Mit ‘Beth Lesser’ getaggte Beiträge

Writer Beth Lesser, known for her books Dancehall: The Story of Jamaican Dancehall Culture and The Legend of Sugar Minott & Youthman Promotion, is about to release her new book Rub A Dub Style, which takes a deeper look on the period between Bob Marleys passing 1981 and the dancehall explosion in the early 90ies.

And the best thing: The Book will be available as a free download! Yeehaw!

via Large

Beth Lesser wrote another essential book about a real reggae icon.

Lincoln Sugar Minott (who’s tragecally gone too soon) & his Youthman Promotion.

The Legend of Sugar Minott and Youth Promotion is both a biography of the legendary Jamaican vocalist and a history of the sound system, Youth Promotion.

Writing his tribute to the reggae Don Sugar Minott was a labor of love for Beth Lesser. She and her husband, David Kingston, were married at Sugar’s home in 1986, at a Youth Promotion dance. When Sugar passed away, Beth realized the importance of keeping his memory alive. Although his music speaks for itself, people might not be aware of all the good he did in his quest to give guidance and support to the youth in the ghetto. Or how much he gave to reggae by discovering and nurturing such artists as Little John, Tristan Palma, Tenorsaw, Junior Reid, Garnett Silk, and many others. Sugar Minott spent his life helping talented youth get ahead in the business. A huge influence on the course of modern reggae, Sugar Minott is a true legend in Jamaican music.

This special Muzik Tree edition features many never before published photographs of Sugar, his family and the whole crew.

You can order the book via Small Axe Reggae.

London-based Dancehall-Blog Shimmy Shimmy did an excellent Interview with the great Beth Lesser, known for her essential books King Jammy’s and Dancehall: The Story of Jamaican Dancehall Culture.

You went out to Jamaica in the early 80s with the purpose of researching reggae – how did you manage to get in with the scene?

We had some help. we knew somebody up here who had some contacts with Jamaican people and some producers. There were a lot of records being produced in both places, so when we first went down to Jamaica he gave us some errands to do, like go see Tuff Gong, and he also introduced us to somebody who worked with Augustus Pablo, who was married to a woman who lived in Toronto. So we met with them before we went down. Originally we [Beth and her husband, Dave] went down there with the intention of doing some kind of fan club for Augustus Pablo. That was the springboard, not only did we really apprecaite his music, but we knew sombeody, so there was actually a possibility of going down there and meeting him, and starting a fan club or whatever, something to publicise him, his artists and his productions.

Read the whole Interview over at Shimmy Shimmy.

The Heatwave and Soundclash reminds me that, 2 days ago, the legendary Sleng Teng Riddim had its 25th Anniversary. Pretty awesome that this riddim still can mash up any dance/clash you go nowadays.

Read more about it in Beth Lessers excellent book „Dancehall – The Story of Jamaican Dancehall Culture“

The night of the 23rd, people began to gather on the Waltham early. The sounds were warming up with the apprentices while the big artists were arriving. Black Scorpio opened the showdown with the full compliment of Sassafras and Trees and regulars Shukahine, Culture Lee, Wayne Palmer, and Michael Jahsone. Jah Screw, the selector, was armed with dubplates by Frankie Paul (the Scorpio productions) like “The Closer I Get to You,” as well as Earl Sixteen’s “Sweet Soul Rockin,” and “Making Tracks,” Bobby Melody, Little John, and Johnny Osbourne. On Jammy’s side were John Wayne, Echo Minott, General Leon, Screecha Nice, Tullo T, Junior Reid, Tonto Irie, and Pompidou. Tupps was selecting with confidence knowing that he had a bag full of Sleng Teng to thrown down. Every name entertainer was there from U-Roy to Leroy Smart to witness the confrontation.

By nine o’clock the yard was full and more people were coming through the door. Scorpio was getting hot with Johnny Osbourne’s “Reasons” and “Show Me Your Sign.” After an hour, the current went over to Jammy. Wise Tupps opened right away with Sleng Teng and the crowd went wild! People were cheering and throwing their hands in the air, blowing noise-makers and whistles. The bass sound that was coming out of those boxes was like nothing that had ever been heard before. It was absolutely clean—powerful and pounding. It just stopped your heart. And it had all come out of a “music box,” as the unfamiliar electronic keyboards were referred to then. Tupps was putting on Sugar Minott’s “War and Crime” when suddenly the melody was interrupted by the entrance of armed police officers, M16s on their shoulders. For over an hour, the dance had to stop while police ordered everyone to the side as they searched each person, one by one, for weapons. John Wayne was heard to say something unacceptable about the police over the mike and was hauled off (he later returned intact).

Finally, after a luckily fruitless search, the officers retreated (with a few timid patrons) and the clash proceeded, but the verdict was already in—Sleng Teng had won the day. What was it about a chance combination on a tiny Casio keyboard that could mesmerise an entire nation and change forever the course of reggae music? Once this “Computer” rhythm appeared, there was no turning back. Even Jammy had to reluctantly shelve over fifty “human” rhythms he had made with the High Times band and not used yet, because no one wanted to hear them. All they wanted was Sleng Teng—literally. Album after album of pure Sleng Teng versions were released and every single one sold. It was Jammy’s very first number one record in Jamaica (although he had had several abroad). Yes, “the Sleng Teng dominate bad, bad,” as Tupps recalls.


For those of you who also reading books instead of just another weblog, I have a simple advice:

Go and buy yourself this book, because you NEED it. Period.

„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. With unprecedented access to the incredibly vibrant music scene during this period, Beth Lesser’s photographs and text are a unique way in to a previously hidden culture.“