Misty In Roots / Poet And The Roots – People Unite Records / Virgin Records

MISTY IN ROOTS – See Them Ah Come /  How Long Jah

MISTY IN ROOTS – Wondering Wanderer / Cry Out For Peace

MISTY IN ROOTS – Own Them Control Them / Version 1 + 2

POET AND THE ROOTS – It Dread Inna Inglan / Man Free

Misty in Roots first selection on this post is the first ever People Unite Records 12″ which was released in 1979 and is one of the baddest UK roots tunes I own. Misty In Roots were massive in punk circles and was a huge favorite of John Peel who supported the band with countless plays of this 12″ and the ‘Live At Counter Eurovision’ LP debut LP which John Peel held close to his heart from the day he first heard it and for the remainder of his life. Supported the late 1970’s Rock Against Racism organisation and enjoyed recording and sharing stages with fellow Southhall band The Ruts.

The second selection posted here from a 12″ released in 1982 is slightly less heavy than the first 12″. A pretty melody carries the tune along. Two wonderful tracks that makes the sun shine on the most darkened of days. This 12″ came out shortly after the first studio LP ‘Wise And Foolish’.

The third selection was a later People Unite Record release from 1986. Actually recorded for the John Peel show in 1984, with in-house producer Dale Griffin. This 12″ I feel is nowhere as good as the track off the ‘Earth’ LP, Misty In Roots second studio LP. Dale Griffin speed-ed up this track to a rather curious degree, more than likely so that the student / white listeners of the Peel show would accept it, which seems strange as some heavy reggae was played nightly.  This is still a great record but put it against the LP version it is slightly lame (and far too fast) by comparison.

Poet And The Roots was the original name Linton Kwesi Johnson performed under. This is LKJ debut release on a Virgin 12″. LKJ went onto to create the London version of Dub Poetry. Artist’s Michael Smith, shot dead in Kingston 1982, and Mutabaruka (still around) were doing this stuff a little earlier than LKJ. Michael Smith ‘Mi Cyaan Believe It’ LP on Island and ‘Check It’ LP by Mutabaruka on High Times Records are must haves of the genre. The first two LKJ LP’s ‘Dread, Beat And Blood’ under Poet And The Roots on Virgin Records and ‘Forces Of Victory’ on Island Records are in my opinion his best work. Dennis Bovell in the band and on the mix. Marvelous stuff, and again a definite punk / reggae crossover artist, who shared stages with many screaming punker bands trashing away.

  1. TD
    February 26, 2008 at 8:07 pm

    Thanks for putting this up.

    Couldn’t let the mention of Michael Smith pass. His poetry is magnificent and the album ‘Mi C’Yaan Believe It’ is one of the most glorious things ever committed to vinyl. His completely ridiculous death cut me up at the time and still pisses me off.

  2. Pavlik
    February 26, 2008 at 8:45 pm

    Two of my favourite gigs ever were Misty.
    Absolutely first class live act.

  3. sean
    February 27, 2008 at 11:13 am

    saw misty with newtown neurotics at harlow poly,78 or 79,my first exposure to real roots reggae.After struggling for ages to learn the bass line and rhythm guitar to “police and theives” a la clash it was a real eyeopener to me. Interest that bubbled away in the background til my involvement with early jungle outta bristol with flynn&flora,full cycle etc,started DJing roots,dub and stuff like digidub for a few years around little gigs and a bit of pirate radio.Cool to see the appreciation of a great band,people unite indeed.

  4. Nic
    February 27, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    Thanks, penguin: great post!

    One of the reasons I left Napalm Death at the end of 1986 was that I suggested that we had a deep Dub break in a drop-down (rather than a slow metal riff), and the other people in the band looked at me like I had come from another planet…
    Creative expression limited? Remember me – I’m gone!

