Thursday, June 16, 2005

Bass Culture: When Reggae Was King

Big ups to the Ginger Ninjah for this review of Lloyd Bradley’s classic book, Bass Culture: When reggae was king.

Heavy with history, interview material and anecdotes, Lloyd Bradley’s book, Bass Culture: When reggae was king has enough in it to be homework for even the biggest reggae geek.

Bass Culture chronicles the development of reggae, from the early soundsystem clashes of the 1950s, to the emergence of ska, and rocksteady. The book then progresses to a fine section on roots and dub. Dancehall is also covered, albeit much more briefly than the previous sections, which perhaps is a reflection of the musical tastes of the author.

The strength of this book is that it is as much a social history as a musical one. Reggae is shown as a reflection of influences spanning hundreds of years; as a slave culture’s link to its homeland, with its musical roots in American R&B and African drumming, religious roots in the bible, and its ghetto genesis as a protest against colonialism, oppression and poverty. The book traces the many interactions between music, culture, economics, politics and history. As Prince Buster put it ‘…real life in Jamaica made the music happen’.

Added to this is a heap of information about all the big names, big tunes and big themes in reggae over the last fifty years. Ask for it in your local bookstore, or if times be hard in de ghetto, the Wellington library has two copies available with your card.


Anonymous Smokey Monsoon said...

Great review Ginjah. Wish my school teachers had given this book to me for homework in my school days!

3:47 PM  
Anonymous buka roots said...

nice review, could not ave put it better. big up

2:52 AM  

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