After spotlighting the imaginative reggae sleeve work of illustrator Wilfred Limonious for In Fine Style, One Love Books turn their sights toward the vivid album cover photography of reggae records in the 70s and 80s. Photographer Alex Bartsch’s tome solidifies the reggae scene’s connection to London and the infrastructure of the British music industry: many Jamaican artists frequently traveled to the United Kingdom for shows, record label dealings and studio time with British musicians, and the record label creative departments often took advantage of these artists’ brief sojourns whenever they could, arranging (sometimes hastily) candid photoshoots with the artists, sometimes right around the corner for the label offices. This book portrays fifty classic reggae covers by Bob Marley, Freddie McGregor, John Holt, The Heptones and more on iconic labels including Trojan, Greensleeves, Bamboo and Ariwa, reshot in their original locations on the streets of London. Each photo is accompanied by a short essay about the conception of the photo by the photographers, models and production assistants who were there, as well as each album’s design and photography credits. You get to read about, and see, the context in which so many classic LPs got their visual signature, including Freddie McGregor aboard the famous Cutty Sark clipper ship for Big Ship, the playground on Ranking Dread’s Lots Of Loving (huge album!), the back alley used for the Babylon soundtrack shoot, Peter Tosh riding a unicycle in front of Buckingham Palace for Buk-In-Hamm Palace, The Wailers’ group photo on the bridge used for the back cover of Catch A Fire, Jah Woosh’s Religious Dread (shot hastily in front of a church right around the corner from the label office), The Mighty Sparrow’s Peace And Love and many more. 128 hardcover-bound full-color pages with foreward by reggae historian Noel Hawks and extensive introductions by Bartsch and publisher Al Fingers, recommended.
- hardcover edition
- 272 pages
reviewed by military 2step 09/2018