    Thinking of what you said, sean:
    I loved the early days of Jungle back in ’92/’93: up Don Christie’s reggae shop on a Tuesday and Thursday to wait for the man in the van to arrive with the latest 12″‘s…some great music – Pascal (‘Johnny Jungle’), Hype, Wax Doctor, Remarc, Andy C…and a heavy Reggae / Dub influence…

  5. sean
    February 27, 2008 at 9:33 pm

    pengers,old fruit,got any “digidub” or “L S Diesel” stuff?Some well wicked dubs from people what a lot of us know,innit……stronger than a lion!

  6. Penguin
    Penguin • Post Author •
    February 27, 2008 at 9:45 pm

    Go away you annoying little man! Yeah got loads of Alpha Omega / Sound Iration / Lidj Inc / Manassah / Zion Train all that digi gumph…all original label vinyl (of course). Got loads of old whites labels of Jungle tunes from 1990 – 94 from working at SRD from 1989 onwards to now. Kromozone, Scientist, Ruffige Kru pic discs etc. If they go up it will defo be in post 86 section.

  7. sean
    February 28, 2008 at 9:00 am

    well!Thats a nice attitude I must say!
    Annoying I may be but little…..I dont think so.
    Thought some stuff made by mutoid waste types might have some relevence to people who post on this site,thats all

  8. Penguin
    Penguin • Post Author •
    February 28, 2008 at 9:50 am

    If you promise to be good I will see what I can do Sean…

  9. sean
    February 28, 2008 at 10:08 am

    thank you

  10. sean
    February 28, 2008 at 10:14 am

    I know you are very busy and dont have a lot of time after work,so please dont take offence,I was not critising in any way.I,(as everyone else,Im sure) am extremely grateful for all the work you put in and all the sounds you put up.
    If I knew how to,I’d do it myself,but for the time being,thank you for all your effort.
    I will try to be good,but a lifetime of being the opposite is hard to break out of.

  11. Penguin
    Penguin • Post Author •
    February 28, 2008 at 6:52 pm

    Sean,”we love you” (copyright Raymond 1980), no offence was ever taken! x

  12. simon
    February 28, 2008 at 11:40 pm

    Luggy mentions a ‘blog’ in his post… I’m totally hooked on them at the moment, here’s a superb one that lists others, you’ll find anything and everything here, have fun! 🙂


  13. Nic
    February 29, 2008 at 10:09 am

    The nookienet is absolutely BLOGTASTIC!

    I’ve got hundreds of blogs bookmarked in my ‘Favourites’ – just downloaded 5 albums so far this morning (I’m off work writing a chapter for a book), and there will be more to come this afternoon before the siren call of the pub gets to me…

    Penguin – what do you think of the idea of a section (or a ‘sticky’ or something) where we could post links to interesting blogs?

  14. simon
    February 29, 2008 at 12:34 pm

    Cool, thanks Mick and good idea Nic.

    Obviously I’m sure the pups and friends will agree that we should support the bands/artists and use these blogs for preview purposes only, due to the old copyright… blah, blah, etc, etc ;->

  15. quigley
    March 6, 2008 at 2:46 pm

    Hello Penguin, great site, lots of new discoveries here, thanks 🙂
    Any chance of a Misty …studio album or two as I only have the live one you mentioned and have never seen anything else anywhere.

  16. John Serpico
    John Serpico
    November 28, 2008 at 1:35 pm

    I remember John Peel playing ‘Own Them Control Them’ by Misty In Roots. I always took it as “them” to mean the police and “her vanity” as Thatcher’s vanity. Or was I wrong?

  17. baron von zubb
    baron von zubb
    November 29, 2008 at 11:22 am

    More clssic stuff
    Still rackin me brain for stuff the Penguin wont have…
    Black Star Liner – Fread Locks. Too easy?
    How about ‘Hear me now Starky’ by unknown artist on Studio One.
    Wicked, about some guy who’s been grassed up and his lament about being inside.

  18. Kent
    November 29, 2009 at 1:27 am

    I had a chance to see them at Treworgy tree fair in 89 but lunched out and still kick myself for missing them, Great post & thanks for the info on LKJ I never knew of Poet and the Roots.

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