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The Natural Mystics: Marley, Tosh, and Wailer

3.88  ·  Rating Details ·  48 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
Over one dramatic decade, a trio of Trenchtown R&B crooners swapped their 1960s Brylcreem hairdos and two-tone suits for 1970s battle fatigues and dreadlocks to become the Wailers—one of the most influential groups in popular music. Colin Grant presents a lively history of this remarkable band from their upbringing in the brutal slums of Kingston to their first rec ...more
Hardcover, 305 pages
Published June 20th 2011 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published January 27th 2011)
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Racheal
Jul 01, 2012 Racheal rated it it was ok
While I think it's relevant to discuss the political and economic climate the Wailers were living in and how it shaped their personalities and their music, hardly any of this book was about the musicians themselves. His efforts to combine his vast knowledge of Jamaica's history with what little he knew about the band's history into one cohesive book was clumsy and made it hard to follow.
Mark
Jun 30, 2011 Mark marked it as to-read
Shelves: music
I just found out about this book. And then I found a used copy! I am so looking forward to reading it.
John Gribbin
Aug 01, 2016 John Gribbin rated it liked it
I bought the book to learn more about the Wailers, and ended up learning about Jamaica. This was unexpected, because of the depth of the social history, but thoroughly fascinating. I would, though, have liked more about the Wailers themselves, in particular their recordings. There isn't even a discography, which would have been particularly useful given the confusing nature of their early dealings with the corrupt Jamaican record "industry". But still a great read, just not quite what it says on ...more
George Roper
Aug 05, 2016 George Roper rated it liked it
I read Grant's superb "Negro with a Hat" a few years ago, therefore, when I stumbled upon this book and saw that it was by the same author I unhesitatingly made the purchase. "Negro with a Hat" was well researched and written with great sensitivity about a truly global icon - Marcus Garvey. Grant's "The Natural Mystics" is (i) part history (largely of mid-20th century Jamaica), (ii) part character study (of the three protagonists and key figures in their personal, religious and professional live ...more
Jennifer
Aug 23, 2011 Jennifer rated it really liked it
Saw this "by accident" in the library and it jumped all the books in my reading queue. Quite interesting idea, part history of Jamaica, part travelogue, part biography, part meditation on friendship and what it means to be a black man. Prose is good, he keeps it fairly linear so we can follow his points. the opening chapter is well chosen to draw us into the story of how Jamaica has changed since the Wailers were started. Can't put it down so far...

Really enjoyed this book. The only thing I can
...more
Carolyn
Aug 07, 2011 Carolyn rated it really liked it
This is a compelling triple biography of Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, and Bunny Livingston-Wailer; plus a fascinating look into the culture of the Island nation of Jamaica, and its political history.

I only knew of the Wailers through their music - I was introduced to Reggae with Jimmy Cliff's movie 'The Harder They Come' in the early 70's and have loved reggae ever since. I learned from reading this historic account that the music I love is the 'acceptable', perhaps 'whitewashed' version of reggae.

I
...more
Marika Alexander
Nov 05, 2013 Marika Alexander rated it really liked it
This was a very interesting triple biography about the backgrounds of the three men who would come to be called the Wailers. And the conditions in Jamaica that led to their band, as well as how they have impacted the island and put it on the map. Truly, the Kings of Reggae! It's an easy and interesting read; my one complaint is there are a lot of analogies. Things like comparing the crime in Trench Town to pimples on a teenager's face. Other than that, it was a highly enjoyable read that gave me ...more
Laura Wood
Nov 28, 2011 Laura Wood rated it really liked it
This book tells the story of Marley, Tosh, and Wailer, while jumping around through 300 years of Jamaican history. It was a fascinating read, although sometimes it was a little confusing to keep the cast of characters straight. (Warning: I've been humming Redemption Song to myself for DAYS!)
Gary Lewis
Sep 11, 2012 Gary Lewis rated it it was amazing
One of the more comprehensive books written on Marley. Well researched with some interesting anecdotes about the great man and other influential people who made reggae great,
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The author of Negro with a Hat, a biography of Marcus Garvey, Colin Grant is an independent historian who works for BBC Radio. The son of Jamaican immigrants, he lives in London.
More about Colin Grant...

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