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From The Socialist newspaper, 14 December 2016

Deaths and comebacks - 2016 sounds for your stocking

photo Christian Ferronato/Creative Commons

photo Christian Ferronato/Creative Commons   (Click to enlarge)

Dave Gorton, Chesterfield Socialist Party

The political tremors of 2016 stretched into music with multiple deaths of well-loved figures. Thousands of people singing Starman in Brixton after the death of David Bowie will remain in the memory. Similar scenes were witnessed in the US on the demise of Prince.

Their back catalogues will become Christmas presents for many, as will those of Leonard Cohen, Prince Buster, Fairport Convention's Dave Swarbrick and The Eagles' Glenn Frey.

But there was a wonderful array of new music in 2016.

A Tribe Called Quest heralded a return with the excellent We Got It From Here... also tinged with tragedy as band member Phife Dawg died during recording. Standout track is We The People whose point is clear:

All you Black folks, you must go

All you Mexicans, you must go

And all you poor folks, you must go

Muslims and gays, boy, we hate your ways

So all you bad folks, you must go

Hip hop and R&B hit a purple patch. Kano deservedly won the Mobo best album for Made In The Manor - a modern-day homage to east London. Anderson.Paak, Kendrick Lamaar and Kaytranada also hit the spot.

Kate Tempest's Let Them Eat Chaos is part of a new London sound along with Ray BLK - one of my tips for 2017. Her mini album Durt is a downloadable steal at a fiver.

PJ Harvey's The Hope Six Demolition Project tops my rock choices while jazz is well served with Josef Leimberg's Astral Progressions, Shabaka and the Ancestors' Wisdom of Elders and BADBADNOTGOOD's IV. Applewood Road's eponymous album featuring three-part female harmonies on original folk tunes rightly received reviewer plaudits.

My favourite is Black Focus by Yussef Kamaal, another London sound of jazz, grime and broken beat.

Finally, a leftfield offering: Wreck His Days' Tomorrow The Rain Will Fall Upwards, a dub/ambient collection, features a reworking of Spanish Civil War song Ay Carmela, a track dedicated to revolutionaries Rosa Luxemburg and Alexandra Kollontai and strains of The Internationale to close out the album.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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In The Socialist 14 December 2016:

Socialist Party news and analysis

NHS crisis: we're fighting back!

End the Tories' war on the working poor

Amazon workers living in tents

Pfizer drug extortion - nationalise big pharma!

Trust in politicians reaches all-time low

No to home seizures for care bills

Them & Us

What we think

Establishment EU crisis deepens - fight for a socialist Brexit

A socialist programme for education

What kind of education?

Education for all - not exam factories

International socialist news and analysis

CWI: opportunities for substantial growth

Workplace news and analysis

Glasgow Labour leaders deluged with protests

Victory for UPS parcel workers

Nationalise Tata Steel to save jobs and pensions

Bin workers strike against draconian management

Derby TAs to strike against pay cut

Southern: back the strike, nationalise the railways!

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Birmingham Labour: Corbyn supporters need not apply

The Socialist Party and fighting women's oppression

Doncaster: cuts give rise to 'tent city'

Scrooge Tory council confronted over treatment of homeless

Comment and review

It's the bumper Socialist 2016 quiz!

2016 sounds for your stocking

The Socialist Inbox


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