Bass Culture is an astonishing and comprehensive history of reggae, from its origins in the Jamaican sound-systems dances of the 1950s, through its enormous international triumphs of the 70s, to the current generation of new roots artists who are searching out a way forward for the sound. The story is remarkable: how a downtown music developed out of decades of cultural oppression to become a truly indigenous art form that went on to conquer the world.
In an account that ranges from Kingston’s ghetto areas and the cool hills of Jamaica’s interior to the clubs and record shops of London and Birmingham, Lloyd Bradley tells the full story: the politics and the culture, the producers and the players, the heroes and the villains – but most of all, the music.
The author has really put in a lot of time to research the book and it is full of strong analysis that tells the story of the development of the music alongside Jamaica’s post-colonial development. The book is well written and illustrates how Reggae had an inseperable, symbiotic relationship with the political and social developments that Jamaica went through. The book is full of delightful and illuminating interviews with heavyweights of Reggae that reveal previously unheard of stores and anecdotes – a highlight for me was reading the interviews with Prince Buster as he describes the long running feud that he had with Duke Reid as sound system culture was developing itself in Jamaica.
Its a must have for all reggae fans, as well as being an accessible read for gereral music fans that want to now more about the history of reggae.
The first major account of the history of reggae, black music journalist Lloyd Bradley describes its origins and development in Jamaica, from ska to rock-steady to dub and then to reggae itself, a local music which conquered the world. There are many extraordinary stories about characters like Prince Buster, King Tubby and Bob Marley. But this is more than a book of music history: it relates the story of reggae to the whole history of Jamaica, from colonial island to troubled independence, and Jamaicans, from Kingston to London.
Paperback: 592 pages
Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition
About the Author
Lloyd Bradley was classically trained as a chef but for the last 20 years has worked as a music journalist, most recently for Mojo.
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