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 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

Born OTD in 1959, Happy 60th Birthday to Terry Hall. “We didn’t realise we were playing ‘ska’ – we grew up in a heavily Jamaican populated area, and we were referencing music we grew up with. We once played a gig to skinheads and found our audience by accident. We did venture to London, but none of the record companies were interested. They didn’t know who we were, so we formed our own label in Coventry” – Terry Hall.

Ska originated in Jamaica in the late Fifties and combined Caribbean mento and calypso with American jazz and rnb. Ska … 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

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

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

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

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