Born OTD in 1944, Bob Andy. Bob Andy was one of the founding members of The Paragons, along with Tyrone Evans and Howard Barrett, with John Holt later joining briefly before being replaced by Vic Taylor. Andy left after Holt rejoined and worked for Studio One delivering records and songwriting before embarking on a solo career.

Bob Andy is, arguably, reggae’s first serious songwriter. In the 1960s, when top ska and rocksteady acts were into covering … More

Born OTD in 1931, American novelist, essayist, editor, teacher and professor emeritus at Princeton University, Toni Morrison. Many people consider Morrison’s novels difficult to read. Most of her readers have at least one book on their shelves that they couldn’t finish or, when they did finish one, just scratched their heads in confusion. And when we think we are sure we know what she’s writing about, it turns out we are half wrong or only getting the tip of the iceberg instead of the whole, beautiful, brooding thing.

“Toni Morrison For Beginners” is about the woman, her books, her mission, her word music, and all that subtext in … More

James’s novel has been acclaimed as “a ground-breaking example of regional social realism” and as “a major forerunner of the Caribbean literary movements in English.” Many of James’s readers believe that it is not possible fully to comprehend Caribbean literary art in English without first reading Minty Alley. In the interactions of the characters of Maisie, Haynes, Mrs. Rouse, & Benoit, James discerns new forms of society rooted in the oldest of desires and aspirations. In the everyday language of the unforgettable dialogues in the novel James reveals new modes of human relationships.

Haynes, a young middle-class lodger at No. 2 Minty Alley, becomes both confidant and judge as he examines the other … More

Born OTD in 1963, English reggae singer & DJ known for his ‘fast chat’ style, David Victor Emmanuel, AKA Smiley Culture. Prior to his recording career he worked as a DJ with many of London’s reggae sound systems, most often with the Saxon Studio International system, where he met & worked with a number of other reggae artists, including Maxi Priest, Papa Levi and Tippa Irie. The conditions surrounding his death & the subsequent investigation were also questioned by members of the general public, his death often being considered in the context of police brutality & other black people dying in police custody.

‘Sound Reasoning’ is a unique photographic journey through the Dancehall scene of the 1980’s with short excerpts from interviews Anna … More

Born OTD in 1939, Jamaican singer and record producer, Derrick Harriott. “..Prince Buster in his Cincinnati Reds baseball cap appears next singing ‘Wash Wash’ surrounded by other singers including Derrick Harriott & Carlos Malcolm who steps off his trombone for a few vocals on the mic. The Maytals perform next with ‘Treat Me Bad’..

Operation Jump Up is the culmination of four years of research. The detailed historical narrative features dozens of interviews with … More

Born OTD in 1945, Jamaican singer-songwriter who became an international musical & cultural icon, Robert Nesta Marley. Blending mostly reggae, ska, & rocksteady in his compositions. Marley started in 1963 with the group The Wailers & forged a distinctive songwriting & vocal style that became popular with audiences worldwide. The Wailers released some of the earliest reggae records with producer Lee “Scratch” Perry.

Diagnosed with a type of malignant melanoma in 1977, Marley died on the 11 May 1981 in Miami at the … More

Born OTD in 1936, Lester Sterling, AKA Lester “Ska” Sterling. Like many Jamaican musicians of his generation, Sterling attended the Alpha Boys School. Originally a trumpeter, he is predominantly known as a player of alto saxophone. Sterling is a founding member of The Skatalites. After The Skatalites originally disbanded in 1965, Sterling played with Byron Lee & the Dragonaires and recorded several solo singles for the London-based producer “Sir” Clancy Collins.

Behind Jamaica’s musical reverberation lies the unlikely story of a boarding school run by Roman Catholic nuns and a brass … More

Born OTD in 1942, American professional boxer, activist, & philanthropist, Muhammad Ali. When Ali died, many mourned the life of the greatest sportsman the world had ever seen. In Redemption Song, Marqusee argues that Ali was not just a boxer but a remarkable political figure in a decade of tumultuous change. Playful, popular, always confrontational, Ali refashioned the role of a political activist & was central, alongside figures such as Malcolm X and MLK, to the black liberation & the anti-war movements.

The stunning new edition of Redemption Song by Mike Marqusee, includes a foreword by political sportswriter Dave Zirin. “One of … More

Born OTD in 1931, saxophonist and founding member of The Skatalites, Roland Alphonso. “..Coxsone maintains that his first-ever commercially minded session, with a band led by saxophone colossus Roland Alphonso, disappeared somewhere between the mastering rooms in New York and Kingston harbour”.

The first major account of the history of reggae, black music journalist Lloyd Bradley describes its origins and development in … More

Otis Redding remains a living presence in the canon of American popular music on the strength of such classic hits… As a singer, songwriter, bandleader, and arranger, Redding was the chief architect of the distinctly southern, gospel-inflected style of rhythm & blues associated with Stax Records in Memphis…

Yet, while Redding’s music has long served as the gold standard of 1960s soul, an aura of myth and mystery … More