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Words of Our Mouth, Meditations of Our Heart
Pioneering Musicians of Ska, Rocksteady, Reggae, and Dancehall
Kenneth Bilby


2016 • 264 pp. 103 illus. (98 color) 7 x 10"
Reggae Music / Folk & Traditional Music / Biography - Musicians & Composers

$29.95 Paperback, 978-0-8195-7588-3
$23.99 Ebook, 978-0-8195-7604-0

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

Bilby] writes with a hard-won gravitas that is increasingly rare, and which announces him as a significant new (at least outside academia) voice on black music. The fastidious research... [continued in Reviews below]”—Derek Walmsley, WIRE

Celebrating the legendary studio musicians of Jamaican popular music through personal photographs and interviews

This is the first book devoted to the studio musicians who were central to Jamaica’s popular-music explosion. With color portraits and interview excerpts, over 100 musical pioneers—such as Prince Buster, Robbie Shakespeare, Sly Dunbar, Lee “Scratch” Perry, and many of Bob Marley’s early musical collaborators—provide new insights into the birth of Jamaican popular music in the recording studios of Kingston, Jamaica, in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. Includes a listening guide of selected songs.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

“[Bilby] writes with a hard-won gravitas that is increasingly rare, and which announces him as a significant new (at least outside academia) voice on black music. The fastidious research recalls another excellent book springing from exhaustive academic research, Michael Veal’s Dub: Soundscapes and Shattered Songs In Jamaican Reggae.”—Derek Walmsley, WIRE

“[A] lovingly rendered new book … Word Of Our Mouth takes a non-standard look at reggae’s broader evolution, delivered through brief textual passages and evocative colour portraits, drawn from interviews conducted with a range of music practitioners from across the island, both familiar and unknown. And much of the material collected here is priceless.”—David Katz, Riddim Magazine

“Bilby celebrates his roots in Jamaica in this magnificent book through beautiful photographs and interviews with musicians. Bilby unveils the backstory of Jamaican music, and his work will be cherished by all who love Jamaican music.”—William Ferris, author of Give My Poor Heart Ease: Voices of the Mississippi Blues

“Bilby doesn’t just tell the story that’s never been told—delivering an homage to the heroes who helped shape Jamaican music—he lets these heroes tell the story in their own words, writing their own chapter in history.”—Baz Dreisinger, producer and writer of Black & Blue: Legends of the Hip-Hop Cop and Rhyme & Punishment

“An essential work of Jamaican musical scholarship. The interviews are engrossing on multiple levels. Our understanding of the black musics of the New World would have fewer gaps in it if there were more of the kind of thorough oral history that Bilby does here. He proves himself to be not merely a good collector but a good listener.”—John Jeremiah Sullivan, author of Pulphead

KENNETH BILBY is an ethnomusicologist, writer, and lifelong student of Jamaican music. He is the former director of research at the Center for Black Research at Columbia College Chicago and currently a research associate at the Smithsonian Institution. Author of True-Born Maroons and coauthor of Caribbean Currents: Caribbean Music from Rumba to Reggae, his collection of field recordings of Jamaican traditional music is one of the largest in the world.

Tue, 15 May 2018 13:34:46 -0500