Beth Lessers latest book published by Small Axe/Muzik Tree celebrates the life of Sugar Minott who died in July of last year. Like her previous book; King Jammy’s, this latest volume shows that Beth can present a story in a way that many other reggae authors can’t, from the perspective of someone who was there for at least some of the events she writes about and knew many of the characters involved.
Within the 200 pages there are many times when you can imagine you were really there at the studio sessions, the dances and the locations that Beth describes, information about what was recorded at which session and why gives a fascinating insight into Kingston’s music scene of the time that is still all too rare. There are faililings of course, the small size and black and white print (apart from the cover) means that the many pictures are frustratingly small and unclear. And because of the authors undoubted affection and closeness to her subjects some of the bigraphies of the characters in the last third of the book seem to avoid criticism and are therefore a little dry and lack the kind of insight mentioned above.
The final section that covers Sugar’s death and the aftermath are of course very sad but this is no criticism, this period is covered sensitively and with due respect to Sugar’s family and friends. This is a true tribute to a reggae legend…Sugar Minott deserved as much.
This edition is currently sold out but some online sellers still seem to have copies so move fast.