This is Reggae Music: The Story of Jamaica’s Music by Lloyd Bradley

This is Reggae Music: The Story of Jamaica's Music

Quite simply, this is a crash course on reggae music, it’s history and development, and an insight into many of the famous musicians and prodiucers from past and present who have helped to shape Reggae music. An essential and fascinating book from the same author that wrote Bass Culture.

From Prince Buster to Burning Spear, Lee “Scratch” Perry to Yellowman, Bob Marley to Shabba Ranks, reggae music is one of the most dynamic and powerful musical forms of the twentieth century. And, as Lloyd Bradley shows in his deft, definitive, and always entertaining book, it is and always has been the people’s music. Born in the sound systems of the Kingston slums, reggae was the first music poor Jamaicans could call their own, and as it spread throughout the world, it always remained fluid, challenging, and distinctly Jamaican. Based on six years of research, original interviews with most of reggae’s key producers, musicians, and international players — and a lifelong enthusiasm for one of the most remarkable of the world’s musics, This Is Reggae Music is the definitive history of reggae.

With flair, skill, passion and stamina, Lloyd Bradley fluidly traces Jamaican music’s odyssey, but the meat lies in how Jamaica’s poverty, societal strife and “politricks,” tempered by the creativity, spirituality and upbeatness of its people, yielded the music, which for better and worse reached the world.

Born in London to Jamaican immigrants, Bradley spent six years studying his subject. Avoiding the who/what/when tedium that encumbers many music histories, he reveals the whys and the hows. The legendary Prince Buster whets readers appetites in the foreword and throughout the book Bradley interviews the originators and major players (including Lee “Scratch” Perry, Big Youth, Burning Spear) for lengthy, lively quotes and anecdotes. He pays scholarly attention to musical detail and attempts to highlight everyone who has made reggae waves, not just the stars.

He writes, “It’s a brave publisher that will put out a volume about reggae in general without its jacket artwork conspicuously featuring Bob Marley’s face.” And a brave writer who forestalls addressing the master’s impact until the 17th chapter. “For many, Marley is reggae”; but it’s a “colossal irony that, during his tenure at the top, reggae’s most famous exponent exerted practically no influence over the music’s development at grassroots i.e., Kingston studios level.” Such insider-expert revelations will delight reggae’s many devotees.

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People Funny Boy: The Genius of Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry (Revised Edition) by David Katz

People Funny Boy: The Genius of Lee 'Scratch' Perry

Another must have book for any Reggae library.

David Katz has written a brilliant book about Lee Scratch Perry, but what makes this different is that it was written with the co-operation of Lee Perry and Katz gets previously unprecendented access to Lee Perry and his family, which throws up some fascinating interviews, stories, anecdotes, and conundrums.

From Booklist
In reggae music, only Bob Marley rivals Lee “Scratch” Perry in importance. Scratch collaborated on some of the Wailers’ best early stuff, and indeed, Marley’s “career was largely shaped by creative interaction with Perry.” Katz spent years sifting Perry’s true story from the legends about him. Confusion about his birth date is to be expected, for public record keeping has not been a high priority in Jamaica, but Perry further muddled matters by claiming to hail from Jupiter, the sky, and Africa, as well. And then, “it is worth noting that the regular use of ganja . . . result[s] in short- and long-term memory loss.” Ganja is, of course, a leitmotif of Perry’s biography, and fans of Timothy White’s Bob Marley book, Catch a Fire (rev. ed., 1995), will appreciate Katz’s further exploration of the ganja-permeated world of reggae. Collections serving world music and pop music fans should consider this piece of reggae history absolutely essential. Mike Tribby
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Book Description:
Arguably the most influential force in Jamaican music, Lee Perry brought Bob Marley to international stardom and has since collaborated with artists such as Sir Paul McCartney, The Clash and The Beastie Boys. The book delves behind the myth of Perry to give a fuller examination of his life and work through extensive interviews with family members, fellow artists, friends, lovers, enemies, as well as the man himself to present a complex portrait of a unique soul driven by unseen spiritual forces. This revised edition contains new information on Perry’s recent years, including his Grammy Award and cessation of herb smoking. The text has been thoroughly revised, making the new edition a more factually accurate and greatly improved read.

About the Author
David Katz has written about the sounds and culture of Jamaica since 1984. His work has appeared in The Guardian, MOJO, Uncut and The Wire. He has annotated CDs for several record labels and contributed to The Rough Guide to Reggae. He is also a musician, broadcaster and photographer. Originally from San Francisco, he currently lives in London.

Quote form the author David Katz:
“If you’re gonna ask me do I think Scratch is mad – it’s not really a word that I would use. I think it is a great shame that partly the way that Scratch has had this revival of interest in his career is because he’s being portrayed as this kind of jolly nutter. To me, never mind about the peculiar behavior – OK, it’s interesting to a degree – but just listen to the music and be amazed. That’s where the real genius lies.”

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Bass Culture by Lloyd Bradley

Bass Culture by Lloyd Bradbury

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.

Product Description
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
Language: English

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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