Joe Jurgensen is a lifelong Wailers and reggae fan, lover and collector. Within his collection of Wailers memorabilia, Joe has amassed an almost complete library or rather truthbrary of Bob Marley books. In 2009 after years of compiling Marley books, he published, ‘Bob Marley: The Complete Annotated Bibliography.’ He had help from many of his reggae friends around the world including his longtime Marley Mentor Roger Steffens, who wrote the foreword to the book. The book compiles all details & information including a synopsis and cover photo to over 400 Marley books. Joe’s Marley bibliography work continues on a daily basis and the second edition to his book is scheduled to be published in February, 2015.
In addition to his book, Joe has contributed Marley book related articles to reggae magazines such as The Beat and Riddim’. To date he has collected well over 400 books about the world’s most important musical figure. His book was the first of its kind and one he felt needed to be compiled and published to honor this great musician. In addition to Marley, Joe is also a committed Peter Tosh fan and was involved with Peter’s album ‘Live at the Jamaican World Music Festival’.
Half the story has never been told….
Author: a collaborative group of volunteers
ISBN: 9781488501999When you get a gift card for amazon.com and you want to spend it on something you wouldn’t normally spend your hard earned cash on, this might be the type book you go after. But!
It’s actually a pretty cool book. Whoever put it together did a hell of a job and they seemed to really separate the wheat from the chaff and present some solid entries. In a nutshell the book walks through the life and career of Bob Marley along with several (and I mean several) offshoots of his life. Such as sections on Gian Godoy and Lizzie Borden. The book is arranged in alphabetical order and moves along at a quick pace. This is part if a Wikipedia book series so all of the entires are from Wiki. When I ordered it with my Christmas gift card I was expecting some sort of small cheap type book but what I received was not that at all. It’s a rather hefty volume clocking in at 539 pages. So, here are the people that should buy this book; Marley book collectors, people just starting to learn about Bob, those wanting to know a lot more about Bob, those wanting a quick Marley reference guide at their finger tips and any other human who enjoys books.
#26 The Marley Manuscript: Bob Marley-The Works and Days of Bob Marley
Title: The Marley Manuscript: Bob Marley- The Works and Days of Bob Marley
Author: Deanne Hochstetler Lucey
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Year: July 31,2013
Last year there were a handful of Bob Marley books that were seemingly published out of the blue with little or no advanced warning-at least for me. The ‘Marley Manuscript’ is one of those books. In fact at first glance it’s hard to ascertain exactly what book’s about but look closer and you realize this is a terrific addition to an already bountiful Marley bibliography. The few available details about it say it was written over a 30 year period and much of it is in Jamaican Patois. Upon receiving my copy of the book, I noticed the details within the book were also slim. Besides the author’s name and a very quick passage about the interviews being conducted following the passing of Bob there’s not much else. No year, no city, no publisher and no page numbers. But what it lacks in bibliographic information, it more than makes up for in content. And no worries, although it is written in Patois, most readers should have no problem overstanding it.
The majority of the contents are transcriptions to interviews conducted shortly after Bob’s passing in 1981 with several of his close friends. It’s a snap shot in time that thankfully the author had the wherewithal to capture for the benefit of us now. The interviewees are Seeco, Tartar, Tommy, Richie, Lipp, Bunny Wailer and Bob’s cousin Sledger, They show a side of Bob that does not get captured in the already well documented story of Bob Marley. Sledger gives us a fantastic glimpse into the world of a young Bob running around Nine Mile being a kid. He shares recollections about their grandfather and what Bob was like growing up. We all know that Bob had nicknames such as Skipper, Skip and Gong but some may not know that Bob also had the nickname of Skabba or Skabee and Sample. Each person’s recollection pass on just a small slice of their Bob Marley memory pie. It’s people like the ones interviewed who have personal memories of Bob that could be told for a lifetime.
There is a nice section on Haile Selassie and Rastafari that I’m glad was included in the book. One part mentioned that Nostradamus made predictions about Selassie, the invasion by Italy and his ignored pleas to the League of Nations.
There is one fantastic photo of Bob that graces the front and back covers. The rarely seen photo of Bob is from a meeting he had with Michael Manley in 1979. It was culled from the Jamaican Gleaners archives. In addition to the interviews and recollections there are song lyrics and poems about Bob by various authors. Deanne Lucey, the author worked at the Jamaican Gleaner and was a visitor to 56 Hope Rd., where she was able to meet and befriend many of Bob’s relatives including the man himself.
All in all, it’s a unique and cool book and is welcomed with open arms into the Marley Truthbrary. The price is low enough that no Marley lover will break their bank buying a copy.
Recently Deanne Lucey took the time to answer a few questions for us at the Midnight Raver Blog.We want to give her a Big Up and thanks.
Deanne, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with all of us here at the Midnight Raver Blog. So where were you born and grow up?
I was born in Iowa and grew up in Hesston, Kansas, a little town. But when I got to Jamaica it became instantly my home. It just felt right. It took me years to learn patois.
When did you first start working for the Jamaican Gleaner?
I started writing for the Gleaner as a weekly columnist in 1990. I also wrote articles for the Gleaner, often about music
When did you first start to notice the sounds of Jamaican music?
I had first noticed the sound of Bob Marley in about 1975 in the Bahamas on a jukebox. It was “Chase those Crazy Baldheads”. The record in the jukebox was warped and the music affected, but there was no doubt I wanted to know more. That’s the first I heard Bob’s music.
You mention on the info page of your book that you used to go by Bob’s yard. What years were you stopping by there?
I was stopping by Bob’s yard from 1979 on.
What was the scene like?
It was a friendly vibe in the yard. There were all these ragamuffins who were important.
Did you have any opportunities to listen in on some of Bob’s reasoning sessions?
I listened in on some of Bob’s reasoning sessions there in the yard.
Do you have any particular fond memories of 56 Hope Rd. that you would like to share with our readers?
One time I was sitting under the mango tree, reading a book and Bob came down the stairs at 56 Hope Road, dressed in his training clothes. I pretended not to be looking. He went a few steps past me, then spun around with a big smile on his face. He looked at me as if to say “I knew you were watching me”. Sometimes Bob would be at the juicy juice stand and I would be there too. He leaned his locks against me and his backbone too. His vibe was so strong! I felt like my knees would give out.
After Bob passed in 1981, it seems you searched out some particular people to interview about Bob. What made you decide to go do that and document their memories?
After Bob passed the yard was just so sad. We all sat there, waiting for that central energy that was gone. So everybody wanted to talk about Bob so I just said I should get this down. All the interviews took place in the yard (56Hope Road) except for Tata and Tommy and I went to Trenchtown to look for them.I wanted the book to be like a Bible, a true account of Bob Marley.
Did you always have the intention of making into a book and when did you finally decided to complete the manuscript and publish it?
I had many things I went through and I was starting to think it wouldn’t ever publish. But in 2013 I decided I wanted to share the memories and completed the manuscript.
Did you always know that you would be putting it out yourself or did you entertain the idea of shopping it around to one of the Jamaican publishers?
I had shopped it around a bit in 1995 and no one was interested.
Well it’s their loss because it’s a fantastic book and one I’m happy to add to my Marley truthbrary. I would think getting the word out about it would be a difficult thing and hopefully something we can help with here at the Midnight Raver Blog. Are you making a push to get the word out or simply letting it spread organically?
I’m glad it’s out now, and I am letting it spread organically. Thanks for being a part of that, respects to Midnight Ravers.
Well thank you for taking the time to chat with us Deanne.
#25 12/2013 Remembering Peter Tosh
#22 5/2013 On the Road with Bob Marley: Mark Miller a White Knight in Babylon
Title: On the Road with Bob Marley: Mark Miller a White Knight in Babylon
Author: Mark Miller; Translation to French by Bruno Blum and German by Helmut Dierlamm
Year Published: France 2007, 2010; Germany 2011; U.S. 2013
Publishers: Scali 2007, Le Castor Astral 2010, hannibal-verlag 2011, Mark Miller/Theiconicimages.com 2013
Pages: 221, 208, 208, 220
ISBN: 9782350121666, 9782859208264, 9783854453499, 9780615760964
For nearly the past five years English readers have been deprived of a very revealing and important book in the Marley catalogue. Mark Miller, along with Dennis Thompson were the roadies, instrument techs, stage and sound managers for Bob Marley & The Wailers. Dennis worked the stage monitors and sound including the set-up of Carly’s drums while Mark handled all of the other instruments and amps including Bob’s guitar. After much thought (and prodding by friends and family including his son Harrison), Mark finally penned his story for book form. The first tour stop for publishing it was France in 2007. With the help of reggae authority Bruno Blum in France, Mark’s book was put into print and Wailers lovers have been fortunate ever since. The only problem for a guy like me and many others is that it was only published in France (twice) and once in Germany over the past five years. Although I’ve had all three editions in my truthbrary since publication, I’m unable to read them and therefore could not enjoy and experience the incredible journey Mark went on for nearly three years. The photos included in the book are fantastic but I always yearned to read the text.
