Capital Letters were one of the main players in the distinctive home-grown British roots reggae scene that emerged in the late 70’s and were the first group to be signed to the Greensleeves label. Along with groups like Matumbi, Aswad, and Steel Pulse, Capital Letters managed to break down many of the prejudices that reggae music could only be made in Jamaica, when authentic roots music was emerging from all corners of the UK, in this case Wolverhampton in the West Midlands, a stone’s throw from where Steel Pulse’s Handsworth Revolution was taking place.
Their single “Smoking My Ganja” blew the woofers out of UK sound-systems throughout ’78, and propelled them into the studio to record an album. The resulting LP, Headline News, was one of the critically acclaimed reggae records of 1979 with its finely balanced blend of African, Jamaican, and English influences and songs that covered topics ranging from religion to marijuana legalization to the bloody reign of President Amin. Jerry Dammers of The Specials was quoted as saying that hearing “Smoking My Ganja” convinced him that the Specials mix of punk and reggae would work.”
The band also released the highly sought-after `Bread and Water’ 7″ EP, a ska-flavored quartet of tracks, which was released in 1980 – a nod to the 2-Tone scene that was taking place in the UK at the time. Capital Letters were big favorites of John Peel and recorded a session which was broadcast in January 1980. Peel championed Capital Letters and for a time played a track from `Headline News” on every show over a period in 1979. As a result, `Smoking My Ganja’, `Run Run Run’ and `President Amin’, were hits in France, Spain and Holland.
Capital Letters released a lost 1985 album ‘Reality’ to critical acclaim in February 2014 via Reggae Archive Records and follow that in July 2014 with the Rootikal Remix EP of ‘Smoking My Ganja’ recorded with UK Reggae legends Nick Manasseh and David Hill.
A new album of brand new material has been recorded and will be released via Sugar Shack Records in spring of 2015. Capital Letters have played sell out shows in Europe this year and we welcome them back to the UK scene.