The Rough Guide to Reggae 3 (Anglais) Broché – 27 septembre 2004
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mais il s'agit d'un très gros travail tout de même dans la galaxie vaste du reggae
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Authors Steve Barrow and Peter Dalton possess an unrivalled knowledge of Jamaica's rich musical heritage and if you've ever bought any of the superbly remastered and repackaged reissue cds from Barrow's Blood & Fire label, you'll find the same care, attention to detail and love of the music in the pages of the Rough Guide.
The book chronicles the entire history of Jamaican music chapter by chapter, from the earliest beginnings to the sounds being made today; explaining when, how and why each new style developed, who made it happen and the background of continuing social change in Jamaica itself, which has always played a part in shaping the music. There are also excellent accounts of the evolution of reggae in the UK, the USA and Africa.
In each chapter the main text is supplemented by profiles of the major singers, groups, djs, musicians, producers, engineers, studios and promoters who came to the fore in that particular era, which often include interviews with the artists themselves. The accompanying discographies are well researched and can reliably be used to add to your record collection. There are over a thousand featured albums in the book, each of which is concisely reviewed, and although there's no rating system as such, the most important releases are highlighted as being essential for a particular artist or style. Such ratings are inevitably subjective, but if you follow these recommendations you won't go far wrong.
The Rough Guide is also well illustrated throughout with photographs and album artwork, and overall it's as comprehensive and accurate as it can be while remaining reasonably concise. I don't generally spend much time wading through books about music because theory (ie reading about it) is invariably much less enjoyable and informative than practice (ie listening to it), but I've found this one to be consistently useful.
If you have a few more dollars to spare I'd recommend that you also buy the wonderful 4 CD set "TOUGHER THAN TOUGH: THE STORY OF JAMAICAN MUSIC", so you can read and listen in parallel; and if you'd like to dig deeper into the subject try the excellent "BASS CULTURE: WHEN REGGAE WAS KING" by Lloyd Bradley. But the Rough Guide should definitely be your first book about reggae music and will probably be the only one you'll ever need.
Tougher Than Tough: The Story Of Jamaican Music
Bass Culture: When Reggae Was King
Since buying this book I've personally dropped a couple a grand on Reggae CDs, mainly on recommendations in this book or the Virgin Reggae guide. Overall, I'd say about 90%+ were worth my money. In this respect, the book has been invaluable to me. If you're a true fan of Reggae, it will be invaluable to you too.
Some of the criticisms leveled by other reviewers on this site are a result of unfair or misguided expectations. They are apparently disappointed that the book isn't an easy read, or an oral history of some sort. I think the best way to approach this book is to start with a particular style of Reggae that you're interested in (i.e., Roots, Ska, etc.) and dig in. Get some on the recommended CDs, and enjoy! Then move on to another chapter if you are so inclined.
One last plug for the author: Steve Barrow is the co-owner of Blood & Fire, currently Reggae's best reissue label. Buy everything you can get your hands with the B & F logo! - the stuff is worth its weight in ganja.
If you don't have any of the editions, which amazon sells all three, this is a great start as are the other two.