Fortunately 2013 saw the first English publication of this page turning story. Mark has published the book himself and we are now able to get a front seat on the tour bus through Babylon. Mark recalls first meeting Bob and the rest of the band on a sunny July morning in 1978. He talks about going from show to show, setting up the stages and all that goes with it. This is the first time we BMW fans have been brought into that world and given a front row seat. We’ve had a manager, wife, friends and mother’s account, journalist’s recollections and interviews, and fantastic memories recalled by photographers but this is the first account by a tour insider who would have been involved in nearly day to day operations and dealings with Bob. Mark does a great job of guiding us through the 124 concerts he worked from July 14, 1978 through Sept 23, 1980. Mark gives his opinions and observations of how Bob and the other band members interacted and how life on the road was. Unfortunately, like so many other things in the world of Bob Marley it all got chaotic after Bob passed in 1981.
Along with his story Mark has packed this 15 chapter book with lots of other fantastic inclusions. Throughout the book are photos of Mark in various stages of work and lots of other photos of Bob and band members. The book also includes two interviews Bob did in 1980 including one of his last with Anita Waters at the Essex Hotel while in NYC with The Commodores. Both are excellent interviews that ask quality questions and get some really special and interesting answers by Bob. The book contains a discography which includes a large chronological list of the Marley “bootleg” CDs that have been produced by the dozens over the years. I actually find it interesting as I drift in and out of collecting those discs (the dime-a-dozen Lee Perry era CDs NOT live show bootlegs). Mark includes scans of several of his tour itineraries which are fascinating to read. Hey what can I say, we Wailers lovers and collectors want it all! The new English edition has a interesting interview with Mark by someone who seems to be from Germany. I don’t see the interview in the German edition but the German edition does contain the set lists from a few of Bob’s last shows. The French editions contain a short interview of Mark and interviews of Joe Strummer,Peter Tosh, Jimmy Cliff and Lee Perry by Bruno Blum.
In comparing the four editions it seems they all contain the same content as far as Mark’s story but each edition has its own uniqueness and completely different layouts. The basic layout follows Mark from the beginning of his affiliation with BMW through the Stanley Theater show and beyond. He had stepped back into the fold working with The Wailers Band for several years after Junior asked him to come aboard. The book then goes into all of the fascinating final chapters.
As a reader, the most impressive part of the book is Mark’s brutal honesty. Mark gives his thoughts on each band member which is certainly an interesting part of the book. He says it exactly as he saw and experienced it. This honesty is what allows the reader to get a better feel for what was going on and the personal dynamics that existed within this group of virtuoso musicians.
Bottom line is that this a great book and must have addition for you Marley book collection. Go buy a copy!
Mark was kind enough to take some time and answer some questions for the Midnight Raver Blog. We want to send him a BIG Up and many thanks and praises! A great sign of thanks in return would be to purchase a copy of his book (it’s very inexpensive) and go on a fantastic tour. I’ll link to places to buy copies after the interview.
Thank you so much Mark for taking the time to chat with us. After all of these years what was the tipping point to make you decide to put pen to paper and tell your story with Bob and The Wailers?
“Well, for a long time it just never occurred to me that I had something to add to the mystery of Bob Marley. My kids just used to think I was Santa Claus as I went away on tour for up to nine months a year, and came home every so often with a bag of presents.. So after they grew up my younger son Harrison said to me, “Hey dad, with all these books about Marley, none of them tell what is was like inside the camp, or on the bus, so why don’t you write about it”… That kind of clinched it, as I had a lot of my friends over the years telling me I should do it too. Et voila, here it is, “On the Road with Bob Marley” is what came of it all, and I’m kind of happy with the way it turned out. I’m a very straight and honest guy, so I shared with readers my story, myinsights, and my heart as to what it was really like being part of Bob Marley & the Wailers crew. I can tell you there are some brutally honest things in the book, and some of the band might not appreciate it but it is all extremely revealing, and brutally honest.”
How did the association with Bruno Blum in France come about? So, did Bruno take your manuscript and translate it into French?
“Bruno and I have known each other for many years, and he’s always been around a lot of the shows I work at. He was another inspiring soul who pushed me into doing the book. Bruno added a lot to my manuscript and yes, he did do the translation. He also added some sections at the back of the French Edition which while I understand why he added them, I was not entirely happy with the result as it seemed to take away from the thrust of my story, but that is not to say it made it any less interesting. Quite the contrary.”
Do you speak or read French? Were you ever able to read your own book or even review it?
“My wife Florence is French, and I do speak a little of the language and also understand a lot more than I can speak it. However, to answer your question, no, I did not read the French version ( I looked at all the pictures we put in it!) and with the German edition I’m able to understand the translations a lot more. To be honest, the book took a lot of soul searching and there were a lot of interested publishers asking for the ‘dirt’ on Marley, i.e. about drug use or girls.. And I would not, ever, talk about anything but the positive things Bob did to further his cause, and his music.”
A second edition was published in France in 2010. How did it come about that another publisher wanted to publish the book?
The world is a big oyster.. There are people in France who wanted to read it, and in Germany too. So I went with the best people we could find. In the USA, I’ve just published the book in English myself. It’s pretty good now, although there are some typo errors which unfortunately the editor did not catch and I did not proof it.. Writing the story was hard enough. We are now talking to some Spanish, Portuguese, Indonesian and additional language publishers. Marley is still the biggest reggae star there is, and this book is the only one so far from someone inside the group willing to say what it was really like..”
It seems to me that the foreign book publishers put a lot of love into their books and publish quality books. How was it dealing with your three foreign publishers? Do you feel like you were getting a fair deal with the publishers?
“In the current economic times, I gave myself the same advice I give to my music artist clients. Finding a deal is tough enough, and when you do find one, work hard, deeply and honestly to get what you need. You might not get what you want, but you can always find what you need.. Otherwise, the story, and a lot of artists CDs would be sitting in a box somewhere waiting to see the light of day…”
I can’t imagine the book has a huge distribution outside of France (if any) so I’m curious to know how well the book sold in France. How many French readers are out there who will buy a book of this nature?
“You would be surprised… There are a lot of Marley and reggae fans in France..”
Did Bruno help put all of the memorabilia photos together or did you have a lot of those ready for inclusion?
“80% of the material came from me, plus stuff from friends of mine like Alberto Baschieri, Emmanuel Parata, and Ivan Serra..”
Those are three great guys and friends. They do incredible work in the world of Wailers documentation. The first edition of your book used the concert poster from the July 18, 1978 show in Santa Cruz but the second French edition of your book utilized the iconic photo of Bob back stage in California taken by Roger Steffens. How did it come about to use Roger’s photo?
“Roger and I have known each other since 1979. He is one of the most wonderful people on this earth. He and I try to get together whenever we’re in the same city, and when I asked him for a photo to use, he gladly gave permission for that photo. It’s on the second edition French version, the German version and now on the English version too…”
I could not agree more about Roger. He is a dear friend and an incredibly kind soul. A legend himself in the reggae world. So, how did the German issue come about?
“I was introduced to Monika Koch who is the head of Hannibal Publishing in Germany by a friend of mine named Peter Sehm. Monika took one look at the story and said “we have to have this!”… The rest, well, you’ve seen the great job they did on the book. Personally, so far I think the best version is this German one, next to my own English version of course!”
Do you know how well it has sold?
“Depends on where you are asking about.. In France I think it did okay, in Germany, Switzerland and Austria we’ve already cleared the advance so they must be doing things right, and we’ve just released the English version at www.reggaefestivalguide.com/marleybook this past week.”
It’s great to know they sell so well. As a Marley bibliophile that makes me extremely happy. I know I’ve been pestering you for the past few years on the publishing of an English edition. I’m sure others have as well. What finally happened to make an English edition available?
“I could not wait any longer as too many people were asking when the English version was coming out, so I got up off my arse and published it myself!”
When you put out the English edition did you use your original manuscript or did you try to translate back into English what had been translated into French and German?
“We used my original English manuscript, and added extra images and memorabilia to make it the “Special Edition” for all the English readers..”
I can’t say it enough, it’s a great book. I have a lot of books about Bob and yours is way up there fe sure. Are there any future plans for the book as far as book signings or things of that nature?
