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This is Reggae Music

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Jamaica is a small country in the Caribbean, 146 miles wide and populated by fewer than three million people. Nevertheless, it has exerted a more powerful hold on international popular music than any nation besides England and America. From Prince Buster to Burning Spear, Lee "Scratch" Perry to Yellowman, Bob Marley to Shabba Ranks, reggae music is one of the most dynamic Jamaica is a small country in the Caribbean, 146 miles wide and populated by fewer than three million people. Nevertheless, it has exerted a more powerful hold on international popular music than any nation besides England and America. 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.


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Jamaica is a small country in the Caribbean, 146 miles wide and populated by fewer than three million people. Nevertheless, it has exerted a more powerful hold on international popular music than any nation besides England and America. From Prince Buster to Burning Spear, Lee "Scratch" Perry to Yellowman, Bob Marley to Shabba Ranks, reggae music is one of the most dynamic Jamaica is a small country in the Caribbean, 146 miles wide and populated by fewer than three million people. Nevertheless, it has exerted a more powerful hold on international popular music than any nation besides England and America. 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.

30 review for This is Reggae Music

  1. 4 out of 5

    J.

    A cram course for new & old ravers. You'll need more records after this. Numerous firsthand accounts, often from the central players. Turn it up, a pageturner. See also this author's excellent "Reggae On CD" book. Tougher than tough. A cram course for new & old ravers. You'll need more records after this. Numerous firsthand accounts, often from the central players. Turn it up, a pageturner. See also this author's excellent "Reggae On CD" book. Tougher than tough.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Fabienne

    Great read! There is a lot of quotes and parts of interviews, a lot of storytelling and the book moves at a very slow pace. Truly let me feel the vibe in Jamaica at the time. :) At times a bit repetitive and drawn into lenght, though.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Compton

    The best way for an outsider to understand the remarkable music of Jamaica.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sean

    Lots of well researched details on the history of reggae music and all the artists.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Stanley Narcisse

    This book is great! It really got in depth with the genre, and there are many first hand accounts from artists of the era. There's a movie that they mention titled The Harder They Come. The movie is a depiction of all the aspects of the music. (i.e. artists, producers, sound systems, and sufferation) I will be trying to get a copy of this movie because it is said to be a great depiction of the times and music. Once reggae music solidified itself as the music of Jamaica, and gained obvious recogn This book is great! It really got in depth with the genre, and there are many first hand accounts from artists of the era. There's a movie that they mention titled The Harder They Come. The movie is a depiction of all the aspects of the music. (i.e. artists, producers, sound systems, and sufferation) I will be trying to get a copy of this movie because it is said to be a great depiction of the times and music. Once reggae music solidified itself as the music of Jamaica, and gained obvious recognition on the UK pop charts, the Rastas began to bring a deeper sense of black consciousness to the music. This gave Jamaicans a stronger connection to the music than the dance and cover songs that were on the pop charts. I've learned so much from this book. Since, I am so fascinated with the music and culture I really got into the reading.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Burgoo

    Easily the best book I've read on the subject. Bradley looks at the development of ska>rocksteady>reggae in its historical & political context. Colonialism, racism, & exploitation played major roles in the development of this musical form, & Bradley doesn't shy from confronting the harsh realities. He goes beyond the obvious (to Americans, at least) hitmakers to discuss artists & sides more known to aficionados. Spice all this up with "on the scene" interviews & narratives, & you've got what it Easily the best book I've read on the subject. Bradley looks at the development of ska>rocksteady>reggae in its historical & political context. Colonialism, racism, & exploitation played major roles in the development of this musical form, & Bradley doesn't shy from confronting the harsh realities. He goes beyond the obvious (to Americans, at least) hitmakers to discuss artists & sides more known to aficionados. Spice all this up with "on the scene" interviews & narratives, & you've got what it takes to develop a fascinating look at this form of music. I found myself digging out old records I hadn't listened to in years. For the less cluttered, you will probably find yourself buying some great albums!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Horton

    Reggae is indistinguishable from rastafarianism and the sociocultural moment that it was all born out of. This book puts it all in perfect context; it's not just about island vibes and irie and all that shit, but that we're listening to the indigenous music of a truly stranger than fiction culture.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Joe

    Wish I had more time to read all this book...will definitely come back to it at some point, though. Recently I've returned to some old Trojan records classic rocksteady jams and wanted a quick refresher course on that era in Jamaican music...Bradley's book is awesome. Full a facts and fun anecdotes. Will have to purchase a copy at some point.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ray

    As a big fan of Jamaican music of the 60's and 70's, I found this to be very informative. It connects the dots in the development of ska-rocksteady-reggae-dub and the Rastafarian influence in the music. It is sometimes hard to follow. But this is a music that like rock musics transition from the 60's to the 70's changes markedly every few years. The author maintains the chronology well enough.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Tim

    Very good, not great, book chock full of facts & anecdotes. The main problem was that the whole thing was a bit dry as a reading experience and I found myself pushing to finish the 500+ pages. If you're interested in reggae this is a good place to get your history however it will be a mild challenge. Very good, not great, book chock full of facts & anecdotes. The main problem was that the whole thing was a bit dry as a reading experience and I found myself pushing to finish the 500+ pages. If you're interested in reggae this is a good place to get your history however it will be a mild challenge.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Phil Overeem

    A strictly amazing history of reggae: fact-filled, broad in analysis, wryly humored, coherent--what more could one want? Plus, it passes my personal test of great music non-fiction: I know it will be putting a dent in my wallet.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Scott

    Very thorough study of the history of Reggae music, presented in an almost academic style. Tends to assume that the reader already has some familarity with the music, so probably not the best book to start with.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    I didn't know a lot about reggae music past Bob Marley until I start collecting Trojan records. I figured I'd learn about all that music that came before Bob Marley. That said - most of what I know about Bob Marley I learned from Vh1's Behind the Music.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

  15. 4 out of 5

    Tim

  16. 5 out of 5

    Pal

  17. 4 out of 5

    Rudson

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ted

  19. 5 out of 5

    Joshua Disneyq

  20. 4 out of 5

    Max E. Pearl

  21. 4 out of 5

    Mauricio

  22. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

  23. 5 out of 5

    Audrey Laurey

  24. 4 out of 5

    RYAN E

  25. 5 out of 5

    Eduardo "Peixe" Faiguenboim

  26. 4 out of 5

    Brian

  27. 4 out of 5

    Michael

  28. 4 out of 5

    Tiffanie

  29. 4 out of 5

    Tobias Kremple

  30. 5 out of 5

    Roberto

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