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Bass Culture: When Reggae Was King by [Bradley, Lloyd]
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Bass Culture: When Reggae Was King Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Length: 582 pages Word Wise: Enabled

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Product Description

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 - which he has just left with editor Mat Snow to launch a new men's magazine in Autumn 2000. He is the author of Reggae on CD. He lives with his wife and two children in Kentish Town, London.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1838 KB
  • Print Length: 582 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (30 Aug. 2001)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002RI94PA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #166,595 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
I bought this book when it came out in 2001 and I was just starting to listen to reggae. 14 years later with a huge record collection and experience running reggae and dub nights at clubs it still has pride of place on my book shelf while all the other books I read on the same subject have disappeared to charity shops over the years. I must have read it in full 5 or 6 times, and still dip into it occasionally. For anyone remotely interested in the history of reggae music or modern electronic or dance music I would say it's an excellent buy. You can't understand drum and bass, jungle, house, hip hop or dubstep without appreciating the evolution of reggae and dub in the 60s and 70s.
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Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed this book.

Firstly, it is a very comprehensive, well researched book covering the period up to 1980 in great detail.

Secondly, it is related in a very good humoured, likeable way. Bradley is a great guide to all this - funny, enthusiastic and perceptive. Never pompous or dogmatic, unlike some other authors covering this period. This is by far the easiest and the best-written narrative of this type, and I've read a few in my time.

The book ends, as lots of other reviewers have mentioned, in about 1980. Subsequent years are covered in passing, but not in detail. For me, this isn't a massive problem - my interest peaked in the 70s and I'm happy to leave the story there. This might be a problem for younger readers though (god, HOW patronising do I sound??).

Plenty of great stories in these pages. I particualy loved the connection made between the music that came out of Jamaica with the political and other events during this period - one drove and inspired the other. Also enjoyed the sense of optimism and fun as independance dawned (but which soon faded however).

If you want a book covering this period, please get this one. There are a lot of po-faced serious tomes out there which might be more 'comprehensive' or 'definitive' but this is the one, the only one, you really need.
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Format: Paperback
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.
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Format: Paperback
Lloyd Bradley is to be congratulated for this most readable and informative book. This is a serious and carefully crafted book that obviously reflects the author's love of post 60s Jamaican music.
Each genre within the broad church that is 'reggae' is treated in an in-depth manner and is brought to life by interviews with the surviving artists. You can almost smell the herb.
Thankfully, the author manages to avoid a tribute to the might of Bob Marley, but steers his way deftly through the many artists that were actually appreciated by admirers of the style - whether they be in damp London clubs or Kingston lawns. As a result, the book provides a remarkable portrait and accurate social documentary of what, how and who created the form that is sweet reggae music.
Interspersed with vivid vignettes of street life of the time, the picture is one of struggle and sufferation as a nation evolves its own musical identity. The emphasis is on the period up to 1980, with detailed descriptions of the emerging sound systems, deejay culture and the influence of rastafarianism. The coverage of this era is fascinating.
The period of 1980-2000 is covered in relatively few pages, perhaps reflecting the author's dislike of the violent and slack world of ragga, gun culture and cocaine that this period evoked. If the book has a failing it would be the scant coverage of stars such as Shabba Ranks, Buju Banton and Terror Fabulous, to name a few. Although the violent overtones of this time may be open to derision, some of the music itself has an important place in modern day Jamaican youth culture - perhaps as much as roots did for the generation before.
For anyone interested in reggae music, its evolution and history Bass Culture is a must have immediate purchase. Congratulations to Lloyd Bradley.
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