“I’ve just signed a new deal with a major digital publisher and we’re in the midst of discussing this exact subject. I love to go around the world anyways so I’ve told them I’m up for anything and everything we can do to promote the book, including book signings, TV shows, radio etc”
Good News! Is it nice to know that there is a large audience who loves to learn more about Bob and especially his shows? There are several fans who have livicated their lives to documenting everything they can about as many shows as possible.
“Yea, there are some really ‘deep’ people out there who have to know everything there is to know about Bob.. Well, I’ll share with you and them there is some stuff in this book thatnobody outside the camp knows..”
Is it strange to see how Bob has become an almost godly figure to so many people? You knew him when he was just a struggling artist going from gig to gig trying to spread his message.
“When I joined on July 14th 1978, the group was just beginning to do bigger shows, bigger halls and venues. By the time Bob got sick and we had to cancel the last American tour on Sept 23 1980 in Pittsburgh, we were doing football stadiums and filling them. So you can guess how things took off. Bob’s music and message will never die. It will never stop. It is something like the words from a Bible which will never ever die until time stops…”
Would you be surprised by the attendance of some shows?
“The only time I think we all were really surprised was in Italy when about 180,000 kids turned out for the show.
Did Bob ever discuss attendance or the type of audiences he was attracting?
“No direct words were spoken that I can remember but to be honest, the Marley audience as is the reggae audience of today are mainly white, middle class, disaffected kids..”
Did you ever get involved with actual tech stuff as far as working on Bob’s guitar etc. or was it mainly all speakers and stage set-up?
“ I was responsible for Bob’s guitar while we were on the road as well as most of the stage equipment. Dennis Thompson handled all the monitors and front of house sound set up while I took care of the stage..”
Since you handled Bob’s guitar did you change his strings?
Yes, I was responsible for this.
Do you recall what strings he preferred and possibly the gauge?
“After all these years, to be honest I do not remember exactly the type, but they were probably Ernie Ball strings. And the way Bob got the great ‘scratch’ sound you all hear, was the strings were like piano wire! The low E was something like a .49 gauge string or something like that. I don’t recall the exact sizes but the guitar was strung very heavy on the string gauges. I probably could find some old paperwork in the boxes in my cellar to give you the sizes, but suffice to say the strings were all very heavy gauge. And he used to hold the pick and use the side of the pick to pull it across the strings, giving you the real “chuck a chucka” sound on all the records… A very unique way of playing I can tell you…””
Would his Les Paul always come back with him to his hotel room or did Bob bring a hotel room acoustic guitar?
“Yes. I would take the guitars always with us wherever we went. And in regards to the acoustic question, it was not until he got the Ovation acoustic in l980 that he carried one. That Ovation is the guitar I first heard him play “Redemption Song” on. We were at a rehearsal in Miami just before starting a tour and a German film crew came to film an interview. Bob came into the rehearsal room carrying this brand new Ovation and they all started talking. the film crew set up, and Bob pulled up a chair, sat down, and began singing Redemption. This is a piece of history that the German’s actually have in an interview on film.. It was the very first time we all heard that track.”
“Only in heated discussions when he would refer do ‘dem who tried to kill me, dem not succeed, God not let dem succeed’..
Is there a memory from your time with Bob that you would like to share with us?
“Bob Marley was one of the most genuine, talented, kind and respectful men I’ve ever met. And in this crazy reggae business I can tell you there are not a lot of people who even come close.. I work with a lot of artists now, and luckily I am in a position to be able to choose artists. And I choose them on the model of Marley. By this I mean these artists now have an honesty, grasp of business, talent, and drive that Bob had. I’m now managing or representing artists like Lucky Dube’s daughter Nkulee Dube, Warrior King, Don Carlos, Turbulence, my “Tosh Meets Marley Tour’ with my pal Fully Fullwood. These are the type of people like Bob. No ego crap. Just hardworking musicians with a message and music.. Be positive, that is what it is all about… “
If you had to describe what kind of a person Bob was off the stage and with no journalists or photographers around, how would you describe him?
“Fun loving football player.. jahaahaahaaah MM”
Where is the best place for our readers to buy a copy of your fine book?
Thank you so much Mark for taking the time to chat with us and our readers here at the Midnight Raver Blog and for putting your very important story into print. It’s another aspect of Bob’s life that needed to be documented. Is there anything else you would like to add?
“Love and bless always to all your readers, and thanks for keeping the music alive…Love and bless, MARK”
Love and Blessings right back at you Mark!
Below are the links to purchase Mark’s book. I encourage everybody to buy a copy. The price is extremely affordable and once a major publisher picks up the English edition, Mark edition will become an instant collector’s item.
English Edition BUY
German Edition BUY
2nd French Edition BUY
1st French edition (one copy available at this link-hardest of them all to find) BUY
Interview of Mark by the Wailers News. This is the interview that’s in the French editions HERE
“Not I, but the Most High in I”
One of my favorite books is ‘Joseph A Rasta Reggae Fable’ by Barbara Makeda Blake Hannah. The third edition of the book has just been published and Barbara was kind enough to take some time and discuss it with the Midnight Raver Blog. Barbara is a Jamaican author, journalist and filmmaker. She has written several books on topics that include Rastafari, reggae and home schooling. Barbara was an instrumental leader in Jamaican home schooling making history with her own son who was appointed Youth Technology Consultant to the Jamaican Government at age 13. Following the interview is a profile of the book and plenty of links for Barabara.
First off Barbara, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us here at the Midnight Raver Blog and to share your story with our reggae loving readers.
It’s both a pleasure and an HONOUR to be in touch with Midnight Raver. I don’t know how come we are just meeting, given the mutual interest we share in our beloved brother, Bob Marley, but everything in its own time, so JAH say.
Well it’s nice to finally link up. Where were you born In Jamaica and where did you grow up?
I was born in Kingston to a well-off Black Jamaican father, a magazine editor, and grew up there. Went to a very posh high school in the country first, then back to Kingston to graduate around the time of Jamaican Independence. Worked with my Dad as a journalist, then as a PRO in an advertising agency.
I understand you moved to the UK in 1964 then back to Jamaica in 1972 and that’s when you found the way of Rastafari. Before you left Jamaica, were you aware of The Wailers and their burgeoning career at Studio 1?
When I left Jamaica, I knew little about Jamaican music. It was the time of rock-n-roll and my musical heroes were Fats Domino, the Platters and the white pop stars like Elvis, Pat Boone, Bobby Darrin. I was very ‘Uptown’ and the early music was considered ‘Downtown’ and not for ‘nice young ladies’ like I was supposed to be.
While in England I got to know my Jamaican music. I knew some of the people around Chris Blackwell in the early days of Island Records, people like Millie Small, the actress Esther Anderson and Sally Densham who married Perry Henzell. I once went to the airport with a friend to pick up Jimmy Cliff just arriving in England to work with Island. While I was working in PR in London, I remember my English secretary asking me to translate the words of Desmond Dekker’s “Double O-Seven Shantytown” and I could hardly overstand the words! I was really removed from my culture, didn’t even know it existed.
While in the UK during the late 60′ and early 70’s do you recall hearing any of The Wailers music?
I didn’t hear any Wailers music till I got back to Jamaica in 1972. My first real exposure to reggae was in 1971 with the movie.THE HARDER THEY COME. I was working as an Assistant Producer on the BBC-TV show ‘Man Alive” and we had just come back from doing a documentary on the Cannes Film Festival, when Chris Blackwell called and asked me to be the PRO for the launch of Jamaica’s first feature film. I sat and watched the film and heard the treasures of reggae pounding under the most incredible story about a side of my own country I didn’t know, and it blew my mind. Here was some beautiful, unique, original, spiritual music, and I could hardly dance to the beat! It wasn’t until I had seen the film several times and heard the music, that I finally found the ‘one drop’ beat in Toots song “Pressure Drop”. That was the first time I overstood myself as a JAMAICAN. It made me want to leave England immediately and re-connect with my country, so I did just that. I packed up and left England for good.
Before you left, do you remember hearing about Bob Marley and Johnny Nash in 1971 or the Wailers in72′ when they would have been playing select shows in England?
Never went to a Marley show in England. These happened after I came home.
What made you check into Rastafari when you returned to Jamaica?
Even before I came home, I was checking Rastafari. I had lived in England during the conscious-raising Sixties, when the Beatles made Swinging London, Angela Davis ran the Black Power Movement, the Hippies led anti-Vietnam-war movement of “Make Love Not War”. They had all influenced my growth, so by the time I saw THE HARDER THEY COME and the Rastafari culture in it, I could see Rasta as the logical progression of my socio-spiritual education and life.
