Born OTD in 1947, Neville O’Riley Livingston, AKA Bunny Wailer. Jamaican singer songwriter, percussionist and was an original member of The Wailing Wailers. “The sufferation singles of that time threw up some true classics: Horace Andy’s ‘Skylarking’ was about the perils of a hardcore, unemployed sub-working-class; The Maytals’ ‘Time Tough’, subtly juxtaposed slavery with current hardships; Bunny Wailer’s ‘Arab Oil Weapon’ pulled few punches…”

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

Born OTD in 1940, Jamaican artist popular for rhythm & blues, ska rocksteady and skinhead reggae, Derrick Morgan. “When singers making songs like the one Derrick Morgan made that went [sings] ‘Rudie don’t fear no boy / rudie don’t fear’, it was because that rude-boy fearlessness was seen as an act of defiance” Jimmy Cliff.

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

Born OTD in 1948, Jamaican vocalist known for his distinctive vibrato and timbre, Ken Boothe. Boothe’s first solo tracks were recorded in 1966 after Clement “Coxsone” Dodd had signed him to his Studio One Label. He also recorded material for Phil Pratt and Sonia Pottinger the same year. He had almost immediate success with songs including “The Train Is Coming” (on which he was backed by the Wailers), the first, ska version, of later reggae song You’re No Good with the Soulettes.

With a blizzard of individual labels and a marketing strategy that involved selling product out of the backs of vans, … More

Born OTD in 1936, Jamaican music producer and inventor noted for his innovative studio techniques and production style, Lee ‘Sratch’ Perry. With more than 1,000 releases to Lee “Scratch” Perry’s name in some form or other, there is a wealth of material for fans and collectors to immerse themselves in, and here is the essential reference; an extensive, detailed, heavily illustrated guide to the records produced by Perry and those that hailed from his legendary Black Ark Studio

Innovator, genius, forward thinker, and trendsetter; there are few individuals who have stamped quite as unique a footprint onto the … More

In a music world that was rougher than rough, where men took monikers of royalty & machismo like Duke & King & Lord; where boastful ringleaders fired guns into the air after descending a throne carried by their legions of followers, bandoliers crisscrossing their chests, ermine on their shoulders; where violent gangs stormed dances to “mash up,” breaking sound system equipment & smashing bottles of beer on brick walls, how was a little girl with a sweet song in her soul to have a chance? Some Jamaican women found a way. They endured harassment & received little or no pay to perform as backup or alongside or in front of the male musicians.

They sacrificed family & home for a life in the spotlight, or they brought their babies with them on the … More

Born OTD in 1932, founding member of The Skatalites, Don Drummond. “Drummond entered Alpha Boy’s School when he was 9 years old… He demonstrated incredible proficiency on the trombone, a difficult instrument to master, and even at his young age during his school years, Drummond began to compose his own music”.

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

‘Sound Reasoning’ is a unique photographic journey through the Dancehall scene of the 1980’s with short excerpts from interviews Anna Arnone did with a whole host of artists from the scene. Coxsone, Saxson, Macka B., Smiley Culture are just a few of the names featured. Benjamin Zephaniah’s introduction to the book is very personal. He illustrates the importance of Sound System culture and just how powerful their pull was on the youth whose roots were in the Caribbean, especially Jamaica, and how integral reggae, MC’s and Dancehall were to the continuing tradition of the spoken word as a way of spreading news, storytelling and poetry.

The book also covers much of the background and history to the Sound Systems in Anna’s images of and words … More

Prince Buster was a Jamaican singer-songwriter & producer whose records released in the 1960s influenced and shaped the course of Jamaican contemporary music and created a legacy of work that would be drawn upon later by reggae and ska artists. This book is a mind-boggling discography devoted to the Jamaican releases of Prince Buster’s productions from 1961’s Oh Carolina by the Folkes Brothers to 1977’s Uganda by Yusuf Ali & The Revolutionaries.

The titles; A and B sides, are listed by year of release with matrix numbers and introductory notes for each … More

All that Thomas Horace Whitmer wants to do with the rest of his life is satta on Shacklewell Green. Born in the village of the shackled well in 1950 and living along the busy Pentonville Road in Islington for more than 40 years,Tom still visits the old village green on a regular basis, thinking hard & smoking furiously.

Fictional characters mingle with real people in this novel as Thomas Horace Whitmer, writer and proofreader for the music weekly … More

Spike the Gypsy is a man for all seasons, that is, except for August Bank Holiday weekends. He arrives in London from Kingston, Jamaica at the beginning of the 1950’s & lives in a slum tenement owned by the infamous landlord Peter Rachman at St Stephens Gardens in Ladbroke Grove. The Gypsy knows people from all over London: musicians from jazz clubs, high class society women, politicians for whom he performs small services, drug dealers & whores. He scrapes a living by selling marijuana, shoplifting, cat burglary & intermittent bouts of gambling. Other prominent characters are the journalist Betty Hayes, who works on the Tottenham & Wood Green Journal; an ingenuous adolescent named Frank Stokes, who lives in Dalston, in Hackney; & a middle-aged man called Marvin Cohen, the owner of a second hand record shop in Lower Cut, Waterloo.

Their lives intertwine with that of the Gypsy.  Spanning more than 60 years, the book discusses the London riots that … More