10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Comprehensive history of reggae and Jamaican music, 10 Jan 2002
Lloyd Bradley has done an excellent job with this book of not just documenting the origins and developement of what came to be reggae music but also capturing the social and political backdrop in which it emerged. The text is comprehensive yet hugely readable and I would say is a must read for any reggae enthusiast. He seems very familiar with both Jamaica and it's people and exlains the various changes it has undergone in a fair and balanced way. He is to be commended for his unbiased and understanding approach to Rastafari and also his commentry on the islands politics where it is relevent.
The one criticism I would have, and I'm afraid to say it's a major one, is his focus on ska/roots reggae almost entirely to the near total exclusion of dancehall. The entire dancehall era must only comprise of 1/10 of the books text. He does not delve into the developement of the deejay style in the 80's, the move to digital rhythyms, nor the key players in this who made it happen. Instead he seems to unfairly focus on the slackness and gun-talk elements of certain dancehall records and how these were a backward step for the music. This may indeed be true but it is folly to write a book claiming to detail the entire history of Jamaican music yet ignore some of it's most important musical developements, merely because they happened to provide a platform for some unsavoury lyrics. In what he does say about dancehall it is mostly on the roots revival style and how it's a step in the right direction. You won't find me disagreeing but at the same time deejays like Sizzla or Capelton would not exist today if it wasn't for the pioneers of the 80's and early 90's.
All in all I have to say though it's a great book, very entertaining, very informative and hugely enjoyable. I would highly reccomend this book to anyone, I only wish it could have been as in-depth in dealing with the reggae music of the last two decades as it was with the previous two.