Back in stock after a long abscence, Heather Augustyn’s fabulous biography of Don Drummond. This is a comprehensive biography of a brilliant musician and his lover who forever shaped the course of ska, reggae, and popular music worldwide despite poverty, class separation, mental illness, racial politics, exploitation, and sexism that resulted in murder. Through the words of Don Drummond’s childhood friends, classmates, musicians, medical staff, legal counsel, and teachers, comes a first-hand story of his “unusual mind.”

They recall the early days in the recording studio, playing the instrumental backup for Bob Marley and others, and the … More

Now available in paperback, Akala’s ‘Natives : Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire’. A searing modern polemic from the BAFTA and MOBO-award-winning musician and political commentator, Akala. From the first time he was stopped and searched as a child, to the day he realised his mum was white, to his first encounters with racist teachers – race and class have shaped Akala’s life and outlook.

In this unique book he takes his own experiences and widens them out to look at the social, historical and … More

My Song is an inspiring story of performance and protest, from a superstar singer and actor who was on the front lines of practically every progressive political battle in modern memory. Along the way, he befriended some of the most influential figures of the 20th century, from Tony Curtis, Marlon Brando and Sidney Poitier to Martin Luther King, the Kennedys, Eleanor Roosevelt, Fidel Castro, James Baldwin, Bob Dylan and Nelson Mandela.

From his impoverished childhood in Harlem and Jamaica, through his meteoric rise as an international calypso star, provocative crossover into … More

Born OTD n 1915, Trinidad-born journalist & activist, Claudia Jones. As a member of the Communist Party USA & a black national feminist, Jones identified with black women’s oppression, known as triple oppression. Her focus was on “an anti-imperialist coalition, managed by working-class leadership, fueled by the involvement of women.” However, Jones was often considered more radical than Marx because she did not believe that capitalism was the only oppressor contributing to sexism and racism.

An elected member of the National Committee of the Communist Party USA (CPUSA), Jones also organised and spoke at events. … More

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