Saturday, November 20, 2010

Artist: Lillian Allen, Album: Revolutionary Tea Party, Song: I Fight Back

"Here I am in Canada, bringing up someone else's child.  While someone else and me in absentee, bringing up my own."  Lillian Allen is a dub poet from Toronto.  Originally born and raised in Jamaica, she immigrated to Canada in the early seventies.  Revolutionary Tea Party was likely her first major release although she did have some indie cassette only albums and EP's prior to 1986.  She worked with the reggae band, Truth and Rights, as a lyricist while attending university and that's likely how she became acquainted with the members of another band called, The Parachute Club.  Billy Bryans produced the album and Laurie Conger and Lorraine Segato both play on the album as well.  Lillian is a social activist with razor sharp lyricism.  I Fight Back's theme is centred around the struggles of African American women immigrating to Canada.  However, there are some other tracks on this album like Nellie Belly Swelly and Rub A Dub Style Inna Regent Park that deal with more graphic content.  I don't think I know of any other Canadian artist that is able to depict with word some of the themes that she sings about.  She sounds like a woman possessed on this particular track.  Lillian would go on to become a published author, playwright and advisor to the Canadian government on topics of culture and diversity.  She would also win a Juno award for this album.  Quite an outstanding woman.  Her discography isn't easy to find nowadays.  At the time of this blog, there were vinyl copies of Revolutionary Tea Party for sale on Ebay and Amazon between $20 and $25.  You can hear the song, I Fight Back, on You Tube ( As always, you can hear this song as well as others that I blog about each day on Live 365 (  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

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