Song of the Day: Don Letts – Outta Sync

From collaborating with the likes of The Clash and Bob Marley to colliding genres with Big Audio Dynamite to presenting his own radio show on BBC6 Music to winning a Grammy to receiving an honorary doctorate for his contribution to culture, Don Letts seems to have done it all, or at any rate a lot. Add to that the publication of his autobiography, which became a best seller, ‘There And Black Again’ last year and ‘Rebel Dread,’ a film documenting his life, which was presented this year.

But there is one thing the multifaceted 66-year-old has not done..until now. Don Letts shared ‘Outta Sync,’ the first single and title track from his solo debut coming April 28 on the Cooking Vinyl label. Produced by Gaudi, the record is a heady cocktail of bass rhythms, Jamaican vibes and spoken words that alternate with melodic choruses and harmonies. The album is exactly what you would expect a Don Letts project to sound like, changeable but still true to principles. Regarding the single, ‘Outta Synch,’ Don Letts says, “It’s a track full of duality and represents me. Growing up on pop and bass, melody is a matter of taste and I’m from the vinyl generation and I grew up combining clothes and music and turned that into art.”

Ironically, Don Letts was not really intent on making a solo record, but in the lockdown his friend, producer extraordinaire and Killing Joke bassist, Youth, encouraged him by sending him some bass lines to work on. Not entirely convinced, things changed for Don when he entered the studio with dub producer Gaudi, another longtime friend known for his work with Steel Pulse, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, and Horace Andy, to name a few. The pair produced a remake of ‘Sightsee MC’ by Big Audio Dynamite for the dub-inspired post-punk band Megative. They then collaborated on a dub remix of B.A.D.’s classic ‘E=MC2’ for the 2021 LateNightTales compilation ‘Version Excursion.’ And hence their collaboration on Don Letts’ debut solo album: the two spent nine months together, three days a week, and the result is an experimental and ancestral album in Don’s vision. Gaudi handled its production and participated in the songwriting. Enjoy ‘Outta Sync’!