April 20, 2012, at 9:58 am

Read about the Rub-a-Dub Style

As a rule I don’t feature press releases here – what’s the point in rehashing stuff you can read in a dozen other places? But this is an exception – just too good not too mention…

A Gift to Jamaica: Beth Lesser’s new book to be available as a free Download
Rub-a-Dub Style: The Roots of Modern Dancehall by Beth Lesser

With the release of their 1979 hit 45, Rub-a-Dub Style, deejays Smiley and Michigan announced to the world that reggae music was undergoing a major change. Dancehall- based and inspired music was moving to the forefront, leaving roots and rockers behind. A new sound was taking over Jamaica. Rub-a-Dub Style: The Roots of Modern Dancehall, Beth Lesser’s latest book, covers the emergence of this “Dancehall” music in Jamaica in the 1980’s. Despite the vibrant scene that was emerging in Jamaica, the 80’s has remained an obscure, often neglected period in the examination of reggae’s development. Yet, it was this period of creativity and growth that not only set the stage for everything that is happening in reggae music today, but played a significant role in influencing hip-hop and rap music.

In her new publication, Ms. Lesser fills in the gap between the passing of Marley in 1981 and the dancehall explosion in the early 90’s, leading the reader through ten years of changes that brought dancehall music from the ghetto to international acclaim. This is the story of the 80’s as told through the eyes of the participants – the artists, musicians, producers, distributors, sound owners, radio jocks, engineers and fans. Rub-a-Dub Style covers this innovative period in Jamaican music that saw the introduction of pre-programmed instruments, the rise of sound system ‘specials’, the battle of ‘slackness’ v. ‘culture’, the emergence of female dancehall artists, the development of the sing-jay style and the domination of the market by deejays.

During the 1980’s, Beth and her husband, David Kingston, published Reggae Quarterly magazine. David was also the host of the award-winning program, Reggae Showcase, on CKLN, Toronto, from 1982 to 1992. Many of the artists passing through the city appeared for both interviews and live dancehall sessions on the air. Beth Lesser has previously written three books on reggae : King Jammys, ECW Press, Toronto, Canada, 2002; Dance Hall: The Rise of Dance Hall Culture, Soul Jazz, UK, 2008; The Legend of Sugar Minott, Muzik Tree, UK, 2011. In addition, Beth’s photographs continue to appear on LP and CD covers around the world, as well as in books, magazines, and films.

Rub-a-dub Style is being offered as a free download as an appreciation of Jamaica- its people and its culture, for the 2012 celebrations of the 50th anniversary of Jamaican independence. Ms. Lesser’s goal is to reach a wider readership and thus promote a greater understanding and appreciation of the efforts that these artists and musicians put into creating such a powerful and dynamic expression of Jamaican culture.

Because there is no cost involved in obtaining the Rub-a-Dub Style, Ms. Lesser hopes that those who are able will consider contributing something to the artists and organizations mentioned in the publication, to help keep them active and working, and the music flowing.

Rub-a-Dub style will be available April 30 as a free download and, for a donation of $1, from most E book distributors including Amazon and Chapters (A price is required by Amazon etc. in order for them to make an E Book available to the public). All donations will go directly to support projects by Jamaican artists and producers. There will also be an option to buy a hard copy as print on demand from various book vendors. In order to allow Rub-a-Dub Style to be affordable as print-on-demand, it contains no photographs.

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