release CDs will be available on the night. More info here.
I’ll be discussing the Jamaican love for Clarks shoes at the V&A this Friday 14 August with Paul Gilroy, Bunny “Striker” Lee and Lance Clark, one of a series of talks around the Shoes: Pleasure and Pain exhibition on display until January 2016. The event starts at 7pm in the Lydia and Manfred Gorvy lecture theatre and concludes with a set of Clarks tunes that I’ll be spinning in the main entrance.
On the night and for a limited time there will be signed copies of the last remaining stock of the Clarks in Jamaica book available from the V&A shop, as well as posters, picture discs and advance copies of a new Clarks in Jamaica CD due for release on Greensleeves in early October. Tickets for the talk are available here.0 Comments News Archive »
- Everything Nice
Life And Death
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BUSY SIGNAL & LORDE
- My Love (feat Jess Glynne)
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- Elastic Heart (feat The Weeknd & Diplo)
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Last Night On Earth
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3 Beat Productions
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Frequent Flyers Records
RIZZLA & BLK.ADONIS
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New Millionaire Entertainment
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Dawg House Productions
Who do Eric B & Rakim’s “Follow The Leader”, De La Soul’s “Keepin’ The Faith” and Ghostface’s “Daytona 500″ all have in common? Bob James, that’s who. The bearded break pianist, who might look like your grandfather, has been one of hip-hop’s most influential artists. Don’t be deceived by his quiet demeanor, Mr James is the bomb ‘ish. Introducing the man who made Run DMC’s “Peter Piper”, Main Source’s “Live At The BBQ” and Onyx’s “Throw Ya Gunz” possible…2 Comments
Lukie D, the R Kelly of dancehall, talks to Al Fingers about his early days, Air Supply cover versions, and getting kuff inna di dance.0 Comments Interviews Archive »
0 Comments Graphics Archive »
GREENSLEEVES THE FIRST 10 YEARS is a 56 track mixtape produced by Al Fingers for Stüssy Deluxe, showcasing tunes from the first decade (1977–87) of UK reggae label, Greensleeves Records. It was released alongside the book Greensleeves The First 100 Covers and a series of limited edition tees.24 Comments
A mix produced to sit alongside London-based artist/designer Zakee Shariff‘s “Stardust” collection of clothes and accessories, inspired by a line from Joni Mitchell’s song “Woodstock”: We are stardust, we are golden, and we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden. Although Mitchell was unable to attend Woodstock, David Crosby said that with this song she had “captured the feeling and importance of the Woodstock festival better than anyone who had been there”. This mix is centered around this tune, featuring various versions of it sung by Mitchell at different times, as well as music from Brian Eno, Israel Kamakawiwo’ole, Jill Scott, Heatwave, Minnie Riperton, John Lennon, and the Khalsa String Band, and poetry from Rumi and James Wright.2 Comments
SERIOUS TIMES was compiled in reaction to the tragedy of 9/11 and the subsequent illegal war waged on Iraq by George Bush and Tony Blair. Taking its name from Gyptian’s debut single, the mix features antiwar songs by artists such as Barrington Levy, Bob Dylan, Turbulence, Luciano and Sinead O’Connor, as well as the Truth & Rights remix of Marvin’s Gaye’s classic antiwar tune, “What’s Going On”.2 Comments Mixtapes Archive »
Megamix for VP Records: Shane Brown’s Silent River riddim, featuring Demarco’s “God Nah Sleep”, Busy Signal’s “Money Wi Sey”, Mavado’s “Dem A Pree”, Bounty Killer’s “Corrupt” and Assassin’s “Inna Mi Room”.0 Comments
Duane Stephenson megamix produced for VP Records to promote Duane’s debut solo album, From August Town, a Dean Fraser production that featured one of 2007′s outstanding reggae tracks, the sublime “August Town”, voiced over a remake of Bob Marley’s “Jah Live” rhythm. Former lead singer of To-Isis, Stephenson is a talented singer/songwriter with writing credits for artists including Jah Cure and Tarrus Riley.0 Comments Megamixes Archive »