In your first book ‘Rastafari: The New Creation’ you have a fantastic chapter on your relationship with Bob. You first met Bob and the band in 1972 and got better reacquainted in 74′. Do you remember noticing a change in Bob in those two years?
When I came home at the end of ’71, Blackwell asked me to take some US music journalists on a tour of Kingston and to meet a new group he had just signed. I went up to 56 Hope Road and was introduced to Bob Marley by my old friend Esther Anderson, who was his girlfriend at that time. The Wailers had had some local hits and were known locally, but this was the early years before Bob’s locks grew and he became world famous. Bob never changed, ever. That’s why it’s sometimes amusing, and always shocking to see how famous this ordinary man, our friend, became. He always was the same man, humble, funny, strong, warrior, thoughtful, spiritual, down-to-earth. Never changed.
You recall a time when a group of you were hanging outside of Hope Rd. and Bob started to sing and sing. Can you please tell us more about that moment? Was Bob laying down on his car or sitting? How long did this last? Was he singing songs you were familiar with mixed in with new songs or improvised lyrics?
I worked at the Office of the Prime Minister in the 70s, which was two steps away from 56 Hope Road, and I lived within walking distance, so I would stop at Bob’s on my way home some evenings. It was one such evening and Bob and his bredrin were around the back reasoning and smoking and enjoying life. Bob just picked up his guitar – Dermot Hussey was there – and said: “See some new songs I am working on…” and just started to play, song after song, music after music, some complete, some just snatches, like water flowing from a river. When we all just marvelled, Bob just smiled and shrugged of the praise, saying: “Not I, but the Most High in I”. It’s a phrase I’ve never forgotten and used often since then, because it says exactly where anything worth praising comes from. I don’t know which songs they were, or if any of them ever became songs we know. It was just a very special moment as the dusk shadows dropped on a beautiful Rasta evening.
It’s an amazing story and experience, thank you for sharing it with us. Were you ever present for any band rehearsals? If so do you recall any specifics or special moments?
Once I was in the Hope Road studio while he and Rita and the band were recording “I’m A Black Survivor” and he was finding the lyrics for the lines: ‘Some people got hopes and dreams, some people got ways and means.’ When he was satisfied, he decided to take a rest, so he lay down on the ground in front of the stool I was sitting on. He slept for a while, when Neville Garrick came up to me and started talking. Bob woke up, and I got a feeling like a little lion had jumped out of my lap and stood up. I remember it clearly, like he had put his spirit to rest in my lap as he slept.
When was the last time you saw Bob?”
I had a job as PR for the City of Kingston and had suggested, among other things, that the Keys to the City be given to Harry Belafonte, Ranny Williams (a beloved actor/comedian in his last days) and Bob. The answer came back: “Yes to Bob Marley if he will cut his hair and stop smoking ganja.” I sadly had to give Bob their answer, because I had come to him before to ask if he would accept the Keys if I recommended him. He had agreed “Jus’ because is you ask me, Barbara.” It was the last time I saw Bob. He had some visitors (a famous musician who was in awe of meeting Bob — forget his name). Then he played some football, Bob as usual against the rest of the men on the field, and Bob as usual the BEST player on the field. Then he sat down to rest and read from the autobiography of Emperor Haile Selassie. “You read this yet, Barbara?” he asked. I had not. “What?” he was astonished, but smiling. “You fi read it, Sis.” When I had to leave, he called someone and told him to drive me home. “Carry her whichever part she wan’ go!” were his instructions to the man and the last words I heard from Bob.
Did you also get to know Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer or any of the other band members?
I got to know Peter after he left the Wailers. I lived close to him up in Red Hills above the City, and sometimes he gave me a ride down hill. But Peter was a very closed person, especially after his beautiful girlfriend died in a car crash – driver going the wrong way down a one-way street. Peter was devastated for more than a year, then he just grew very sad, other than when he was performing. He wasn’t easy to be close to, like Bob was. I didn’t get to know Bunny till in these late years.
You second book (and the one we want to really spread the word about here) is ‘Joseph-A Rasta Reggae Fable’. I won’t give the story away to our readers but in a nutshell it is a fantastic fable about Joseph,a Third World reggae star who gains worldwide fame and then fades off into the African sunset. Marley fans will easily recognize the parallels between the book’s character and the life of Bob Marley. Except for the end unfortunately. What made you decide to write a book of this nature as opposed to a more intimate Marley biography based on your own experiences with Bob and reggae?
A lot of people have written Marley biographies and assessments of his work, but I haven’t read any that show the Rasta side of Bob. They can show lots of red,gold and green icons, Bob’s photos, performances and interviews, but they can’t explain what it was that made this Rastaman so enormously successful. Dylan and Springstein have had hits and become famous, but none have overtaken the world as this dreadlocks Black Rastaman. Only a Rasta can explain it. As Bob says, “Who feels it, knows it.”
The Rasta side of Bob is the secret of Bob’s success. When you are Rasta, you know how the knowledge gives you access to great powers, great spiritual awareness, and out of that, great success. People outside Rasta can only look on and marvel, but it’s necessary to come within to fully OVERstand Rasta. So I decided to write a book about Bob from inside a Rasta mind. Each Chapter begins with a Bible verse, not just to refer to what is coming and what inspired the chapter, but to bless it and to make sure I kept the fullness of Rastafari within it.
I also wrote it because I WISH Bob’s life had gone more like the story. I wish Bob had made a pilgrimage to Lalibela, even to Ethiopia in his lifetime. He would still be alive, I think. And I wish Bob had been taken to warm, healthy, herbal Jamaica to recover, rather than to icy cold, dark Germany (not my favourite European country!) and to a former Nazi scientist a.k.a ‘doctor’. He would definitely still be alive. It seems to me, looking on from the start in 1972 to today, that Bob’s life got taken over by the merchandising department, consisting of people who knew nothing whatever about Rastafari, only about money. All the Rastafari power that could have protected his life, was removed from around him and in its place were the weirdest assortment of hangers-on persuading Bob to follow the Babylon road of sex, drugs and rock-n-reggae. I say in the livication to my book that it is ‘… what could have been, and what should have been…”
How long did the writing process take?
I started writing it just after my son was born, writing by pencil and lamplight, hoping it would become a best-seller and provide me income to be the stay-home Mom I intended to be. It took me about 4 years to complete, from handwritten, to typed on paper, to finally text on a computer. And It hasn’t yet become a best seller, but it has fed us a few meals 🙂
How did you decide to publish it through your own company as opposed to shopping it around?
I tried to get a publisher in Jamaica, but no one was interested. This was in the days before the internet where you can look for international publishers, or even make a digital copy. So I got the money to pay the printer, and lo! JOSEPH came to life!!
The second printing was published in 1992 and had a completely new cover. Why was the choice made to create a new cover?
I found that potential buyers didn’t overstand the lettering or artwork of the first cover although I loved it. Then I got Tekla Ab (Thorold DeMercado) to do illustrations for the second edition, and decided to use one of them as the cover.
How did the idea come about to include those illustrations by Tekla Ab?
By the time I published JOSEPH, I had published “RASTAFARI – THE NEW CREATION and found that people loved it because it had so many illustrations. I remember when books of old used to have illustrations that gave you pictures from the story, so I decided to do that. I still think that’s the best edition of the book.
Do you recall how many copies of the first edition and second printing were made?
I printed 500 copies of each edition. I personally went around the island trying to get it into shops. Then Novelty Trading Company, the island’s only book distributor, took some copies as they were starting up a section for books by Jamaicans to go with their Jamaica postcard section, so they took copies and put them in their outlets in tourist resorts and the airport. Most people bought copies at the airport or their hotel, but copies were sold at the leading local pharmacies and bookstores.
At the time did it catch the attention of any media in Jamaica or abroad?
I got a review in the GLEANER, which was then the only newspaper, and a photo of one of my book signings at a local hotel. Other than Rasta message boards, the book went virtually unnoticed outside Jamaica.
Fast forward 14 or 15 years and MacMillan Education approaches you I assume, to publish a new edition of the book. How did that come about?
Novelty was impressed with the sales of both my RASTAFARI book, and now JOSEPH. It was they who recommended the book to MacMillan, who publishes most of the Caribbean’s school textbooks, as well as some literature.
What was is like to be contracted with a large publishing company like that?
