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on 11 August 2017
Illustrated encyclopedia. Just love it. My friends likes to study it too.
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on 21 January 2013
3 stars for the text, 4 for the pictures, 3 and a half stars overall, nudged up to four by the price.

Over the years Enclyclopedias of reggae artists have been mixed, to say the least. Colin Larkin's Guinness Who's Who and later Virgin Encyclopedia were a reasonable baseline, but with many errors. David Moskowitz's book repeated most of these errors and introduced some new ones, some of them shocking. Dave Thompson's 'Reggae & Caribbean Music' is far better in terms of quality but limited in scope regarding reggae. The Rough Guide is excellent on the history of the music but lacks detail on many of the artists. So now we have Mike Alleyne's attempt and having skimmed through it I would say that it isn't bad, and is certainly better in many respects than some that have gone before. Yes, there are some inexplicable exclusions (and inclusions for that matter) but at least what is in their comes closer to being correct than the previous books mentioned above. I would guess that he cast his net wider than some in terms of sources used for research. Having said that, given the ease of accessing information on reggae artists now that there is so much on the internet, his research could have been better. The 'Select Discographies' are probably best ignored, and the 'top 10' lists at the back should definitely be taken with a pinch of salt (Aswad's 'Don't Turn Around' one of the 50 best reggae singles of all time anyone? Thought not). Where this book really stands out from others is the visual side - it is richly illustrated with photographs and record sleeves, and it's one of the best looking books on reggae you can buy. Having said that, it would have been better without the picture of Native on page 198. Another plus for this book is the price - very good value at the 11 pounds or so that Amazon are selling it for - makes a nice change from some other books that are vastly overpriced. All in all, well done to Mr. Alleyne, and let's hope that there's a second edition with some of the problems fixed.
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on 31 December 2012
On the plus side the E of R disregards ragga and related garbage and skims dancehall Good call!(and take note Rough Guide - cut out the slackness and the digi!!) In fact it concentrates on the era I most like, 1970-85 I suppose. There's some really good photos and the layout is very sweet and interesting.
There has been a real shortage in the field since The Rough Guide was last updated way back in 2007. However...
Would any serious reggae lover give (much) more space to the history of Eddy Grant rather than Culture? And there is no rationale behind the 'select discography' Why only three Culture albums stated here? Other rubbish gets lists of albums, it appears scattergun to me, almost as if the writer were a bit clueless and that like.
It seems as though every minor British chart 'hit' merits a biography whilst The Gladiators for example rate not a mention! Shocking!
Personally I give little kudos to Greyhound and some of the other lame choices and would prefer Sinead O'Connors Throw Down Your Arms (excellent)or Prince Fatty rated.
The Lee Scratch Perry write up was okay but why hardly a mention of the Black Ark singles he produced For many, myself included, these are the pinnacle of not only his own but the entire reggae catalogue.
Clunkily written, there is an obsession with facts being verified. On these very grounds the author writes he has thus excluded Wailing Souls critique entirely!
I am a big big reggae fan and I still like the book despite it being poorly written but I feel a complete revision is needed if it gets another print run.
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on 3 June 2016
Great pics and info and a good read but there are some glaring omissions here - no mention of influential artists like Admiral Bailey, Courtney Melody, or the great Pluto Shervington...who in the 70s had three chart hits in the UK and turned lots of us on to reggae! Scant reference to the great Yellowman!
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on 8 April 2014
I suggest the title should be: "The illustrated encyclopedia of Reggae"... as the pictures of artists, record labels, studios, musicians, record shops etc. deserve a 5 star rating. Text is good, four stars I would say. But writing an encyclopedia is extremely diificult I can imagine, and I know a lot about the Jamaican music scene, so I can spot what's missing. Especially interesting are the 'sidebars' (multiple pages each) on interesting topics like 'rastafarianism', 'kingston' (with a great picture of the Channel One recording studio on Maxfield Avenue) and the important 'Chinese Jamaicans', who kept and keep the Jamaican music industry and export going. This colourful book belongs in every collection or on every coffeetable, just pick it up a few times a day and read a few pages. Cool and Relaxing!
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on 8 April 2013
I didnt realise this was the same format book as the punk encyclopedia...some great photos & informative text.....clearly a labour of love.
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on 26 March 2014
Though i have enjoyed reading about my fave musical genre i felt there was too much mainstream involved. In a section called 25 'roots' albums there were many whom i and i believe many others feel should not have been included. Having said that it is the Authors opinion; overall the book is a good read well illustrated and worth the price.
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on 23 October 2016
All Good
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on 20 September 2013
I enjoyed this immensly, I was brought up on some of the music mentioned and did not know alot of the facts.
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on 27 July 2014
Very good
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