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Reggae (Rough Guide Music Guides) [Paperback]

Steve Barrow , Peter Dalton
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
RRP: 15.99
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Book Description

26 Aug 2004 Rough Guide Music Guides
The Rough Guide to Reggae is the only book of its kind available. The first two editions of the Rough Guide to Reggae were the top-selling books on the subject, and widely acclaimed by the music press and fans alike. Illustrated throughout with over 400 pictures, many of them exclusive photos, the book also features exclusive interviews with reggae's top stars, and reviews over 500 albums. 2003 and 2004 have been the most successful years for reggae music on a global scale since the heyday of Bob Marley, with singers such as Sean Paul and Wayne Wonder regularly topping the UK and US pop charts. The new third edition of Rough Guide to Reggae is fully updated to cover this latest wave of Jamaican musicians, while not stinting on newly discovered recordings and reissues of classic albums of the past.

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Reggae (Rough Guide Music Guides) + Bass Culture: When Reggae Was King + Solid Foundation: An Oral History of Reggae
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Product details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Rough Guides Ltd; 3rd Revised edition edition (26 Aug 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1843533294
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843533290
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 17 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 595,783 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Steve Barrow runs the successful and highly-respected reggae record label Blood & Fire. He has contributed to the reggae scene for over 30 years: as a historian, record-shop owner, A&R man and consultant for Island Records and Trojan Records. Peter Dalton is a journalist, collector and contributor to numerous reggae websites and Dub Catcher magazine.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.


The Rough Guide to Reggae is a near-definitive guide to the music of Jamaica. The island has produced some 100,000 records over the last 45 years - an extraordinary output for a population of little more than two million. Although few of these recordings have crossed over to audiences beyond the Jamaican community, it's hard to think of any genre of popular music - other than the blues - that has had a greater influence in the past couple of decades. Mainstream rock stars from Clapton to the Stones, the Clash to the Fugees, have covered reggae hits, but more important has been Jamaican music's effect on the worldwide dance scene. Major features of Jamaican dancehall culture - the megawatt sound systems, the exclusive "one-off" recordings, the foregrounding of drum and bass, and the practice of rapping over rhythm tracks - have been appropriated by rave and dance culture. Other reggae innovations, like the dub remix, have been assimilated into wider popular music.

The Rough Guide maps a terrain that stretches from the music's folk origins to computerized ragga - via Jamaican r&b, ska, rocksteady, the varied strands that go under the name of 'reggae' itself, dub and dancehall. We've included interviews with crucial figures and have covered in depth the unique phenomenon of the sound systems, illuminating their pivotal role in the progress of the music, alongside the work of the legendary producers such as Coxsone Dodd, Duke Reid, Lee Perry, Bunny Lee and King Jammy. Giving an in-depth view of the whole history of reggae (including the off-shoots that have taken root in the UK, the US and Africa), we have covered the careers of such stars as John Holt, Dennis Brown, Gregory Isaacs, Freddie McGregor, Sugar Minott, Frankie Paul, and, most obviously, Bob Marley (the one truly global reggae superstar), in every phase of their development.

From the bewildering multiplicity of albums we have selected and reviewed the best, including plenty of singles compilations, as the humble 7" vinyl disc is still the main artery of Jamaican music. As much as possible we've concentrated on CDs and LPs that are currently available but there's also a number of vital albums that may require a hunt through the secondhand shelves. (And given the re-issue programmes from various UK, European and US record companies, it's likely they will eventually be re-released.) On the other hand, we hope we've done justice to the numerous performers who have yet to show strongly on solo discs - and wherever possible we've listed compilations on which they appear. A few worthwhile sets will no doubt have been omitted for reasons of ignorance, and we apologize to the artists concerned and their admirers. If you think we've neglected someone, let us know, and we'll put it right in future editions.

We have written this Rough Guide because we love this music, which has provided a major part of the soundtrack to our own lives. Our aim has been to share some of the excitement and pleasure we have found in this wonderful, multi-faceted music that goes under the name of reggae.

Steve Barrow/Peter Dalton July 1997 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE 11 Dec 2002
Jamaica's incredibly prolific musical output (more than one hundred thousand different records over the last fifty years) is a phenomenon totally out of proportion to the island's small size, its 2 million strong population and modest wealth. Equally significant is the huge influence of reggae music on everything from punk to hip hop to today's rave and dj culture. So if you're looking for a reggae primer that really explains what it's all about, this is the book to get.

Authors Steve Barrow and Peter Dalton possess an unrivalled knowledge of Jamaica's rich musical heritage and if you've ever bought any of the superbly remastered and repackaged reissue cds from Barrow's Blood & Fire label, you'll find the same care, attention to detail and love of the music in the pages of the Rough Guide.

The book chronicles the entire history of Jamaican music chapter by chapter, from the earliest beginnings to the sounds being made today; explaining when, how and why each new style developed, who made it happen and the background of continuing social change in Jamaica itself, which has always played a part in shaping the music. There are also excellent accounts of the evolution of reggae in the UK, the USA and Africa.

In each chapter the main text is supplemented by profiles of the major singers, groups, djs, musicians, producers, engineers, studios and promoters who came to the fore in that particular era, which often include interviews with the artists themselves. The accompanying discographies are well researched and can reliably be used to add to your record collection.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW !!!! 5 Feb 2001
By A Customer
Pedigree is what a good book is often about, and this is without a doubt the book you'd take to the desert Island instead of the Bible,... if you were Reggae obsessed that is. I'm only into the first 50 or so pages and I can't take all the new stuff I'm learning in. It works particularly well that I've just finished the Lloyd Bradley book Bass Culture When Reggae Was king, and that book put a lot of historical datelines into perspective for me and facilitated an easier grasp of the detailed facts thrown up by this book. I've always admired Steve Barrows copius sleeve notes for Trojan \ Blood and Fire (his own label) record labels and he's respected world wide as a major authority, I can't wait to spend countless hours searching for these new records, and I look forward to spending my inheritance on them. Sorry Dad !!
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5.0 out of 5 stars reggae bible 12 May 2014
By kfd
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
have discovered so much great new ( old ) stuff from this book. An absolute treasure whish everyone who likes reggae should have
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5.0 out of 5 stars Well-written and wide-ranging 27 Oct 2013
By Kerala
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
An enormous amount of information which has been presented coherently and entertainingly. It wasn't what I was expecting from my previous experience with the Rough Guides to Jazz and Rock, which have an alphabetical listing of bands and musicians. This Rough Guide tries to give some kind of narrative to the incredible growth of the Jamaican music scene, describing the development of different eras in a sequential manner. I was sometimes frustrated by the difficulty in tracing the story and major works of individual artists. The full picture emerges as you read the whole book. I highly recommend Trojan's cheap 40-track compilations as companion to ths.
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brilliant book lots of info on the history of reggae and al the various styles good recommendations of albums / Artists to listen to
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