It wasn’t a good experience. First of all, it took them 3 years from signing the contract to publication. I regretted the time wasted just as interest in the book had been building up. Then, worst of all, they published the book with a cover I had not approved. Approval of the cover was in my contract and they sent me artwork which I approved. Then they sent the finished book to me with a cover I had not even seen! They had removed the pictures of the Emperor and the flag from the artwork, splashed white paint in the center and – worst of all – changed the dreadlocks man’s hair into the hair of an Asian man. It made the book look like a cheap, amateurish rip off book by someone trying to capitalize on Rasta and I knew the book would not sell well with that cover.
I protested, but MacMillan said IF the 2000 copies they had printed sold off, they would change the cover for the next printing. Needless to say, by the time my contract with them was over, more than half of their print run had not been sold. I think they pulped the rest, I know they got Jamaica to send them back any remaining copies. Needless to say, I could not afford to sue them, so I have just had to suck it up and wish them a reward of their evil.
The cover I originally approved is the cover I am using on this new edition. Since they never used it, there’s nothing stopping me. I rather hope they sue me, so I can bring out the whole story in court and get compensated.
So here we are in 2013 and you just published the third edition of this great book back again on your own imprint, Jamaica Media Productions. What made you decide to publish it again through JaMedia Productions?
I have been a writer all my life, made my living all my life from the things I have written. My books are the only remnants of that life, and the only pension I have in my old age, so I will continue to re-publish and market them as my main source of income – however small it is. They are also the legacy I leave to my son and his children, so now that books can be published digitally so easily, it’s time to upgrade all my publications and make sure they are available for people to read.
How do you feel right now about the state of Bob Marley’s legacy and the publishing of your book at this particular moment?
I hope my book reminds some people of what the Red, Gold and Green culture used to be like in the early days, in the glorious Rasta Reggae Seventies. I am sad that Bob is not remembered today as a Rasta pioneer for Black repatriation to Africa (EXODUS) and as a teacher of the Rastafari faith (HAILE SELASSIE IS THE CHAPEL). Instead he is remembered as the man who asked Blacks and Whites to love one another because he was both Black and White – a good message, but not as complete as the strength of the Rasta message he brought to the world – JAH LIVE. Bob is now little more than a merchandising symbol to sell Babylon products and albums of his more uncontroversial songs. You hardly ever hear “Johnny Was a Good Boy” or “Three O’Clock Road Block” or “Small Axe” played these days. Only “One Love” and “No Woman No Cry”. “Small Axe” is one of the most revolutionary songs to ever come out of reggae. Peter Tosh now seems to be rememered for more Rasta Psalms than Bob (IN THE BEGINNING, CREATING SOLDIERS FOR JAH ARMY, VAMPIRES, etc) because of the songs now being played. Peter’s revlutionary spirit is not being hidden by his management.
Bob was a revolutionary to us while he was here, he was a Steve Biko, a Malcolm X and a Huey Newton, so it’s sad to see a life-size picture of Bob in a Niagara Falls convenience story selling energy drinks beside the condom rack. I would have expected the Million$$$ he left behind to be funding an international Rasta bank, Rasta businesses, Rasta resorts, Rasta books, Rasta schools, Rasta travel agencies…. But instead, Bob is just another brand name now, a business, and it diminishes his status as a Black Hero and Rasta teacher. Yes money is good, but Rastafari already showed I&I to avoid Babylon’s money trap that Bob is sunk in now. Bob’s money was his blessing from JAH for the world, not just for his children’s children, or for the music business moguls to become billionaires.
There is a trailer for a movie of JOSEPH on youtube (the link is below after the book profile). Can you tell a little more about it?
People have said JOSEPH should be made into a movie, and as a film maker, I would love that to happen. I got some funding to make a trailer in the hope of interesting investors, and the script is ready for such a blessing. I have Lennox Lewis, Earl Chinna Smith, Tarrus Riley among other, ready to star in it, so I hope there is an interested producer reading this.
I can say is that JOSEPH is one of Roger Steffens favorite books, it’s one of mine and I know many others who absolutely love it. So on behalf of all our readers here at the Midnight Raver Blog and Marley book lovers worldwide we thank you for your time. We also thank you for writing and publishing this great story. Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers or a place where they can find out more information about you and your works?
I have a personal Facebook page, and also a page each for my books RASTAFARI – THE NEW CREATION’, ‘GROWING OUT – Black Hair & Black Pride’ – my autobiography about early life and years in England, and ‘HOME – THE FIRST SCHOOL’ advice and information gained from homeschooling my son Makonnen.
I am totally humbled to know that my book is so highly regarded by you all at Midnight Raver. I can’t thank you enough for the exposure here and now, and the encouragement that the work was well done. Giving nuff Thanks and Praise, as Bob would say, “Not I, but the Most High in I.”
#21 3/2013 Joseph A Rasta Reggae Fable
Title: Joesph- A Rasta Reggae Fable
Author: Barbara Makeda Blake Hannah
First Edition: 1991, Jamaica Media Production, ISBN: 9768091118
Second Printing: 1992, Jamaica Media Production, ISBN: 9768091118
Second Edition: 2006, Macmillion Education, ISBN 140506143x
Third Edition: 2013, Jamaica Media Productions, ISBN 1482678896
Most Bob Marley books fit into one of the standard categories such as biographies, photography or songbooks. But fortunately one in particular that creates its own category is ‘Joseph- A Rasta Reggae Fable.’ As the title suggest it is a fable about Joseph, a “fictional” reggae musician from the Third World who rises up to worldwide fame only to ride off into the African sunset. Sound somewhat familiar? Written by the wonderful Barbara Makeda Blake Hannah and first published by Jamaica Media Productions Ltd. In 1991 this book has had three editions published to date. The first edition and second printing were both published by Jamaica Media Productions and each has its own beautiful artistic cover. Macmillian Education out of Oxford, England published a second edition in 2006. Jamaica Media Productions has just published the third edition. It is now an easy book to find and one I highly suggest to all Marley lovers. After my first read, it instantly became one of my favorites. For those that know the Bob Marley story the fable will flow right along but Barbara will always throw in a few surprises for you. It’s a happy ending and one I wish could have been a reality.
Barbara Makeda Blake Hannah is a Jamaican author, journalist and filmmaker. She has written several books on topics that include Rastafari, reggae and home schooling. Barbara was an instrumental leader in Jamaican home schooling making history with her own son who was appointed Youth Technology Consultant to the Jamaican Government at age 13 years.
Title:Bob Marley Reggae King of the World
Pages:200; 2013 edition has 208 pages.
Are you in search of a essential Bob Marley book from Jamaica loaded with tons of Jamaican flavor? I thought so. Well, you probably already have a copy but if not, the book for you to get is ‘Bob Marley Reggae King of the World’ by Malika Lee Whitney and Dermot Hussey. First published in 1984 by Kingston Publishing, it has been licensed to publishers in the U.S. (E.P. Dutton, Pomegranite), UK (Plexus), Japan (Daiei ) and Germany (Minotaurus Projekt). The publishers have published several different editions and printings over the years but all (besides Japan) have kept the original look. The cover, spine and contents have been identical. Until now! LMH Publishing (formerly Kingston Publishers) has put a new look to this classic book in addition to new content. The book with the new look just hit the shelves on Feb 18th and may only be “easily” available in person in Jamaica for the time being. Hey, great excuse for a trip to Yard. You can also order the book online through LMH’s website (see link below).
Now about the book for those of you who have never seen a copy. It’s a great book that has always been heralded as a classic. It contains tons of photos of Bob, Jamaica and roots in general. The book includes several photos from Bob’s state funeral as well as live and candid photos. The bulk of the book centers around original interviews of Bob, Rita, Mother B, Family Man, Neville Garrick, Cindy Breakspeare, Skill Cole and Judy Mowatt The interviews are all informative and interesting. The other tidbits included in this book also help to ensure it’s classic status such as a map of BMW tour routes, a Island/Tuff Gong album recap, short bios of the major figures of The Wailers band, sample of album and single output and a nice 10 page newspaper and magazine article section. One of the highlights of the new addition is an exchange of Halie Selassie I photos. On page 106 of the old edition a grainy photo of the Emperor on a coach is used, the new edition puts in a crisp clean incredible photo by the Jamaican Gleaner of H.I.M. walking in front the Jamaican Army……Army? a photo of Skill Cole is also added. In addition to the photos, a page on Bob’s children who are working in music or the world of Marley is added. A cool addition is a nice shout out to another great book. Noted at the bottom of the Discography page in the book is; *Refer to Bob Marley and the Wailers: The Definitive Discography for the complete works of Bob Marley and the Wailers.
