2010 has been a good year for those interested in reading about Jamaican (popular) culture: Two of the most influential international reggae/dancehall labels – Greensleeves Records and Island Records – released their stories in book form.
In case you are looking for Christmas gifts for reggae fans who like to read, we recommend these two books as well as three other more or less recent publications. Here’s our current top 5 books about Jamaican culture and politics:
The book is a document of the first 100 Greensleeves album covers. It also contains interviews with Greensleeves’ founders, Chris Sedgwick and Chris Cracknell, and its chief designer, Tony McDermott, who has worked for Greensleeves almost since the day the label launched in 1977. (via Al Fingers)
An impressive new hardcover from Rizzoli which aims to be the definitive tome when it comes to Chris Blackwell’s Island Records. The label was founded in Jamaica and launched Bob Marley and the Wailers into international superstardom, and released many other classic reggae albums before picking up a slew of impressive international acts including Traffic, Nick Drake, Cat Stevens, U2, Eric B & Rakim, Amy Winehouse, and many more. (via Typo Graphical)
Beth Lesser’s definitive new study of the 1980s Jamaican Dancehall scene features hundreds of exclusive photographs and accompanying text that captures a vibrant, globally influential and yet rarely documented culture that has been mixing music, fashion and lifestyle with aplomb since its inception. (via Soul Jazz)
Edward Phillip George Seaga is one of the most outstanding Jamaican politicians – with a reputation for creativity, controversy and courage. His autobiography offers a unique insight into the emergence of modern Jamaica, a journey characterized by idealism and intrigue, conflict and triumph. (via Macmillan)
In a way Lickshot is a continuation of Big Up, but I think it’s perhaps a bit more sophisticated. Big Up was more urban street culture and Lickshot still is a bit, but it’s a step on and includes a lot more celebrities and musicians, while still keeping the energy of what I did in Big Up. It’s another volume of one of my scrapbooks, basically. (via Professional Photographer)