A landmark of reggae and the punk scene, "Two Sevens Clash" is now 40 years old.
A landmark of reggae and the punk scene, "Two Sevens Clash" is now 40 years old.

40 years on "Two Sevens Clash" still captures militant zeitgeist of punk, reggae

It was 40 years ago today that The Clash, Sex Pistols and other like-minded fellow travelers fueled the punk revolution in the U.K. and the Ramones, Patti Smith and others did the same here.

Less celebrated, perhaps, is the fact that Jamaican roots reggae was in its heyday at the same time, a fact that did not go unnoticed or unappreciated by punks on both sides of the Atlantic.

You won’t have to spend much time searching Google to find photos of Smith chilling with Tappa Zukie and Burning Spear’s Winston Rodney, or Johnny Rotten hamming it up with Big Youth for Dennis Morris’ camera.

The Clash celebrated all the big names of Jamaican music in "White Man in Hammersmith Palais" and covered Junior Murvin’s "Police & Thieves." Rotten traveled to Jamaica to scout talent for Virgin’s Front Line reggae subsidiary.

One of the most important records of the era – and the one perhaps most treasured by punks – was Culture’s "Two Sevens Clash," a reference to July 7, 1977, a date predicted by Marcus Garvey to unleash chaos. Many Jamaicans stayed inside that day and Culture’s hit song captured the zeitgeist not only of that experience but of the upheaval in the international music scene, thanks to the punks’ rip it up and start again attitude.

The album, produced by Joe Gibbs, featured the inimitable voice of lead singer Joseph Hill – who died in 2006 – with harmonies by Albert Walker and Kenneth Dayes. Songs like the title track, "I’m Not Ashamed," "See Them A Come" and "Natty Dread Taking Over" were urgent and catchy.

Gibbs tapped Kingston’s top studio talent – drummer Sly Dunbar, bassist Lloyd Parks, saxman Tommy McCook, among others – to provide the backing.

"Their message," wrote Gibbs in the liner notes on the original sleeve. "The unforgotten suffering of their ancestors as they toiled in blood, sweat and tears, only to perish."

Some – most notably "Black Starliner Must Come" – were tributes to Garvey.

The record charted in Eng…

Got a hog? Hop on and help out a good guy.
Got a hog? Hop on and help out a good guy.

Open Road Angels host benefit ride for local radio legend Larry Hansen

There are some folks you meet that are always happy to help and never seem to want anything. They're the good people that make life a joy.

Milwaukee radio veteran – legend, even – Larry Hansen is one of those guys. I've never heard anyone say anything but a kind word about Larry, who I met through Andy Tarnoff when Hansen was involved in producing early OnMilwaukee commercials.

On Dec. 8 last year, while working on his car in the garage of his Okauchee home, a driver swerved off the road and hit him. Since then, Larry has undergone numerous surgeries for many injuries and he lost a leg.

Because he's always been such a kind guy, folks are eager to lend a hand, and at least one benefit has been held for him to help cover medical costs.

Now, there's another one this weekend.

Larry's Benefit Ride, Saturday, June 10 at 11 a.m., takes place at the Okauchee American Legion Post, N50W34750 Wisconsin Ave.

The event is hosted by the Open Road Angels Female Bike Group and The Okauchee Legion #399.

"These gals are awesome," Larry says. "They're doing this benefit this Saturday for me to
help offset some of the expenses associated with my prosthetic leg."

Registration runs from 9:30 until 10:45 a.m. and kickstands go up at 11. The Sawyer Road Band will perform from 2 to 6 p.m. and there will be a silent auction and 50/50 raffle, as well as food available for sale all day.

Should it rain, the event will be moved to Sunday. But call ahead if there's precipitation.

Donation is $15 for riders and $10 for passengers.