#19 1/2013 Bob Marley: Catch a Fire by Timothy White
Gerald Hausman, his daughter Mariah and Cedella Marley have been collaborating on nice Marley books for the past ten years or so. This latest one, spearheaded and edited by Gerald, has taken their format to a whole new level. Their previous lyric/quote books have been collections of one or two segments of Bob’s lyrics or a quote. This one on the other hand collects a plethora of much longer passages. All culled from interviews Dad and daughter collected at 56 Hope Rd. while on a mission. What was once Bob’s house and rehearsal space is now the Bob Marley museum and many of the walls are plastered in newspapers,magazines and promotional posters. All done by Neville Garrick to preserve these documents for all who pass through. Through their collaboration with Cedella, Gerald was able to transcribe interviews and articles for days on end while Mariah took photos, several of which thankfully grace the book. (see photo gallery). What we get, years later, is this wonderful book. Gerald picked out some incredible word’s of Bob, mostly from interviews throughout his years. Many have him talking on a level not generally promoted in his every day legacy. Mariah blends in her trademarked artwork throughout the book in the form of beautifully decorating photos of Bob. She also adds some Ethiopian folklore drawings, that compliment the passages well. . Cedella contributes an introduction and Gerald provides an interesting editor’s note. A really nice new book and one I highly recommend for the Marley library. The price is right and worth every penny.
#16 11/2012 Every Little Thing (based on the song “Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley)
adapted by Cedella Marley with illustrations by Vanessa Brantley-Newton
Published by chronicle books
Hardcover pictorial boards with dust jacket
One of the great things about having little kids is getting the opportunity to read books to their class. I’ve had the opportunity with two of my three kids so far and I’ve managed to work in a Marley book every time. Although up until Cedella Marley’s two most recent books, it was difficult. Most the juvenile Marley books are for kids a little older than my lions who are all under 8.
The latest one is called ‘Every Little Thing.’ As you can guess, it’s based off of the lyrics of ‘Three Little Birds.’ It’s in the same format and style of Cedella’s last book ‘One Love’. ‘Every Little Thing’ is filled with 26 pages of glorious illustrations by Brantley-Newton and good lyric working by Cedella. The story reminds the kids that even when times get a little tough, you need not worry because every little thing is gonna be alright.
I recently read the book to my son’s kindergarten class and then we all sang the song together while I played the guitar. Due to Ziggy’s recent video of the song that got lots of play on the kids t.v. networks, several of the kids knew all the words. It was a blast and the kids loved the book.
#15 11/2012 Bob Marley: Songs of Freedom by Chris Salewicz and Adrian Boot
Title: Bob Marley Songs of Freedom
Author: Chris Salewicz, Photographer: Adrian Boot (Executive Editor and Introduction by Rita Marley)
ISBNs: (All four English editions) UK Hardcover 074751853x, UK Paperback 0747523568, U.S. Hardcover 067085784x,
U.S. Paperback 0140241131
Year Published: 1995 (1998 second U.S. edition)
Published in 1995 by Viking Penguin in the U.S. and Bloomsbury in the UK, Songs of Freedom is the authorized biography of Bob Marley. It’s really two types of biographies in one, half text by the seasoned Chris Salewitcz and half photos through the amazing lens of Adrian Boot. It’s a coffee table biography that goes way beyond your average coffee table book. Since it contains a nice condensed history of Bob and his musical output, along with numerous photos of memorabilia, handwritten lyrics and Boot’s photos, this a favorite book of many Marley fans. It is indeed, a top 5 must have Bob Marley & The Wailers book. Fortunately for many, there has been editions published in five different languages. UNLESS, you know of any additional edition not listed here. If you know of one please contact the Midnight Raver or myself.
This is basically, the official Island Records/Marley family biography of Bob. The original publication was on the heels of a photo exhibit by Adrian Boot. It also coincided with the Island Records release of ‘Natural Mystic, Legend 2’ album. Boot was an official photographer of Bob’s and because of that access to the Gong, we get treated with dozens and dozens of incredible photos. The book opens with the funeral of Bob (the end) and moves from there through his career, Rastafari, Island output, Peter Tosh, touring and ends up at the final Madison Square Gardens shows and the final show in Pittsburgh. Through interviews with dozens of people who were closely associated with Bob, we get first hand accounts of history. So we got that going for us, which is nice.
All foreign editions were published in a hardcover format. In fact, it’s the same dust jacket, boards and gilt for all seven hardcover editions from around the world. It’s appears as if they were all printed by the same company at the same time for each publisher. The only difference is the language on the cover and text. In addition, the French edition changed the title to ‘legend rasta’ and the German edition added the subtitle ‘Die Bildbiographie’ . The second U.S. edition was published in a trade paperback format and is the only edition to feature a different cover. Although the cover of the UK paperback edition did add a peculiar small rectangle palm tree picture and added the blurb (‘The definitive account of the great man’s life.’ Q Magazine), to the bottom of the cover.
The foreign additional editions are:
Japan: Published in 1995 by Blues Interaction, ISBN: 4938339153
Netherlands: Published by Gravenhage in 1995. ISBN: 9055010782
Germany: Published by Wilhelm Heyne Verlag GmbH in 1995. ISBN: 3453087054
France: Published by Seuil in 1995 and 1998. ISBN: 2020218291
There were so many copies of this book printed that it is very easy and inexpensive to find an English edition. Check amazon.com, ebay, used book stores etc. and copies will turn up. At least in the U.S. The most common edition I see for sale would be the Penguin paperback copy which many times sells for under $5.00 U.S..
Chris Salewitcz has been documenting reggae and pop culture for over three decades. He authored several music books including a biography of The Clash’s Joe Strummer. Most reggae lovers know him for his writings for the NME and/or his books such as his recent Marley biography ‘Bob Marley the Untold Story’, ‘Rude Boy: Once Upon a Time in Jamaica’ or for most, the book we are profiling, Songs of Freedom. Chris also wrote another, difficult to find, Marley book published in 1998 titled ‘Rock Lives: Bob Marley’.
Adrian Boot is a distinguished photographer whose work has appeared in many Bob Marley books, Rolling Stone magazine and the photo exhibits that have displayed his photos and stories. He was the official Island photographer for Bob and captured many historic photos before and after Bob’s passing.
Chris and Adrian also worked together on the ‘Reggae Explosion: The Story of Jamaican Music’ book which was published in 2001. Of which one edition featured Marley on the cover and therefor appears in the Complete Annotated Bibliography.
Photo Gallery (click on next photo to see additional pics)
# 14. 10/ 2012 Bob Marley / Peter Tosh Get Up! Stand Up! Diary Of A Reggaeophile
by Fikisha Cumbo
Foreword by Roberta Flack
CACE International, Brooklyn, New York
This is easily one of the best books published on Bob Marley and Peter Tosh. In addition to author’s recollections and fantastic interviews of both greats, the photographs she took are some of the best we’ve been privy to.
The book starts with short biographies on Bob and Peter then moves into the heart of the contents. Fikisha had the pleasure of seeing Bob Marley & The Wailers at the Schaffer Music Festival in Central Park in 1975 and meeting Bob after the show. From there, like many of us, she got swept into the rapids of upper Niger otherwise known as reggae. Only she soon enough found herself going to Yard and linking up with Peter and other greats. She recalls going to 56 Hope Rd. during a Wailers rehearsal and cramming into the small hot practice space. She tells about Bob calling out for ‘So JAH Seh’, the same song she told him was her favorite (and mine too). These are stories that we are fortunate enough to have been captured and shared. What’s great about Fikisha’s recollections are the details she shares with us. The shirt Bob was wearing, the boots he wore, how the tongue of the boots hung, what was sitting where in the room etc.
A great aspect of the book is the amount of ink Peter Tosh gets. Fikisha really got to know Peter well and from that she shares with us many great memories and moments. This book is a true delight. There is only one downside to it. It’s out of print and can be difficult to find a reasonably priced copy. I originally bought my copy from Fikisha directly in 2004. She has since informed me that the First edition has sold out. It is truly a book that needs to be in print again.
If there are any publishers out there looking for a wonderful book on Bob and Peter done from the heart, then this is your gem. It’s all packed up and ready to go. But, keep your eyes open. Check the websites as the book does come up for sale from time to time.
Fikisha Cumbo is not only a great lady and reggae lover, she is the director or Chief in Charge of CASE International. CASE Int. has produced all sorts of audio,video and written works in the name of spreading unity and positivity.
Click on Fikisha’s site below to find out more. Check out the CASE International t.v. on You Tube for all kids of great videos including a fantastic episode at Roger Steffens reggae archives.
Review by Midnight Raver Blog’s Joe Jurgenson.
#13 7/2012 No Woman No Cry My Life With Bob Marley (Russian Edition) Rita Marley with Hettie Jones
#12 10/2012 Stir It Up: The CIA Targets Jamaica, Bob Marley and the Progressive Manley Government by David Dusty Cupples
Stir It Up: The CIA Targets Jamaica, Bob Marley and the Progressive Manley Government
David Dusty Cupples
Published in 2012
Two day before Bob Marley & The Wailers were to perform at the Smile Jamaica concert on December 5, 1976, gunmen swarmed his home and rehearsal space at 56 Hope Rd. in Jamaica and shot Bob along with others in an attempt to kill him. The questions have always been; why and how did these young ghetto gunslingers pull off this assassination attempt and who put them up to it. “Oh not the brothers, but the ones, who set them up…” These are questions that people have been asking since the incident and although many theories have been developed and tossed around over the years, no definitive answers have ever been offered. Although we still have no definitive answers, with the publication of ‘Stir It Up’ we now have what is probably the most likely scenario of the events leading up to the shooting, why the shooting took place and who was behind it all. All presented in an a very unique and original way.
This book may be disturbing to some, a confirmation of beliefs to others and a real eye opener for many. The author, David Dusty Cupples, did some thorough research in order to lay out a very concise scenario of not only what was happening with Bob Marley at this point in history but also Jamaica, the entire Caribbean community, the Cold War and the attitude many on the right including the CIA had. The book is a true page turner and how Cupples moves the story along is quite impressive while also very entertaining.
So basically this novel portrays fictional and actual characters. The main character is Scott Mitchell, an American teenager who is dragged around South America and eventually Jamaica by his CIA employed father in the mid 70’s. Although his dad always tells him that he only works the Visas in these countries, for some reason whenever they arrive in a country chaos ensues. After arriving in Yard, Scott soon forms a friendship with Bob and unknowingly becomes intimately involved with the shooting. It’s only after help from a California psychologist after four years of burying the memories that Scott is able to tell about his days in Jamaica and what he discovered after the shooting.
Without giving the story away, I will say, this is by far the most in-depth likely scenario presented as to who shot Bob, his wife Rita and manager Don Taylor and why. For years there has been a conspiracy theory put forth by Alex Constantine that link the Smile Jamaica shooting and Bob dying of melanoma cancer and tumors nearly four and a half years later. I’ve never thought of the scenario that Constantine presents as plausible and Cupples never mentions anything about the theory in this book. The book instead focus’ on the continued injuries inflicted on Bob’s toe over the years and the melanoma that developed under his nail bed.The theory that Constantine came up with is that somehow, Carl Colby Jr (son of an ex CIA director), who was hired by Island Records to film the concert, brought Bob a pair of boots after the shooting embedded with a wire treated with cancer that poked Bob’s foot as he tried on the boot. The cancer was then injected into Bob and that’s how he got cancer. Even if it possible to inject cancer cells into a human body and the body not reject them, the theory put forth by Constantine is just too full of holes to hold water. Carl was at Strawberry Hill with Jeff Walker from Island Records. I don’t believe Jeff has collaborated Alex’s story but Carl Colby Jr. says he absolutely did not bring Bob any boots as a gift. He’s shocked and insulted that he would even be accused of such a thing. Especially against Bob a man he loved. What this novel is about is the CIA and their involvement in the bullet ridden assassination attempt on Bob. A novel, yeah right!
I recommend this book to all Marley fans who are seeking answers to the assassination attempt on Bob as well as those interested in the CIA, left and right wing politricks and the tactics employed by deranged lunatics. This is a welcomed addition to any Bob Marley book shelf stocking the must haves.
Although hundreds of articles had been penned on Bob Marley up to this point, this is the first actual biography published on him. It was written by Henderson Dalrymple and published by Carib-Arawak Publishers Ltd. out of the UK in 1976. It’s a short 77 page bio but includes some beautiful b & w photos as well as several Marley lyrics transcribed. It was done from the heart and is a beautiful example of an early biography about a revolutionary musician. In addition to the Marley info, the book also includes a few chapters about Rastafari and its history.
#7 July 17/18, 2012 Bob Marley and the Wailers: The Definitive Discography, Full details on every recording by Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer & Bob Marley
How about we profile a book that your average Bob Marley book buyer may never think of purchasing? What book is that you ask? None other than ‘Bob Marley and the Wailers: The Definitive Discography, Full details on every recording by Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer & Bob Marley’ by Roger Steffens and Leroy Jodie Pierson. Why do I think the average Marley fan might bypass this this book? Well, because it’s a discography. If one reads a synopsis of the book and see’s that it’s full of song and album details, a fan looking for more biography type info on Bob might think it’s not for them. They couldn’t be more wrong. Although this is the definitive discography on Bob, Peter and Bunny and the only “true” discography on the three, the book provides much more than song details to the reader. In fact the book’s intros by Roger and Leroy are worth the purchase price alone ($17.95 U.S.). Add in three succinct biographies on Bob, Bunny and Peter and you have the makings of a MUST HAVE Bob Marley and The Wailers book. In fact, without a doubt, this treasure trove is a top 5 must have book for all Marley libraries. In addition to the intros and biographies, the reader is treated to a marvelous 12 page color spread of some of the most sought after (and PRISTINE) vinyl labels the Wailers have to offer.
#5 July 5, 2012 THE WORLD OF REGGAE featuring BOB MARLEY TREASURES FROM ROGER STEFFENS’ REGGAE ARCHIVES
2001 was a great year for Marley bibliophiles, at least for this Marley bibliophile.. Why? Because that’s the year Roger Steffens exhibited the cream of the crop of his reggae collection on the Queen Marley ocean liner. And along with the exhibit came one of my all-time favorite books. Not just Bob Marley books but all books. ‘THE WORLD OF REGGAE: FEATURING BOB MARLEY AND TREASURES FROM ROGER STEFFENS’ REGGAE ARCHIVES’ was published by Global Treasures to catalog a ‘best of’ sampling from the exhibit. It’s basically a treasure trove photo book of items from Roger’s collection. It features hundreds of album cover most of which are signed by the key players. My favorite chapters feature incredible memorabilia from Haile Selassie, Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, I-Three and the Marley children. An incredible assortment of memorabilia grace the pages such as books, magazines, buttons, 8-track tapes, posters and the rarest of rare vinyls. (See photo gallery below for sample photos) The book’s photos are accompanied by Roger’s text which only enhances the book.
This was posted on the http://www.reggae-vibes.com website. It’s a great summary of the exhibit.
THE WORLD OF REGGAE AND BOB MARLEY
Global Treasures presents THE WORLD OF REGGAE AND BOB MARLEY an exhibition featuring TREASURES FROM ROGER STEFFENS’ REGGAE ARCHIVES TO OPEN JANUARY 20, 2001 AT THE QUEEN MARY IN LONG BEACH
Thousands of artifacts from the rich history of Jamaican music and the legendary career of Bob Marley, the King of Reggae, will go on display in a unique exhibition to be housed in two buildings of the English Village at the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California, beginning January 20. Selected from the internationally renowned collection of reggae authority Roger Steffens, the exhibition covers forty years of Jamaican musical creativity. Beginning with the birth of ska in the early 1960s and moving through the eras of rock steady, reggae, dub, DJ (rap), lovers rock, two-tone and ska revival, dub poetry, and through the present ascendancy of dancehall and raggamuffin, The World of Reggae and Bob Marley is a stunning aural and visual experience, immersing the visitor in a barrage of sensations that will be sure to illuminate and entertain.
Presented by the exhibition management company, Global Treasures, and designed and created by the Pasadena-based Curatorial Assistance, the exhibition showcases nearly 1,000 individually mounted album covers and a large number of 7″ vinyl singles, most of them autographed by the respective artists. As visitors explore some two dozen areas, musical spotlights fall on the major performers. Hundreds of posters from around the world are interspersed along with original photographs, fliers, t-shirts, post cards, magazines, books, banners, bumper stickers, buttons, and scores of other memorabilia from reggae’s most famous figures.
In the introductory area a film depicting the mini-history of the various styles of Jamaican rhythms will be running. In the second, larger structure, a spiraling series of displays leads viewers into a row of bleachers from which they can view a film on the life story of Bob Marley, whose album Exodus was recently chosen by Time magazine as “The Best Album of the Twentieth Century.” On an adjacent wall, 144 albums depict the various images by which Marley’s music has been presented to the world. Nearby, two columns are filled with 160 singles by Marley and his former partners in the Wailers—Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer.
The spiritual underpinnings of Bob Marley and many other reggae musicians is the way of life known as Rastafari, named in honor of the Emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie I. To its adherents, Selassie is a divine incarnation, and has become an object of veneration worldwide. A repository of near-priceless objects has been loaned to the exhibition by one of the world’s premier collectors of Rasta relics. These include examples of all the medals worn by His Majesty on His Golden Jubilee, items from the Imperial household in Addis Ababa, decorations and orders, paintings, photographs, newspapers and magazines from the coronation ceremonies in 1930 and the subsequent Italian invasion, autographed pictures, and contemporary items utilizing Selassie’s image in popular culture.
Another area of the exhibition surveys the internationalization of the irresistible beat of reggae, with items from France, England, Japan, Poland, Nigeria, Brazil, Israel, Sweden, South Africa, and other nations in which the music has gained a foothold. There are even entries from the Hopi and Havasupai Indian nations of North America, cultures in which Marley is regarded as a prophet.
An interactive installation features computer terminals in which Roger Steffens’ video interviews with various artists—including his conversations with the Wailers, Peter Tosh, Bob Marley’s mother, Jimmy Cliff, Bunny Wailer, and others—can be readily accessed. Throughout the year, there will be many special events with Steffens as host. These include several two-day affairs on the Queen Mary that will combine a Friday evening seminar with a Saturday afternoon outdoor concert in the Queen Mary park. Themes include Ska, Reggae Art, Women in Reggae, and a very special weekend to be held on May 11 and 12, the 20th anniversary of Marley’s death. The year 2001 will also witness Marley being presented with the music business’s ultimate honor, the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award on February 21, in addition to a star on Hollywood Boulevard on February 6, the 56th anniversary of his birth.
Never before has there been an exhibition anywhere in the world like The World of Reggae and Bob Marley. Steffens feels that his three-decade-long, self-described “reggae obsession” is finally coming to fruition. “I’ve always wanted to share the six rooms of my house that are jammed full of this incredible history with the world at large. I am really grateful to Global Treasures and the Queen Mary for providing me with the fulfillment of this dream of a lifetime.”
#4 June 24, 2012 Rebel Music Bob Marley & Roots Reggae by Kate Simon
Genesis Publications Ltd.
(Regular Edition shown above)
Some books about Bob Marley are extremely informative in nature, some are merely eye candy and some go beyond the norm of books and enter into the world of book art. What exactly am I trying to say? I’m not sure but my point is that Kate Simon and Genesis Publications put out a tome that goes beyond anything previously published in the Marley book world. The book is titled ‘Rebel Music Bob Marley & Roots Reggae’ and was published in 2004 by Genesis out of the UK. This is a massive book that has only seen a very limited printing. In fact only 2000 copies were printed and of those 2000, 350 were published as deluxe editions. Both editions were housed in wooden boxes and were signed by Kate. The deluxe edition features a full leather cover, hinged housing box (as opposed to the slip case style of the normal edition) and is signed by both Kate and Eric Clapton. The regular edition features a leather spine and hessian type of cover. Both books contain identical content.
‘Rebel Music’ features nearly all of Kate’s incredible photos of Bob and The Wailers as well as numerous other reggae pioneers. The photos are accompanied by delightful text from 24 contributors including, Roger Steffens, Family Man, Junior Marvin and Chris Blackwell. Being the work of art that it is, the original price tag was quite hefty. I believe I paid somewhere around $500.00 U.S. for the normal edition and remember the deluxe edition being in the $700-$900 range. I still see copies coming up for sale quite frequently and those prices seem to still be relevant. This is the only downside I currently see with this book. The price and availability is much too steep for your average Marley fan. This is such an incredible volume that it needs to be perused by all Marley loving eyeballs. I initially predicted (without any facts) that the book would soon see a much friendlier priced package. About a year or two ago some sprinkling of hope was spread that that might be a reality but to date nothing has been published.
With all of that said, I can only reiterate how awesome this book is. The photos are beautiful, especially those that come from Bob’s 1977 short lived Exodus tour. Kate, along with her friend Vivian Goldman, was able to penetrate Bob’s inner circle and capture some incredible intimate moments. Many of the photos have been used throughout the Marley world for years but many more are seeing the light of day for the first time. The candid shots from Jamaica are snapshots from an extremely special time in musical history. This is photo documentation at its best.
Kate Simon captured many iconic photos over the years of musical giants. From Marley to the Sex Pistols to Led Zeppelin, she had an eye for great shots and we all can be thankful for that. She continues to work hard and many of her photos are available for purchase. Check out her website and make contact with her. If you ever gather the funds needed to purchase ‘Rebel Music’, try your best to do it. Even at the high prices it demands, the book is worth every single penny.
Photo Gallery Click on next photo to see more photos of the book
#2 May 24, 2012
Bob Marley And The Golden Age of Reggae 1975-1976
Kim Gottllieb-Walker with Jeff Walker, Roger Steffens & Cameron Crowe
Hardcover with Dust Jacket
Publisher: Titan Books (UK) Hors Collection (France)
There are several categories that I separate Bob Marley books into. One of my favorite categories is photography books. It’s no secret that at one point in his life, Bob was one of the most photographed people on earth. Maybe it was his status as a popular musician, his charisma or simply his unfamiliar dreadlocked look. Whatever the reason, we have the pleasure of being left with a vast amount of incredible photos. Some of the photo books are collections of random photos but most are the works of a particular photographer. One of the most recent and welcomed additions to the photography category is Kim Gottlieb-Walker’s impressive book ‘Bob Marley and the Golden Age of Reggae 1975-1976’. Kim is not only an amazing photographer with a natural born eye, she is a sweet lady and kind soul. This book only deals with Kim’s reggae photos. In addition to these she has photographed countless people from all genres of the arts.
In late 2010, Kim’s fantastic reggae camera work was finally put into book form by Titan books out of the UK. This volume features some of the best and most intimate images of Bob. With Bob’s approval, Kim was able to capture him in moods and settings that few photographers ever had the chance to. From 56 Hope Rd. to Los Angeles motel rooms, Kim captured some iconic images of Marley. Many of her photos were used for Island Records promotional posters and virtually all of their publicity photos for their reggae artists. One of her most famous shots of Bob graced the cover of High Times Magazine in 1976. Kim has said that this was the happiest Bob ever was to pose for a photo. Many of the photos are from Kim’s trip to Jamaica in 1975 and Bob’s trips to California in ’75 & ’76. Also included in the book are Kim’s photos of numerous other reggae greats including Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer and Toots. This is a book that any mid 70’s roots lover will enjoy not just Wailers fans. It’s packed with early photos of many a reggae giants.
‘Bob Marley’ by Stephen Davis
Paperback: 286 pages
Publisher: Schenkman Books; Revised edition (June 1988)
Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
I often get asked what the best book on Bob Marley is. My answer can vary depending on who’s asking and what they are looking to learn about Bob. There is such a variety of Marley books from biographies to photo books to children’s books that there is something for everybody.
If one wants to start fresh and gain a solid foundation on which to build upon then my recommendation would be Stephen Davis’ seminal, and never out of print, biography. First published in 1983 by UK’s Arthur Baker Limited, the bio was simply titled ‘Bob Marley.’ The 248 page book was published in a hardcover and trade paperback format. A second mass-market UK paperback edition was published in 1984 by Panther Books and added the subtitle of ‘The Definitive Biography of Reggae’s Greatest Star.’
Double Day Dolphin published the first U.S. trade paperback edition in 1985 and kept the original title of ‘Bob Marley’. Next in the U.S., Schenkman published a 2nd edition. In total, the book has seen over 12 different editions published worldwide and numerous printings. The English edition of the book is currently being published by Plexus Publishing Limited out of the UK which recently published their 4th edition of it. It has seen several French publishing’s as well as a Korean and Japanese edition.
Davis wrote a straightforward, fast moving biography which will give any new or seasoned Bob Marley fan a comprehensive fact filled look into his life. It has stood the test of time and is considered by many to be the definitive biography of Bob Marley.
Stephen Davis is a long time reggae and music writer and journalist. In addition to his reggae related books, Davis has written the definitive biographies of Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac, Aerosmith, The Rolling Stones, Jim Morrison and Guns N’ Roses. Along with his photographer friend and collaborator Peter Simon, Davis’ first reggae book ‘Reggae Bloodlines: In Search of the Music and Culture of Jamaica’ was published in 1977. This book lead into one of my all-time favorite reggae books ‘Reggae International’ which was published in 1982. No reggae fan’s library should be without this book. Davis lives in Massachusetts where he keeps things nice and peaceful.
Click link below for photos of Stephen’s Biography